MacBook Air M1 will no longer connect to wifi and the world

My friend has a MacBook Air M1 - it has been working as it should until a few days ago where it will now not connect to the internet.
The wifi symbol shows in the task bar, the Mac shows it’s connected in settings, I’ve tried a connection via ethernet, that too shows a connection plus hot spotting from my iPhone - but no internet access. No web, no email. All his other Mac products are unaffected
We have;
Tried 3 different homes with 3 different ISPs.
Restarted
Created a new user
Disabled or thrown out any dubious looking apps.
Disabled all extensions in Chrome and Safari
Refreshed DHSP lease

I’m out of ideas now. Anyone seen this before and found a solution?

If the MacBook’s own DNS settings have come unstuck somehow, that might account for being unable to reach the Internet despite having a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection. Have you checked System Settings > Network > Wi-Fi > [your network] > Details… > DNS ?

Thanks. I did compare his settings to my MacBook Air and they were the same. I thought I’d be able to fix the issue in a few minutes. There’s hubris for you.

Sorry, I’m absolutely no expert and a DNS problem was the only thing I could think of. Interesting that neither interface works. Safe mode?

Occasionally, I have this happen on a variety of installations for Macs. My solution is always to boot into the recovery console and do the reinstall of the operating system. This doesn’t wipe anything out and almost always fixes this annoying Wi-Fi bug.

You’ve done some good troubleshooting, and it seems that reinstalling macOS like @TonyTownsend suggests would be worth doing.

The only problem is that without Wi-Fi, you won’t be able to download it. Do you have a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter and a jack on your router that you can plug into?

Actually, it would be interesting to see if you have Wi-Fi access when you boot into macOS Recovery. If not, that might just suggest a hardware failure that needs to be repaired.

Those are both great ideas. Just messaged my friend with them. I do have an Ethernet dongle so we can have a go with that as well.

Well, problem solved with a safe mode boot.
What I didn’t know, but do now, is that my friend had installed two anti-virus packages, Intego and Bitdefender, then deleted them. But not told me. But then I didn’t ask. When I booted into safe mode - WiFi! So I figured some software package was blocking WiFi. Further interrogation, gentle questioning, revealed the truth. I deleted the residue of these packages, rebooted and his Mac now talks to the world. Thanks all.

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You posted a reply with your solution while I was typing up my response. One of which was to ask if any third party AV or firewall was installed.

As a matter of course, a “full reinstall” of macOS is less useful than you’d think with Big Sur and later. A “Erase all files and settings” is more useful as it nukes the Data volume where preferences that might cause “funny” behavior are kept.

And many people don’t realize - they can call Apple for assistance as long as they are running a supported version of macOS. They don’t need an AppleCare contract.

Big Sur and later (with the sealed system volume/separate Data volume layout) makes many of the long-held perceptions and processes of recovering a Mac obsolete. Mostly for the better.

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I had a related issue with a new ISP. My server could see and join the new router’s network, but got no internet. Eventually, I remembered I had set it to a manual IP address and the new router used a different range of IP adresses. It worked when I set it to DHCP, and then worked when I changed that new address to be set manually. I just like to keep an .inetloc file in my dock for accessing a disk attached to the server: it saves a few clicks.

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