MarinaLife Article Featuring onSpot WiFi — WiFi and Apple Devices

Tips and Tricks

Written by Bob Taylor

Okay, imagine this: You’ve just pulled into a marina after a long day on the water, and because the last marina’s Wi-Fi was nonexistent, you have emails that have been waiting two days to send. Now you’re tied up and powered up, you reach for that well-deserved refreshing beverage and your iPad, you sit back, and attempt to log on to the marinas Wi-Fi.

But, yet again, a little box pops up: “Unable to connect to the internet”.

Sound familiar? Well, quite often it’s not the marina’s Wi-Fi that’s the issue. The culprit may be the device, with which you are trying to connect. Without making the proper adjustments, apple’s mobile devices are notoriously bad at finding Wi-Fi. They prefer to connect to your cell carrier’s signal. There is even a term for this dilemma: Wi-Fried.

Unfortunately, when not set for Wi-Fi only apple’s iOS9.X can be a bit buggy. Add a marina’s unique environment, and all the radio frequency interference that comes with it, and connectivity will almost always be a problem.

Being a boater and the owner/operator of a marina Wi-Fi company, i can relate. So i’ve asked the pros on our support desk to put together a list of tips and tricks to help make connection easier and get you
online more quickly.

It’s in the Settings

First, check to see if your device is running the latest iOs from apple. Install an update will usually help: Go to settings > General > software Update.

    1. Then, for a Wi-Fi only connection, turn off cellular data by going to settings > Cellular and swiping Cellular Data to “Off.” We always recommend doing this because marinas are usually on the outside edge of normal cellular coverage. Turning off cellular data will ensure you are getting nothing but the faster Wi-Fi connection, and it will save your monthly allotted cell data allowance. When you’re back in the city, reverse these settings.
    2. If you are having problems connecting to a Wi-Fi signal, can’t seem to enter the Wi-Fi password, or can’t locate the login page, try resetting your network settings — being careful to only choose Reset Network Settings. This will not delete any other iphone/ipad data or settings. Go to settings > General > Reset > Reset network settings and your device will reboot.
    3. If you are still having trouble, disconnect from the Wi-Fi signal and reconnect. Go to settings > Wi-Fi > click on name with checkmark > Forget This network > Forget > Wi-Fi and now select the Wi-Fi signal. if the login page does not open automatically after connecting, open a browser and enter any website. The login page should then appear.
    4.  Choose a 5G Wi-Fi signal whenever possible. This will provide optimal speeds while avoiding much of the interference that plagues traditional Wi-Fi signals. When you are selecting the network, look for one with 5G in the name. You may need to wait for the list to refresh, 5G signals appear after traditional Wi-Fi signals.
    5.  We strongly recommend that boaters use an external antenna and router combination, or a router with an antenna, on their vessel. This will make your marina Wi-Fi connection faster and simpler. While aboard, have only one login for all your computers, phones, and tablets.


If you have followed these steps and you are still unable to connect, don’t give up. Find out if the marina’s Wi-Fi provider offers a support phone number. If they don’t, give onSpot Wi-Fi’s support desk a call at 954-990-0192. As a courtesy, if you are at a marina, we’ll be happy to help you, even if it’s not one of our Wi-Fi hotspots — if it’s not one of our hotspots, we can’t guarantee a successful connection, but we’ll give it our best shot.

The Cloud

If you are in the Bahamas or anywhere that only offers a pay-for-data Wi-Fi service, be sure to turn off all cloud-based apps and settings. If you don’t, these apps will spend that allotment of data you just
paid for posthaste. Facebook, iCloud, and iPhoto apps are huge data users.

  1. To turn off iCloud, go to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Drive > swipe to off.
  2. To turn off Photo Sharing, go to Settings > iCloud > Photos > swipe iCloud Photo Library to off, swipe My Photo Stream to off.
  3. To turn off Individual apps in iCloud, go to Settings > iCloud > then scroll down and swipe iCloud Apps to off.
  4. To turn off Background App Refresh, go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh > and swipe to off all at once or individually.

Additionally, close any extra browser tabs when you’re not using them so pagesdon’t refresh automatically. If the signal is weak, move around on your boat to find an unobstructed place. To improve speed and performance, hold up small devices like iPhones and iPads to make the most of the antenna, instead of using them flat on a table. When viewing the list of Wi-Fi signals, let the list refresh a couple of times to view all the signals.

If you follow these steps and tips, I think you will find your mobile device will connect faster and run better while at a marina, so you can go about doing what it is you are actually there for: Enjoying your time aboard.