What is Self Assigned IP Address on Mac and How to Fix It

If you are unable to connect to your WiFi network and you see a message about a self-assigned IP address, you may be confused about what is going on and wondering what you need to do to get connected back to the internet. 

Don’t feel bad, this is a very confusing message and many users have trouble understanding what is going on. In most cases, all you need to do to fix it is restart both your router and your Mac. If that doesn’t work there are some other things you can try.

My name is Eric and as a software engineer and longtime computer user, I find messages like this one a bit confusing and not very helpful to the majority of users. If you are seeing this message and cannot connect to your network, I can help you get back up and running.

Keep reading below if you would like to find out what a self-assigned IP address means and what you can try to do to fix this problem. I will also provide some quick tips for avoiding this in the future.

What Does Self-Assigned IP Address Mean?

When your WiFi connection and internet are not working, and you see a message under your network status saying self-assigned IP address, you may not know what to do and probably do not know what this means.

What it means is that your Mac is unable to obtain an IP address from your network router or your DHCP server so it assigns one itself. The address is usually in the range of 169.254.x.x and it’s sometimes known as an APIPA address.

So, now that we know what the self-assigned IP address means and that it most likely means you can’t connect to the internet. What can you do about it? Let’s take a look at some of the solutions in the next section.

How to Fix the Self-Assigned IP Address Issue?

The self-assigned IP address status normally indicates a network connection issue. This means you can’t connect to your network either over WiFi or through an ethernet cable. This also means that you can’t connect to the internet. 

Below are some solutions that you can try to fix the issue.

1. Restart Your Router and Computer

This is the first thing you should try since it is the easiest and the most likely to fix your problem. First, shut down your Mac and then reset your router by either unplugging it and plugging it back in or by hitting its reset button if it has one. 

Once the router is back up and running, start your Mac and see if it is still having the issue. Most of the time this will fix your problem.

2. Ensure your router is connecting to your Mac and the Internet

After you restart your router, make sure it is connected to the internet. Check the indicator light that shows it is connecting. 

Once your Mac starts up, check to see that it connects to the router. If it does not, ensure you are trying to connect to the correct network and have entered the network’s password.

If you are still having issues, try to disconnect from the network and then reconnect once again. A successful reconnection may fix your problem. If it does not, you will need to continue trying some of the other fixes below.


If you have a newer M series Mac, your NVRAM/PRAM will get reset when you shut down and restart your Mac. If you have an older Intel-based Mac you can shut your Mac down.

When it is starting back up hold down the Option+Command+P+R keys until you hear the startup sound and the system starts. This will reset your NVRAM and PRAM.

4. Check for macOS Updates

If your macOS is not up to date it can often cause issues with your system. Click on the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen and look for updates.

If you see an update available as shown above, click on System Settings and then click on Software Update Available to update your macOS. This may not fix your problem, but it is good practice to keep your system up to date and it will rule out any issues with macOS.

5. Renew DHCP Lease

If the above solutions have not worked, you can try to renew your DHCP lease. This sounds complicated but it’s really not that hard to do. Just follow the steps below.

Step 1: Open System Settings

Click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner of your screen and select System Settings.

Step 2: Select Network and then your Network

Click on the Network link on the left side panel of the System Settings. On the right side, look for the network you normally connect to and click on Details.

Step 3: Click on the TCP/IP Link and then Renew DHCP Lease

Click on the TCP/IP link on the left side panel of the window and then click on Renew DHCP Lease on the right side of the window as shown below.

This will attempt to renew your DHCP lease and then assign a new IP address. If successful you should be good to go.

6. Check Network Settings

While renewing the DHCP lease in the steps above, you should also check your network settings in the TCP/IP window where you renewed the DHCP Lease. Configure IPv4 should be set to Using DHCP and Configure IPv6 should be set to Automatically as shown below.

7. Create a Custom Network Location

Another solution is to create a new network location. You can do this with the following steps.

Step 1: Open System Settings and go to Network

Open System Settings and go to Network as you did in the steps above to Renew the DHCP lease.

Step 2: Edit Locations

Click on the drop-down menu in the lower right corner of the network window. Select Locations and then Edit Locations.

Step 3: Add a New Location

Click on the + button to add a new location, name the location, and then click on Done.

Step 4: Select the Newly Added Location

Click on the dropdown in the lower right corner again, click on locations, and then select the new location you have just added.

You can now check to see if the new location you have added fixes your problem.

8. Reset Application Layer Firewall

If all of the above have failed, there is one more thing you can try. You can try to reset the Application Layer Firewall by removing its plist file so that it can be regenerated. You can do this with the following steps.

Step 1: Open Finder and Click on the Go Menu

Open Finder using your preferred method and then click on the Go Menu at the top of the window. Then select Go To Folder as shown below.

Step 2: Type /Library/Preferences in the Popup Window

Type /Library/Preference in the field of the popup window that appears and then double-click on the Library/Preferences choice in the window below.

Step 3: Select the com.apple.alf.plist File and Delete it.

Click on the com.apple.alf.plist file to select it.

Once chosen, you can move it to the trash (or your desktop if you want to save it). Your system will regenerate the file once you restart your Mac in the final step below.

Step 4: Restart your Mac

Click on the Apple symbol in the upper left corner of your screen and then select Restart, to restart your computer.

Once your system restarts, check to see if you have connected to your network and that the issue is now resolved.

Quick Tips to Prevent Self-Assigned IP Address

As you have probably seen, the self-assigned IP address problem can be a real pain, but there are some things you can do to help prevent it from happening. Take a look at the following tips to try and keep your system from having this issue again.

  • Restart your router or modem every once in a while.
  • Restart your Mac often.
  • Keep your macOS up to date.
  • Use a hardwired connection or ethernet cable to connect to your network for a more reliable connection.
  • Avoid network configuration conflicts by only using one active network at a time.
  • Ensure your network drivers are up to date.
  • When possible use reliable, high-quality network equipment.
  • Keep your network secure by using passwords and changing them when needed.


If you are experiencing the self-assigned IP address issue on your Mac, it can be a real pain and prevent you from connecting to your network and the internet. Thankfully this can usually be solved with a simple reboot of your Mac and your router, but if it does not, there are other things you can try.

As shown above, there are some preventative measures you can take to help avoid this problem in the future. As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you.

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