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Set Up Mac Network Locations

Easy Access to Multiple Connection Types

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Mac Network Locations - Set Up Multiple Network Locations

System Preferences

The Mac makes it easy to connect to a local network or the Internet. In most cases, the Mac will make the connection automatically the first time you start it up. If you only use your Mac in one location, such as at home, then this automatic connection may be all you'll ever need.

But if use your Mac in different locations, such as taking a MacBook to work, you must change the network connection settings each time you change locations. This tip assumes you have already been changing the network connection settings manually, and that you have the necessary network configuration information for each location.

Rather than change the network settings manually each time you change locations, you can use the Mac's Network Location service to create multiple "locations." Each location has individual settings to match a specific network port's configuration. For example, you can have one location for your home, to connect to your wired Ethernet network; one location for your office, which also uses wired Ethernet, but with different DNS (domain name server) settings; and one location for the wireless connection at your favorite coffee house.

You can have as many locations as you need. You can even have multiple network locations for the same physical location. For example, if you have both a wired network and a wireless network at home, you can create a separate network location for each. You can use one when you're sitting in your home office, connected via wired Ethernet, and the other when you're sitting on your deck, using your wireless network.

Set Up Locations

  1. Open System Preferences by clicking its icon in the Dock, or by selecting it from the Apple menu.

  2. In the Internet & Network section of System Preferences, click the 'Network' icon.

  3. Select 'Edit Locations' from the Location dropdown menu.

    • If you want to base the new location on an existing one, because many of the parameters are the same, select the location you want to copy from the list of current locations. Click the gear icon and select ‘Duplicate Location' from the pop-up menu.

    • If you want to create a new location from scratch, click the plus (+) icon.

  4. A new location will be created, with its default name of 'Untitled' highlighted. Change the name to something that identifies the location, such as 'Office' or 'Home Wireless.'

  5. Click the ‘Done’ button.

You can now set up the network connection information for each network port for the new location you created. Once you complete each network port's setup, you can switch between the various locations using the Location dropdown menu.

Automatic Location

Switching between home, office, and mobile connections is now just a dropdown menu away, but it can get even easier than that. If you select the 'Automatic' entry in the Location dropdown menu, your Mac will attempt to select the best location by seeing which connections are up and working. The Automatic option works best when each location type is unique; for example, one wireless location and one wired location. When multiple locations have similar types of connections, the Automatic option will sometimes pick the wrong one, which can lead to connection problems.

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