I'm having trouble understanding what I'm doing wrong here: I'm trying to set up two network Locations, one for my home network via my cable modem and a second for Wi-Fi tethering via my mobile phone. What I'd like to be able to do is change the Location (under the Apple menu > Location) and have my Mac automatically connect to the proper Wi-Fi network: either my home network SSID or my WiFi tethering SSID.

I defined two locations, switched between them, and set the preferred network list for each location. But when I change the preferred network list for one Location, it changes the list for the other Location as well!

Am I doing something wrong or is it really not possible to maintain a separate list of Preferred Networks for each network Location? It seems doubtful it's not possible since just about every other netrok setting depends on the location...

I am using OS X 10.7.2.

  • 2
    You could do this in Snow Leopard, but Lion must store the preferred networks differently because it no longer works.
    – ughoavgfhw
    Feb 23, 2012 at 16:13
  • The problem is still alive. It doesn't seem to be possible on Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra too. My guess is that Apple didn't test their network configuration in real different Wi-Fi configurations and no one reported them the problem.
    – dan
    Aug 17, 2020 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


The Sidekick app (which used to be called NetworkLocation) is an ideal tool for automating changes based on the location of your Mac. It's a veritable swiss army knife of tools, works well in Lion and has plug ins and terminal support for extending it should the built in tools not cover your additional use cases. For simple network location changes, you are covered with this app.

  • Does your answer imply that the OP's objective cannot be met using the native Network configuration menus? I've tried following the answer to a related question, but it doesn't seem to do what is claimed in the answer.
    – Seamus
    Apr 9, 2020 at 11:22
  • On lion, 10.7 no way for me to know. I’m inclined to let this old answer and question remain unchanged and have you ask a version specific for a recent OS. iCloud Keychain is far more sophisticated now, but adding that to a question on old OS seems to add more confusion @Seamus
    – bmike
    Apr 9, 2020 at 11:27
  • Also, that linked question is old too, linking that here as it covers no ground that’s new. On older os, you need a tool to automate this - it’s not baked in.
    – bmike
    Apr 9, 2020 at 11:30
  • I think you can now accomplish this all from auto join settings without needing any location, but let’s air out your exact use case and current OS to be sure we get you an answer and not a comment of maybe.
    – bmike
    Apr 9, 2020 at 17:40
  • I've tried this on Catalina, Mojave and High Sierra. The procedure suggested in the linked question above makes sense - I was sure it was going to work when I finally understood what was said. But it doesn't work for me - maybe I'm missing something? So... new question?
    – Seamus
    Apr 9, 2020 at 19:56

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