Fixing the failed to obtain IP address error on Android

Anton P. | October 12, 2021

Wi-Fi connections can be fragile, and the “failed to obtain IP address” error is one of the possible obstacles. If this message emerges, the reason might relate to router or smartphone configurations. Overall, it means that the network could not supply an IP address for your device. Usually, the failed to obtain IP address message visits Android users. It is unfortunate, but there is no need to feel alarmed once this message interrupts you. We will help you find the root of the problem and resolve it as soon as possible.

How to understand the failed to obtain IP address error?

As you know, each network’s router has the responsibility to assign IP addresses to all connecting devices. Thus, this message essentially signals that the router has failed to allocate an IP address.

Then, the Android device in question cannot establish a connection nor access the internet. You also won’t be able to reach any network resources like printers or other internet-connected devices.

There is no one-size answer explaining what triggered the failed to obtain IP address error. However, experience shows that it is primarily a router issue, mainly due to some network configurations. Of course, your device can set off this problem as a response to software or hardware troubles.

Let’s examine the common motives behind networks failing to assign an IP address to Android devices.

Reasons behind this message

The failed to obtain IP address error is possible on any network, be it home or corporate. However, if the network is public or corporate, troubleshooting won’t help. Such routers might not accept requests from unknown devices.

MAC filtering

Most routers contain an optional feature known as MAC address filtering. It is a way for network managers to limit the number of devices joining the network. Of course, this method has its shortcomings, like being susceptible to MAC address spoofing.

Nevertheless, it is possible that the enabled MAC filtering will compel a network to treat your Android as a hostile stranger. Thus, if the router cannot authenticate your device as a trusted source, it won’t serve it.

The solution: if possible, disable MAC filtering for your Android device. Include the MAC address of your device as a trusted source. You can do this by accessing your router’s admin panel. As a bonus step, check whether parental controls apply to your device. If they do, disable them as well.

Restart your router

Turn it off and on is the classic solution to all technical issues. A quick reboot will allow your router to re-initialize the internal software. Since a reboot cleans the short-term router memory, the device can start anew. And it might be enough to fix minor issues, such as networks that fail to assign IP addresses.

The solution: you can reboot your router by unplugging the power supply. Wait 30 seconds before turning it back on. There might also be an on/off switch that will do the same thing. If you experience many networking issues, you might need to take a step further. Reset your router to erase both short and long-term memory. However, remember that you will lose all customizations done to your network.

Router’s firewall

All firewalls are all about blocking suspicious traffic. However, it might malfunction and trigger the failed to obtain IP address error. If it is the culprit, you won’t be the only one experiencing issues. The problem will likely interfere with all Android smartphones attempting to join.

The solution: check your router’s firewall. It might have accidentally stopped working. In this case, try to activate it again. If it appears to run normally, disable the firewall to see whether your Android can connect.

Change router encryption

Configuring router encryption to AES or TKIP can cause difficulties. For instance, the settings might conflict with specific devices, including Android devices. It could be the reason behind the failed to obtain IP address error. There is no reason to use TKIP or AES. WPA2 and WPA3 are more than capable of supporting your network and boosting security.

The solution: enter your router’s admin panel and set router encryption to WPA2. It is the most durable option and should resolve the failed to obtain IP address issue.

Your Android can trigger the error

It is not only the router that can be at fault. Your Android device might be the one responsible for the networking difficulties. However, routers are the typical cause. So, we suggest trying the recommendations above before examining your Android.

Wipe Google Play cache clean

Google Play could be the one secretly affecting your networking capabilities. It might also cause the failed to obtain IP address error. Experts have little proof as to why Google Play triggers such issues. However, it is a potential culprit you need to consider.

The solution: you can clean the Google Play cache by accessing it via Android settings.

Have your phone forget the network

The first thing to do is reconnect to the network. But before that, your device needs to forget about it. You can follow these instructions to modify such Wi-Fi preferences:

  1. Open Android settings and navigate to Wi-Fi.

  1. Pick Additional settings.

  1. Open Manage saved networks.

  1. Tap the network you wish your device to forget.
  2. Click Forget Network.

Turn Airplane mode on and off

You can also try to resolve minor disruptions by enabling Airplane mode. Turn it on, then wait for about a minute. Now, you can turn it off again. During this process, keep the Wi-Fi disabled. However, your phone should be able to connect to cellular data. After turning the Airplane mode off, attempt to connect to the Wi-Fi network you want.

Get static IP address

Routers might block specific IP addresses. As a workaround, you can change the blocked device’s IP address to static. The latter means that the IP address does not change and stays the same.

Here are the instructions for achieving this:

  1. Open Android settings and navigate to Wi-Fi & Network.

  1. Tap on Modify network and move to Advanced options.

  1. Finally, pick Static under IP settings (instead of DHCP).

Move near the router

Sometimes the simplest solution is the one that works. It could be that your Android smartphone is too far away from the network. Move closer to it and try to connect. If this resolves the issue, consider relocating your router. Pick a spot that will likely cover all the areas you need.

Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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