How To Fix Self-Assigned IP Addresses In Mac OS X [Video How-To]



Not being able to get online can be a frustrating problem. It can cost hours of time and test your patience. See, Mac OS X doesn’t always work properly all of the time, and will occasionally assign itself an IP address, which will result in you being unable to connect to the internet. Luckily, there is an easy solution. You can use System Preferences to set a new Network Location, as well as renew your DHCP lease to fix the problem. This video will show you how to quickly fix the problem of self assigned IP addresses through System Preferences.

  • Mintsoulis

    Can’t see the video on my iPad.

    Is this a Mac site?

    What kind of joke is this.

  • Carloslaso

    Did it fix the Self-assigned IP to the Ethernet connection? I saw on this vid that another location was created and it focused on getting the Airport connection to automatically get an IP that I think it was not having any problems, but what about the Ethernet? That remained the same.

  • Rdparish

    Go to the Applications folder to find System Preferences?!?! Hasn’t this goober ever heard of the Apple Menu??

  • Gazoobee

    Man, this is awful advice. You spend time telling people to look for system preferences in the hard drive? WTF? It’s on the Apple menu, two clicks. It’s also on the Airport menu with only one click. then you advise to make a new location without telling anyone that this will only be easy for Airport. Setting up the ethernet again is beyond most people. So you left your followers with two locations, (when they only need one), with the Ethernet working on the first one and the Airport working on the second one. Greeeaaat!

  • Richard Migneron

    Actually, the simplest way of fixing this once

  • Richard Migneron

    Actually, the simplest way of fixing this once and for all is to remove all the useless device for each location you create.

    So, if your connecting with an RJ-45 at home or at the office, then just leave this device.

    If your roaming about, just leave AirPort in a Roaming location.

    Never connected with either Bluetooth or Firewire to the Net, but same principle.

    Each location should :

    1) be defined
    2) have only one device
    3) have the correct way it is getting its IP@ (DHCP, or fixed)

    You might as well create as many location as the different methods you use to connect, maybe at Home you have 2 : One for the home-office (wired) and one for when your sitting outside on the patio (Airport).

    Then you choose your location from the Apple Menu -> Network Configuration.

    Easy, simple, fast, no hassle !

  • KenRobert

    Michael thanks for the suggestions – two notes…

    1) A Mac trying to run on a network called: “MS Network” ?? [no wonder you had trouble] :-)

    2) System Preferences via: Finder -> New Window -> Applications Folder -> scrolling -> more scrolling -> double-click icon, is about 5 steps to many.
    The Mac Way: Apple Menu -> System Preferences…

    BTW – it would be great to know what utilities you have running up in the right of your PowerBoolk’s screen.

  • CharliK

    Not only is this information presented in a chunky and unnecessarily complex fashion (sys prefs is in the Apple menu AND was clearly on your dock), IP issues are NOT always the cause nor is this always the solution. For example, sometimes it is actually your modem (what it isn’t your computers fault). And yet this is presented as THE solution and will be perceived as such by neophytes that can’t tell their self assigned IPs from their self serve ice cream.

    And a video that doesn’t show that the solution works is pointless. So perhaps you should have connected your Ethernet to actually show what is happening. Seems rather logical for a tutorial.

  • zxspectrum


    H Michael, ho do you do that side shot of the Menubar on


  • Michael Steeber

    As far as finding System Preferences- I wanted to provide a way for anybody to find it, even if they didn’t know where it was. The fact that it is in the Apple Menu slipped my mind. I never use the Apple Menu. I connected a Ethernet cord to my computer, but there was no way to replicate the problem since everything was working fine for me. Plus, my router and modem are on the opposite side of the house as my computer, so there was nothing to connect it to. I tried my best.

  • Michael Steeber

    Yo have to adjust the X, Y, and Z axis rotation in degrees. Hope that helps.

  • Michael Steeber

    I have twitter, little snitch, dropbox, growltunes, gmail, jumpcut, smcfancontrol, time machine, and iStat menus all running in my menu bar.

  • Michael Steeber

    YouTube uses Flash- I can’t help that.

  • Michael Steeber

    I never use the Apple Menu! I forgot.

  • Sean

    You should provide a link to the YT video so that we can go there and have YT give us HTML5 friendly video (which it does when it sees your using a iPad).

  • alexisshemale

    well this video did nothing for my problem…here is the background…I gave my Mac Mini to my mother that is living directly next door…she is unable to connect to my Airport network due to the building materials of the complex…which is strange…but it’s every device in her house

    so I ran an Ethernet cable from my Airport Extreme to her house and plugged it into a wired router…and that had been working for some time…I then made her Mini share Internet thru Airport…until the other day…something is wrong and it will not go online anymore…

    it has the self assigned IP address like this posting states but nothing I have done will fix it…other Macs & PC’s that have been directly connected to the Ethernet cable…using the wired router and direct connection work with the cable so it isn’t the cable

    I have tried everything you have stated here and nothing works…it doesn’t make any sense…it shows that the cable is connected but will not get it’s own IP address to connect to the Internet…and I want to know how to fix it

    so anyone out there with knowledge on this topic please help me…she is driving me nuts over this…running 10.6.5…no Internet connection so can’t update to 10.6.6

    Mac Mini 1.86 Core Duo

    thank you

  • dmaterialized

    Terrible advice, though I also liked the “screen tilt” effect. But come on, we all know how to get to SysPrefs. If for no other reason than that a loss of Net connectivity gives you a button to launch it.

    Listen, there’s a very real problem with this that’s endemic to Mac OS X itself and has never been fixed (it first showed up in Panther). It is NOT this easy. Not at all.

    DHCP renewal doesn’t fix it; neither does making a new location, reinstalling the OS (without a clean install), or, really, anything. It has to do with file corruption, and it seems to happen eventually to any install where the network settings change a lot.

    I have been working on figuring this exact problem out for close to 2 years, and I FINALLY found the one solution that DOES work. (If it matters, I’m an ex-Genius and saw this hundreds if not thousands of times. Unfortunately NO ONE at Apple knew of a fix, so I didn’t resolve this until recently.

    Go to /Library/Preferences/System Configuration and DELETE three files (in order of how certain I am of their effect on the problem): “NetworkInterfaces.plist”, “”, and “”. You will lose all your network names, but it DOES fix it once and for all. Until it happens again a few years down the line, that is…

    There is verifiably no other method that “sticks”.

    Y’all can thank me later. Enjoy!

  • macfriar

    We have a problem on our network where the Macs cause lots of flip-flops in trying to take the IP addresses of other computers and devices like voip phones.
    We have to assign manual addresses to the Macs because of the problem.
    It is very annoying that an otherwise very good system can cause such mayhem on the network. Bullying other devices for their IP address ;)

  • J

    I’m lost, you start off by showing your Ethernet has no IP but your AirPort does, which typically means you have your Mac connected wirelessly and not thru Ethernet cable. Then you solve this “issue” by adding a new location and renewing the DHCP lease on a connection you already had an IP thru? Where did you solve the problem of the Ethernet connection having a self assigned IP?

  • lkahney

    @dmaterialized — thanks for the advice. noted for future reference — maybe we should do an “advanced” tutorial on it (after checking it works, of course).

  • techhelp

    For every device that needs to have the same IP (maybe your voip phones) you have to assign a reserved IP in your router/modem/dhcp server based on its mac address… this should solve your problems. You can leave the macs ip’s on dhcp.

  • MackMan

    Sorry Mike but there’s a huge technical demonstration error – in the final stage after creating a ‘new location’ you show/state you “now have a working connection” —- rubbish —- the connection you show as working was already working (i.e. your AirPort) where as in fact the Ethernet still had a “Self Assigned IP” error. This is the case for most people who encounter this fault — lease renewal and new location options DON’T work for most people with this problem!

  • A3780520

    Sorry DM, but didn’t work at all for me!

  • dmaterialized

    That’s really unfortunate, A37– if it’s still doing that after you’ve removed these files (and rebooted, of course), I’d say your problem is either based on hardware (potentially other devices on your network, or your Mac’s airport card itself), or it’s an issue with the way it’s authenticating. Are you using wireless? If you can turn off security on your router, and it STILL doesn’t work (AND you’ve removed the files above, AND you’ve rebooted), it would seem to me to be a hardware problem. Let me know which (if any) of those steps solves your issue.

  • Carroll Campbell

    Michael, thanks for posting this.  It didn’t work for me directly as posted, but it gave me the idea to try a second location.  After creating the second location, I turned off my cable modem, my Airport Express, and my computer.  Then I turned on, in order, the modem, the router and the PowerMac.  Everything’s working now.

    Before I did this, I would see a real, routable IP address in the network settings.  The problem is, since I’m on a LAN, I should see a non-routable (local use only) IP address that begins with 10…. or 192.68…..  If your computer were plugged directly into the cable modem, then you should see your actual IP address.

    Anyway, thanks again for posting and don’t be discouraged by all the nitpickers out there in the wilds of the Internet.

  • Britt18

    I want to thank you for your video! I spent over an hour on the phone with my wireless router customer service and still did not get a solution! He said he would call me back after he spoke with his supervisor.  In the meantime, I googled my problem and found your video.  I followed your instructions and it immediately fixed my problem!! THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

  • dugan4paw

    Nice try. At least you trying to offer a solution. It didn’t work for me, but neither did 95% of the other solutions after googling for 2 days. Finally, found one that did work. Basically it involved deleting the firewall preferences. Can’t vouch for my security, yet, but at least I’m back on the web. Article is here:

    Here’s a quote in case the link goes down:
    To reset the firewall, go to the /Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/ folder and remove the file called “,” and then restart your computer. After the system boots, you may be prompted to allow incoming connections to numerous programs and services, so accept these for now (you can always go to the Firewall settings and deny or remove entries later on) and then try connecting to the network again. While configuration changes from migrating or restoring a system can lead to this problem, at other times major system crashes or power outages can do the same.

  • Keisha

    hey, i tried what u showed in your video but my computer still has problems >_< every time i renew the DHCP lease it just goes back to the assigned IP address. But when i create a new location, it does get rid of the assigned IP address. but it doesn’t work other than that >_< please help!!!

  • Keisha

    i also tried the above idea but it didnt work. but i cant get to library/preferences/ system configurations >_< plz help!!! 

  • Keisha

    haha nvm i found out it’s in the Base section, but i deleted it but it still doesnt work…any idea y??? desperate here >_<

  • Studiozproductions

    Hey dude- im givin it a go. help!! the cable people say its my ethernet port is bad, or the apple computer is bad “call macintosh”… but then if thats the case.. why does it work perfectly at work? I get the 199 at work, and the 169 at home now after making some adjustment s.. so now i know its a setting . lets see if cult of macs tutorial helps me!

  • Moflicka

    The fix that worked for me is I changed my router/network IP address.  I had mine set to

  • Nopoet28

    I tried this, but it didn’t work. I happened to be in an area though where I could get our city’s free wifi and I can get that just fine. Why is that?

  • Annabelle

    This worked for me! Thank you so so much! I was a little nervous deleting those files but it fixed my problem better than the tutorial did. Thanks DM Cook! Saved me hours of frustration!!!

  • Sadiemoo

    It didn’t work for me. I’m on my iPhone trying to figure it out. Any suggestions?

  • Sadiemoo

    Ok I deleted them, restarted my comp and router and when I got on they weren’t deleted anymore and the Internet still doesnt work. When I go to network preferences it says it’s connected, but it’s not working. Help!!!

  • 3bambam3

    THANK YOU! I tried everything else suggested here and I even went to see a “Genius”. Your solution was the only one that worked for me.

  • 3bambam3

    Sorry but this doesn’t work. I went to see a Genius and they suggested deleting the whole “system configuration” folder. Didn’t work. Only thing that worked for me was dugan4paw’s advice above.

  • Terahfaith

    I cant watch this video from my phone and I have no other way to see it…what does it say to doooo?

  • CHoa

    It’s not solving the problem, the IP address on Airport and Ethernet before and after the demo starts with which means there is no internet connection…

  • CHoa

    It’s not solving the problem, the IP address on Airport and Ethernet
    before and after the demo starts with which means there
    is no internet connection…

  • Euge Barannikov

    5 minutes of my wasted time listening to your bullshit.

  • Raynold Von Samson

    THANKS! This worked for me!

  • EnglishChris

    Thanks for the advice – I tried this at first and didn’t work. I just tried deleting all of the ‘System Configuration’ files along with the ‘’ file from Preferences and after I created a new location in the ‘Network’ control panel it’s all up and running again.
    Thanks everyone who contributed – including the guys who pointed out you can get to the System Preferences/Network control panel from your Apple menu! ; )

  • EnglishChris

    This doesn’t work!Follow this: Go to Macintosh HD-Library-Preferences-System Configuration. Delete all of the files along with the ‘’ file from Preferences and restart. Go to System Preferences (in the Apple menu or even in the main Apple dock!) in the ‘Network’ control panel go to Location, scroll down to ‘Edit location’ add a new location. Then click ‘Apply’ – it should dial up a new location with a nice new fresh connection.
    See DM Cook’s response below – it’s more likely to be due to a corrupted Preference file – things like this often are!

  • Tatiana

    The reason why very few of you are getting this to work is that you’re all looking at the Mac as the source of this problem. This is not always the case, ESPECIALLY if your Mac gets online just fine everywhere else.

    The way any wireless device (computer, cell phone, pda, whatever) gets online with a wireless router works is this: When your computer connects to your home/work/whatever wireless network, there’s a handshake that occurs. The router says “I see you, [device with mac address __________], and I see that you have my WEP/WPA password (if necessary). I grant you access to my network. Now you need an IP address to actually get online. Here’s IP address 192.________. Enjoy!”

    The problem you’re having with a self-assigned IP is that the router lets your computer get on the wireless network, but then fails to give it an IP address for whatever reason. In Mac OS, your computer will attempt to give ITSELF an IP address. Hence the term SELF-ASSIGNED IP. This is always a 169.______ IP. It obviously doesn’t work, because 169.________ is not in your router’s valid IP range.

    The quickest way to resolve this (without trashing your entire system network configuration once a week) is to power cycle your router. This is achieved on most basic routers by simply unplugging the power from the BACK OF THE ROUTER for 60-90 seconds and plugging it back in. Wait til your router’s lights go back to normal and connect. This should force your router to get its act together and dole out IP addresses like it was meant to do. It works 95% of the time. Some routers, specifically router/modem combinations (if you only have one box to connect to the internet, you have a combination) have special instructions for power cycling. Sometimes unplugging for that long can actually completely reset them. Consult your manual or your ISP/router manufacturer for those special instructions.

    To prevent this from constantly happening:

    Depends. Some router manufacturers STILL don’t write firmware for their routers that play nicer with Macs. It’s why most of the time when this happens, you’ll see that the old Dell in the den connects just fine, but your brand new Macbook Pro can’t get online to save your life. D-Link routers tend not to play nice with macs, particularly the models provided by the ISP. That cheap-ass Netgear router/modem combination box Comcast has given everybody and their mama can have this problem too. It DEFINITELY doesn’t play nice with Android phones, if you have one. If nothing I’ve proposed in this post works for you, get rid of your router, especially if your cable company gave it to you. It’s the cheapest router they can provide while still charging you $60 a year for it with no replacement plan, lol.

    Make sure your router has the latest firmware installed.

    Also, make sure your router has enough IP addresses to go around. Not too long ago, most households only had 1-2 wireless devices and so owners would set their routers up with an IP range of about 5 addresses and call it a day. Nowadays, you’ve got your notebook, the PC downstairs, your kid’s computers, their iPads/iPod touches/PSPs/Gameboys all on the network. Sometimes all of them are hogging up an IP addresses at once, in which case your router just runs out of IP addresses to give the last device to try and get online. Check your router’s preferences and make sure you have a wide enough IP range. You may also see messages along the lines that another device on your network is using your IP address. This is usually the culprit.

    If your router is just ancient and hails from a time before everyone had a Mac, replace it with something newer. Linksys routers have been playing nice with Macs since the good old WRT54G.

  • Kayne Ottley

    your a legend works a treat

  • Brad Chase

    HERE IS THE FIX!!!! – If none of this works for you (which it didn’t for me), reset your router to factory settings by holding down the little reset button. Then setup your network again. This worked for me. 

  • vovtz

    Sorry DM, your instructions didn’t work for me. I removed all 3 files and rebooted. After that the Network panel in System Preferences still remembered most if not all previous configurations. I’m using OS X 10.6.8.

    Tonight I will try to connect by wire to my router at home.

    [Conclusion: it worked with the router at home, so my problem was not with OS X, but with the DHCP server at work; has now been resolved.]

  • Yevgen

    Thank you very much!
    It fixed my problem!

  • lemons69

    Many thanks for this …. Got me out of a very sticky spot !

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  • Miriam Hamsa

    Worked for me. I had to mess around with a few more network settings, but I’m up and running for the first time in a week. fingers crossed that it stays up. I spent hours on the phone with ATT, replaced my router, had an ATT tech come to my house…. nothing worked. Everything I read said to reinstall your system, which I didn’t want to do. The people at the Apple Store, where I had an appt for this afternoon, refused to tell me if they would do the clean reinstall for me, and honestly, I didn’t want to go down there in the rain. So, I made one last search online and found your video. Will it continue to work? I don’t know. But this is only the second time this week I’ve gotten a good solid connection, and the first one only lasted ten minutes.

  • Shant Shahrigian

    I don’t seem to have the file called on my Max OS 10.4.11.

    Any equivalent I could try to delete??

    Many thanks.

  • akexcerio

    Im in a hotel- with a wireless network that uses a web browser log in.however i cannot get even that far.i have a self assigned IP – this happens a bit but ive always been ablero dhcp lease my way out of it.or resort to a cable. But not here.confused as fuck.ive removed the but its made no difference.and the wireless betwork isnt in my networks. Im using automatic locations like always.

    Confused.lost.annoyed. Can anyone help?

  • Alexandre Spengler

    Hi there,

    I spent about four days trying to solve this puzzle. What worked for me
    was to change the modem/router password system from WEP to WPA. You can
    do that by typing the modem address in your browser and selecting a new
    password system. You can still use the same password if you wish.

    What happened is that my Imac 27 (10.6.8) wasn’t recognising the modem
    security setting and therefore the DHCP could not properly assign a
    valid IP (..a friend actually explained me that..). To know if that is
    really your case, click in the airport icon on the top right of your
    screen (the radar like icon) with the “Option” button pressed. Right
    bellow the network you are trying to connect it will appear some further
    settings like “PHY Mode”, “BSSID”, “Channel” and finally “Security”.
    In my case, even though there was a required password to log in the
    network, “security” was being shown as “none”. So I got in the modem
    through a flatmate computer and changed the password system from WEP to
    WPA2. As simple as that.

    Hope it helps.


  • Shaa’iBe Original

    Whaat ?! You didn’t fix anything. After your so called ” Fix ” your ethernet still had an self assigned ip address -______-

  • newn13

    the video not help :/ ,
    please help

    ethernet connection give 169.254.x.x
    address (my network is 192.168.0.x net mask). I can’t seem to find any
    reason for it because I’ve verified that the switch is working properly,
    the router is working properly, the cable modem is working properly.
    I use Tp-link in win7 working properly

  • Aleksander Stalsberg

    Well that was worthless…
    First you show that you are connected to the AirPort and that the ethernet is “self assigned” then you show how to connect with the AirPort after you have it done, and then leave the ethernet problem there once again.

    Plan your videos before posting… Worthless video!

  • Mata

    Bitch, you’re full of shit! This did not solve the Ethernet DHCP assigned IP address