Daves Computers

Computer Repair | Data Recovery | Laptop Repair - Call Dave's

Reach us at:
908-428-9558
438 Route 206, Suite 9b,
Hillsborough NJ 0884
Located Across from Five Guys
Hours Monday-Friday
9:00am-5:00pm

How to use Network Locations on a Mac

Network locations are like network profiles that loads different preferences depending on what network you are connecting to. For example, let’s say you work from home and then take your Mac to work. You also sometimes work from coffee shops, airports and other places too. Rather than having to set up different network settings manually, you can use a network location to do it automatically.

As we live in New Jersey, the guys here at Dave’s Computers spend a lot of time traveling and in coffee shops. It’s part of our culture and making that change of networks as simple as possible makes life easier for all of us. We can have one network setting for the Ethernet here at Dave’s. We have another for public WiFi and another for connecting to client networks.

All we need do is switch between them as we connect. It’s fast, simple and implements all the changes we need with a single selection.

Configure network locations

Setting up network locations is quite straightforward. You can do it as many times as you need and configure different settings for each.

  1. Select the Apple menu icon and select System Preferences.
  2. Select Network to bring up the network window.
  3. Select Edit Locations at the top by Locations.
  4. Select the ‘+’ icon to add a location.
  5. Name it something relevant and select Done.
  6. Configure the connection how you like and select Apply once complete.

If your new network location is similar to an existing one, you can select the small cog icon instead of the ‘+’ to copy it. You can then rename it and change the settings accordingly. It saves time if there is only a minor change.

From that small cog icon, you can also change the Service Order. This is the order in which your Mac connects to networks like WiFi first and Ethernet second and so on. Select Set Service Order from the list to do this.

We often use the Automatic network location when at a customer site. This tells MacOS to see what network connections are available and to use the strongest signal. If the client has no restrictions on connectivity, this can save us time when setting up and makes us look professional as we are up and running in the fastest time!

Configure a VPN as a network location

If you use free WiFi anywhere, you should also use a VPN to help maintain privacy. You can add your VPN details to a network location so your Mac connects automatically.

  1. Select the Apple menu icon and select System Preferences.
  2. Select Network to bring up the network window.
  3. Select Edit Locations at the top by Locations.
  4. Select the ‘+;’ icon and select VPN instead of location.
  5. Add your VPN server details including connection type, server address, username and all that.
  6. Select OK to save.

You can also select ‘Show VPN status in menu bar’ so you can keep an eye on things.

If you have a VPN config file, you can import that using the cog menu. Select Import Configurations, select the config file and Import.

Selecting network locations on Mac

Once you have your network locations configured, how do you use them? It’s about as simple as it gets.

  1. Select the Apple menu icon and select System Preferences.
  2. Select Network to bring up the network window.
  3. Select a location and connect.

You can do it faster than that if you need to by selecting Location from the Apple menu. You can connect directly to a particular network location with just two clicks!