After upgrading to 16.04 (clean install) from 14.04, (so not really upgrading, but you get the point) I notice that lightdm with unity-greeter can't connect to WiFi with network-manager. I get the following message: Failed to add/activate connection. - (1) Insufficient privileges.

Not really a big deal, but a bit annoying, since it used to work.

  • Have you already tried to reinstall Network Manager?
    – Danibix
    Apr 23, 2016 at 15:20
  • yes, did not work.. Also I have this problem on two computers, so I don't think I did something wrong. both clean install. Apr 23, 2016 at 15:44

4 Answers 4


I think the problem is in the permissions= line in the configuration files in /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/* after the change I describe below, all went to work as before.

I have four computers with Ubuntu 16.04, two have been updated from 15.10 to 16.04 and two were installed from scratch.

On machines that have been updated, you can select an already configured connection (LightDM user can not create, change or remove connections) before you log in. In the updated machine, an available connection is automatically selected and so it is possible to ssh to the machine.

On machines that received the 16:04 version, LightDM user can not select one of the connections previously created displaying the error insufficient privileges.

After checking the logs and the differences in the configuration files between the machines I realized that the files in /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/* had small differences!

Installed machines from scratch:

[Connection] id=corona uuid=4ce20be5-d5a0-41c5-820c-852136fade99 type=wifi permissions=user:modolo:; secondaries=

Updated machines:

[Connection] id=corona uuid=9bbd3c2b-295b-45e0-b1da-5c6b72e3734d type=wifi permissions= secondaries=

What has changed, in my view, with the new NetworkManager is that even when the connection is created and saved to ALL, permissions are created only for the user who is editing the connection (permissions=user:modolo:;).

After updating the permissions from "line=user:modolo:;" to "permissions=" in all connections files you can select the same before authentication and in addition, if any of the connections is active, it is automatically selected.

I hope this helps and works for everyone.

Hugs, Marcelo Modolo

  • 3
    You can get the same results by going to the Network Manager and editing the connection you want to modify. Under the General tab be sure to tick the "All users may connect to this network" checkbox and the permissions property will be updated in the file accordingly.
    – omrsin
    Nov 7, 2016 at 20:38

I have this problem. I also had the problem of the WiFi not working in Unity, I would enter the WiFi password and nothing happened. After I installed Gnome desktop, which I use, I was able to enter the WiFi password by clicking on the WiFi icon, opening Wi-Fi Settings, next to my hub was a configure icon, I set the password in there under the Security tab. Now I can connect without problems in both Unity and Gnome desktops. Strange.


This would fix the problem:

Network Connections -> (Click the required connection) -> Edit -> General tab -> 'All users may connect to this network' -> Save


I ran into a very similar issue where I had a dialog box popup when trying to add a new wifi connection. Stopping and starting network manager seemed to resolve it:

sudo systemctl stop NetworkManager.service
sudo systemctl start NetworkManager.service

Note that using restart did not resolve the issue for me.

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