how i fixed the problem of a nexus 5 being stuck in “turning on wifi” [solution]

how i fixed the problem of a nexus 5 being stuck in "turning on wifi" [solution] after a recent crash both in software and hardware terms, my nexus 5 running android lollipop 5.0.1 could no longer activate wifi. when touching the toggle, it would just show “wifi turning on”, but it never got around to actually scanning for wifi networks or even displaying its mac address.
after quite some online research i tried toggling aeroplane mode, deleting /data/misc/wifi (root), doing a factory reset, upgrading to the newest android version (lollipop 5.1.1), flashing other ROMs and kernels, etc. but nothing seemed to work.
since there was also a physical drop involved, i opened the N5 to check if there was anything noticeable in the internals, e.g. the wifi antenna connector being loose, but nothing was obvious. there were also several reports of google replacing wifi-faulty nexus 5 handsets under warranty due to a “hardware” or “motherboard” issue, but i wasn’t quite ready to give up yet.

then i found this post, which detailed how a user just had to manually correct the mac-address in /persist/wifi/.macaddr in order to get it working again. it didn’t work for me, but after lots of toying around with other ideas, i finally just went ahead, opened root explorer, and deleted the entire /persist/wifi folder and rebooted the phone.
lo and behold, wifi is now working again like nothing ever happened.

maybe this will help somebody else in a similar situation?

64 thoughts on “how i fixed the problem of a nexus 5 being stuck in “turning on wifi” [solution]

  1. @Mots (or anyone else who finds this useful): you can use adb to sideload apps to your phone from your PC. so, after enabling developer options and USB debuggin, you can connect your phone to your PC via USB and sideload an app using the following command line:

    adb install \.apk

    I recommend using ES file explorer, since it’s free and available directly from the developer on their website at

  2. Hey dude!! I too experienced the same WiFi problem.then as per your text I deleted entire persist/WiFi folder .but after rebooting my mobile ,it sits on the same problem .pls help me to figure it out

  3. Can anyone please provide steps on how to delete the aforementioned folder?

  4. God bless you my friend. I had been troubleshooting this 15 hours in a stretch until i came across your reply. Thanks a ton.

  5. hi all,

    can you please help me out with the procedure to delete this persist folder as i am also facing the same issue since long time.

    thank you

  6. after reading all the comments i feel like a layman.. i am gonna sleep over this issue as i have done for the past 4 years.. & try to get hold of a mobile repair man.. else my wife will throw away my beloved-not-working-nexus!.. will update you guys on what the repairman said.. au revoir!

  7. Switch to other user and turn the wifi .. it will work. I have switched to guest account and turn on the Wi-Fi, it worked for me.

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