There is no doubt about it, having access to Wi-Fi on our Android smartphones is a necessity these days. Many of us routinely use our phones to respond to emails, message back and forth about work projects, or take on conference calls, so having a “failed to obtain IP address” is not only annoying but it can be costly too. If you’ve been getting a failed connection and aren’t sure what to do about it, read on to find out how to fix your IP configuration.
What Does “Failed to Obtain IP Address” Mean and What Causes It?
The “failed to obtain IP address” error message most commonly appears when you are trying to connect to a Wi-Fi network. This network could be a completely new one, say at a friend’s house or if you’ve set up a new service provider at home, or it can occur when trying to connect to a network that is already saved on your device. It occurs when your device is unable to obtain the IP address it needs to connect to the Wi-Fi router. There are a few reasons why this can happen:
- Your Android device may have software configuration issues.
- Your Wi-Fi signal may be extremely poor.
- Your Wi-Fi router may have MAC filtering activated on it and your address is not whitelisted.
- Your Android device may not work with your router’s encryption type.
- Your router may be malfunctioning, or is configured improperly.
9 Ways to Fix the “Failed to Obtain IP Address” on Android Smartphones
Luckily, there are several methods you can use to fix the “failed to obtain IP address” on Android devices and they are pretty easy to do, so you should be up and running fairly quickly. You will need access to your (a) device, and (b) your router.
1. Choose to Forget Your Network and Reconnect
The first step you should try is through forgetting your network and reconnecting to it on your Android device. The reason that this is suggested first is because it is simple to do, and sometimes you can get a “failed to obtain IP address” due to temporary interference. By forgetting the network and reconnecting, it restarts the process of assigning your Android device an IP address.
- Open your Android phone and find the Settings app.
- Tap into Connections and then tap into Wi-Fi (don’t toggle it off).
- Tap your network that you normally connect to and hit “Forget network”.
On some phones it may be “Remove this Network” rather than “Forget” as the option. Once this is done, try reconnecting to your network to see if you still get the “failed to obtain IP address” error message.
2. Rename Your Android Device
This solution is a bit of a “fluke” option, where some users have reported that it worked for them. It doesn’t take much to try it out, so we’ve included it in.
- Open the Settings app again on your phone.
- Swipe down until you find “About phone” and tap into it.
- Either tap on your device name or tap the “edit” button underneath it.
- Change the name to something you like.
- Try to reconnect to your Wi-Fi.
If this doesn’t work for you, don’t sweat it. Just rename your device back to whatever it was beforehand if you preferred that name.
3. Cycle Airplane Mode On and Off
Also known as flight mode, the airplane toggle will disable all communication services on your phone, which includes Wi-Fi, and data connections. This is another extremely quick and easy way to force your Android phone to reset communication settings and force the reconnect to the Wi-Fi.
- Pull your notifications bar at the top of your phone, downward.
- If you have more than one page, swipe to the left.
- Find the “Flight Mode” and tap it on.
- Wait for 5-10 seconds.
- Tap the “Flight Mode” off to disable it.
Try reconnecting to the Wi-Fi to see if you still get the “failed to obtain IP address” error message.
4. Restart Your Mobile Device and Router
It is possible that your router has failed to assign an IP address to the devices on the network, and as such, have made it impossible for you to connect which is why you’re seeing the “failed to obtain IP address” error message. This can happen if there are cache issues in the router or there is conflict between internal software.
Each router has a different way of resetting it, but typically you would take your router’s IP address, paste it into a browser to get to your router’s control panel. You can restart it from here. Usually, there is also a restart button at the back of the router box that you need to press with a pin. Make sure to hold the button down for a few seconds before releasing.
As for your phone, hold down the power button and choose to power it off. Wait a few minutes and then power it back on.
5. Assign a Static IP Address to Your Device
If your device is still getting the “failed to obtain IP address” error message, then you may be able to connect by assigning a static IP address manually. Unfortunately, this is more of a workaround than an actual solution, as it requires you to reconfigure your network settings, switch off your Wi-Fi, and restart your Android device every time you want to connect to a different network.
- Tap on your Settings, and then into your Wi-Fi network.
- Click the Forget the network button.
- Now try reconnecting to the network but instead of inputting a password in, click on the “Advanced” option underneath the password field.
- Tap onto IP settings which should be in DHCP mode by default.
- Choose “Static” from the drop-down menu.
- In the IP address field, change the last digit. Can be anything between 1-225.
- Save and retry to connect.
6. Clear Your Google Play Services Cache
All Android phones come equipped with Google Play Services, which runs in the background of your phone. It can sometimes cause network issues, especially if you have it set to automatically update all of your apps. Here is how to clear the cache for it.
- Tap into Settings, and scroll until you find “Apps”.
- Tap into “Apps” and search “Google Play Services” in the top search bar. Alternatively, scroll until you find it in the list.
- Tap into Google Play Services, and then Storage.
- Tap the Clear cache button.
7. Change the Encryption Type Used
It is very possible that your Android device is not compatible with the encryption method you have enabled on your router. To make the change, you will need your router’s IP address. Take this address and paste it into a browser to get to your router’s control panel.
- In your router’s control panel, find wireless settings and click into it.
- Then find wireless security, and click into that.
- Select the security mode or encryption drop-down box, and change it.
- Swap between AES (advanced encryption standard) and WPA (Wi-Fi protected access) to see which one works for you.
8. Disable MAC Filtering
Most routers come with a function called MAC filtering, which specifies who is allowed or not allowed to join your network. A MAC address is a unique number that is assigned to your computer’s hardware when connecting to the internet. The MAC filter only allows “whitelisted” addresses to connect. If your Android’s device is not on this list, you won’t be able to connect to the Wi-Fi, and you’ll get the “failed to obtain IP address” error message. To fix this problem, you will need to disable MAC filtering:
- Access your router’s control panel by using your router’s IP address.
- As soon as you try to click anywhere in the settings, you’ll be asked to sign in.
- Sign into your control panel. If you’ve never done this before, it is likely that the password and username is: admin. You can also check the back of your router for the default login credentials if “admin” does not work.
- Find the wireless settings and click on the MAC filtering option.
- Disable it, and save your changes.
- Close the page to your router’s control panel.
9. Do a Network Settings Reset or Full Factory Reset of Your Android Device
If the above methods do not work, you can perform a factory reset of all of your Android’s data.
Warning: This will switch all core functions back to their default settings, but it will also erase everything on your phone. If you are going to go ahead and do this, backup your files onto your computer first.
- Tap into Settings on your Android smartphone.
- Tap into “general management” or wherever the “reset’ function is located.
- Tap onto “reset” and then “factory data reset”.
- A prompt will open, and you’ll need to confirm.
If your Android phone is a little more advanced, you may be able to just reset the network settings, which is something you should try before doing a full factory reset.
Wrapping It Up
Let us know in the comments below if any of these methods helped you in fixing the “failed to obtain IP address” error message on your Android smartphone.