AirPort Express and Timed Access Control

I use an AirPort Express as my Wi-Fi access point. I recently checked the box for Enable Access Control, and added MAC addresses for all the devices that should have access, allowing Everyday and All Day access, with “stranger (default)” being allowed No Access. Now, neither iPhone can connect; each gives the error “Unable to join the network [myNetwork]” with only OK as a response. For what it’s worth, [myNetwork] does appear in the list (as the only entry) of My Networks rather than in Other Networks on the iPhones. The iPad, MacBook, and iMac connect.

Please tell me what I am doing wrong.

Not sure if this is it, but on your iPhone you may want to go into settings - WiFi, tap the “circle i” icon to the right of the name of your network, and turn off “private address” - an option added to iOS 14 which is useful for sporadic WiFi connections but not necessary for your home network.

I do think that the MAC address is supposed to be the same whenever the device connects, but I’d try turning the option off (if it is now on.)

Thank you for the quick response.

For other reasons, I restarted the AirPort Express (and I assure you that I had tried that multiple times before), and now both iPhones have connected. Also, I had already discovered the Private Address setting, been bewildered, and turned it off to no avail. However, both iPhones now have it turned on and are connected. (I have just installed iOS 14.4 on the older iPhone, so that could be why Private Address had been reset on it. I have downloaded but not installed iOS 14.4 on the newer iPhone, and I don’t know why it would have been reset.)

For what it’s worth, the new MacBook Air, which had connected previously, would connect but have a self-assigned IP address today. That was the reason for the AirPort restart, which seems to have fixed all problems. As I said, I had restarted it multiple times before posting my question. Gremlins!

Edited to clarify. When I posted the above comment, Timed Access Control was turned off. (I needed to turn it off so the iPhones could connect to Wi-Fi and download iOS 14.4, then forgot to turn it back on.) I turned Timed Access Control back; the iPad reconnected but neither iPhone did until I turned Private Address off. (The iPad already had it turned off.) In summary, it seems like @ddmiller was spot on with the suggestion to turn off Private Address. Why didn’t it work when I did that earlier? I don’t know, but perhaps enough restarts of devices plus putting iOS 14.4 on the iPhones and turning off Private Address all worked together to fix things.

One more follow-up. I had some additional problem with the AirPort Express, and while poking at it with AirPort Utility, it abruptly went off the air. When it came back, I needed to set it up from scratch, as if it were new or I had pressed the reset button. Since then, it has worked fine, so I assume something internal was goofy and it had been limping along. Perhaps supporting this theory, I note that the green indicator light had been blinking like crazy 24/7 for years. (I had assumed it was the ISP.) Since the hard reset, that light has been solidly on when no one is doing anything.