A McDonald's sign promising Wi-Fi 24 hours a day.
James R. Martin/Shutterstock.com

While you might not always have a coffee shop nearby, chances are you’ll be able to find a McDonald’s if you need to get some work done on the go. The ubiquitous fast-food chain has offered free Wi-Fi since 2011, and you can still grab some caffeine along with a bite to eat.

How to Get Connected with McDonald’s Wi-Fi

It’s pretty simple to log onto the Wi-Fi connection at your nearest McDonald’s. The procedure is pretty much the same whether you’re using Mac, Windows PC, Chromebook, iPhone, iPad, or Android phone.

Find a Location

If you’re on the road and not sure where the closest restaurant is, you can use the McDonald’s locator page. Search by city, state, or ZIP code and head to the nearest location.

You’ll be able to see a list of features that each location offers. Make sure that the one you’re heading to offers Wi-Fi. Most do, but it’s possible for owners to shut it off at individual restaurants. Click the drop-down arrow next to “services” and look for the Wi-Fi icon.

Other useful information, like operating hours and the address, is displayed next to each result. Even if it’s too early (or too late) for the location to be open, you might still be able to connect from the parking lot in an emergency.

Connect to the Free Wi-Fi

Once you’re within range of the network, you’ll be able to see it in the Wi-Fi menu of your device. The network name should show up as “McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi.”

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Connect to that Wi-Fi network, and a browser window should automatically open to the McDonald’s website. Click the “Get Connected” button and a new browser page will load that says “You are connected to McDonald’s Wi-Fi. Enjoy!”

Note: If a browser doesn’t automatically open, try opening a browser window on your computer or the browser app—for example, Safari or Chrome—on your phone or tablet. It should pop up and prompt you to “Get Connected.”

Note that clicking the connection button means that you accept the terms and conditions of using McDonald’s free Wi-Fi. There’s a link on the login page if you’d like to read through them.

After that, you’re connected! Browse for as long as you need to and enjoy your food.

McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi FAQs

There might be a few more things that you’re wondering about McDonald’s Wi-Fi network like, how fast is it? Is it secure? Are there any browsing restrictions in place?

How Fast Is McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi?

Actually, pretty fast. Your speed will vary depending on the location, but tests using the Fast.com internet speed checking tool have clocked up to 58 megabits per second (Mbps)!

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That’s fast enough to stream Netflix and have multiple other tabs open with no lag. Don’t expect that speed at every location, though—it can be as low as 6 Mbps.

Is It Secure?

Like most public hotspots, McDonald’s free Wi-Fi network is unsecured. Take appropriate measures to protect yourself online, like using a virtual private network (VPN) and avoiding pages that require you to enter sensitive information.

Other security measures that you can take include only visiting sites with HTTPS encryption, which will prevent snooping (If you use Firefox, you can force it to only connect to HTTPS sites.) And as always, be sure to have effective antimalware software running on your Windows computer.

Are There Restrictions?

There are some restrictions on the free Wi-Fi. Since McDonald’s is “family-friendly,” you won’t be able to access certain content when browsing on their free Wi-Fi network. That includes:

  • pornography
  • some file download sites
  • BitTorrent or media piracy services
  • known malicious or dangerous sites

Troubleshooting McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi

If you’re having trouble connecting to the Wi-Fi network, the problem could be the restaurant’s router. But there are a few things that you should try before reporting a bad connection to the front counter.

Choose the Right Network

First, you’ll want to make sure that you’re connecting to the right network. There might be several network names with “McDonald’s” in them. There could also be some that just say “att” or “attwifi,” since McDonald’s uses AT&T for their Wi-Fi.

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Choose the network without a lock icon next to it that just says “McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi.” That’s the public connection meant for guests.

Try an HTTP Page

Sometimes, navigating to a page marked as secure to log in to the network can prompt an error message. To get around that, navigate to a page with “HTTP” in the address and not “HTTPS.” This might allow you to log in and return to secure HTTPS browsing afterward.

Tip: If you need an easy, fast HTTP website to connect to, try example.com.

Reset/Restart

If the connection still won’t work, you can try resetting the wireless connection on your smartphone or device by disabling it, waiting about a minute, and then enabling it again. If that doesn’t work, try restarting your device.

If none of that helps, you could try a different browser.

There are several more technical solutions that you can try if none of the above work, like forcing the browser to display a login page. Software company Auslogics offers some tips for getting a Wi-Fi login page to show up. They work with Windows systems, but some of their solutions might be applicable to Mac.

Tip: Avoid squatting. Unless it’s an emergency, don’t sit for hours in the parking lot or restaurant using the free Wi-Fi connection without making at least a small purchase. Buying even a cup of coffee is good etiquette.
John Bogna John Bogna
John is a freelance writer and photographer based in Houston, Texas. His ten-year background spans topics from tech to culture and includes work for the Seattle Times, the Houston Press, Medium's OneZero, WebMD, and MailChimp. Before moving to The Bayou City, John earned a B.A. in Journalism from CSU Long Beach.
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