How to Find the Best Wi-Fi Channel with Wireless Diagnostics in OS X

If you’re experiencing degraded Wi-Fi performance at your home, it may be a good idea to switch to a different Wi-Fi channel. And if you’re an OS X user, things couldn’t get any easier as Michael Birenbach points out that OS X’s built-in ‘Wireless Diagnostics’ tool lets you find the best and most interference free channel to use for your Wi-Fi network (via SixColors).

The following steps are for OS X Yosemite, but the principles should be the same for all recent versions of OS X:

Step 1:

Hold down the Option key on your keyboard and click on the Wi-Fi menu in your menu bar.

Step 2:

Choose “Open Wireless Diagnostics…” and click Continue.

Step 3:

Enter your admin username and password. Then, wait for the initial diagnostic to finish (it may take a few seconds). It’ll tell you everything is working as expected, which is normal. Do not close this window.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 18.23.55

Step 4: Next, from the Window menu, choose Scan.

wireless diagnostics scan

Step 5:

This will open up a window with a detailed amount of information about all the Wi-Fi networks in your vicinity, along with suggestions for the best 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels, as seen below:

Wifi channels 6c

Changing your Wi-Fi channel varies depending on routers, but it’s generally pretty straightforward. Let us know if this helped you out.

“Technology runs through my veins...” | Follow me: @DrUsmanQ usman@iPhoneinCanada.ca

  • jeeb

    Always do this before calling up your ISP to complain about your wireless speed

  • jhayz80

    These steps did not work

  • We’ve clarified one of the steps. Wait for the initial diagnostic to finish first (after you enter your admin password), then go to the Scan option.

  • xxxJDxxx

    After entering my admin password I’m told that my wireless connection seems to be working as expected and then given the option to ‘monitor my wi-fi connection’ or ‘continue to summary’. Neither of which result in anything like what is described in this article.

  • Once you’ve gotten to this stage, go to Window > Scan in the top menu.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Thanks Gary. It was the fact that ‘scan’ is accessed from the menu bar that was confusing me.

  • WTH????

    ?????? Is the a Windows 8 tip?

  • Dave

    These instructions do not work for me despite the fact that I have the operating system required. These steps are junk!

  • Dave

    Do us all a favor and never post an how to item again.

  • Hi everyone, we’ve clarified the tutorial. Please let us know if it works for you! Cheers