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I live in an area dense with Wi-Fi coverage. Eight SSIDs show from my menu bar dropdown, but I know there are more. Where can I view a full list of networks in my area? (I'm on a 2011 MacBook Air running 10.8, but it'd be nice to know in general.)

4 Answers 4

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There is a program you can run in terminal.

/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -s

Update for 2021: This command still works (as written) in OS 11 Big Sur.

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  • Using built-ins is always preferred to third party, IMO.
    – nerdwaller
    Aug 9, 2013 at 14:52
  • 1
    Alternatively (on Mountain Lion), for a built-in GUI tool you can run the Wireless Diagnostics.app in /System/Library/CoreServices. You'll need to type an administrator password to run it. Ignore the window that appears and select Window > Utilities from the menu bar and click the Wi-Fi Scan tab (or press ⌘ + 2). It also gives you a few other handy utilities like performance monitoring etc.
    – binarybob
    Aug 9, 2013 at 19:35
  • This does not work anymore in macOS 14 (Sonoma). The airport command is still present at that location, but only prints a deprecation message.
    – Martin R
    Apr 14 at 15:25
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Get a copy of iStumbler. That should do the trick

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Nice one is the NetSpot app. Simple application to locate and visualize wi-fi spots.

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Open the Wireless Diagnostics application (/System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Wireless Diagnostics.app). Go to the Window menu and choose Scan.

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