We’ve all been there: You need the wifi password to the network you’re already connected to, either to give it to someone else or to set up a new device, and you can’t for the life of you remember what it is.
The good news is you don’t have to dig for the scrap of paper you wrote it on and shoved in a drawer somewhere, nor do you have to hope it’s taped to the bottom of your wifi router. Sharing wifi passwords is easier than it’s ever been, no matter what device you find yourself on, and we’ll talk you through the steps on the major platforms here.
As far as your own home network goes, you can change the wifi password from the default to something that’s simpler and easier for you to remember (as long as it’s not too simple that your neighbors will figure out what it is). It makes it much easier to get friends, family, and new devices online.
Open up Settings on Android and tap Network and Internet then Internet, then tap the cog icon to the right of the wifi network you’re connected to. If you’re not connected to the network you want to share the password for, select it from the list—you can only share details for the wifi that you’re currently accessing.
You’ll be met with a screen showing all the details of the selected wifi network, including the current signal strength and the frequency you’re hooked up to. Crucially for our purposes, you can tap the Share button to see a QR code as well as the wifi network password written out in plain text.
You can either just tell someone else what the password is or have them scan the QR code to get connected. Scanning will work using the default camera app on Android or iOS, and a small link will pop up that you can tap to join the network. Alternatively, tap Nearby to use the Nearby Share feature in Android to beam the network details directly to another device (which must also be running Android).
If you’re on an iPhone, you can share details of the current wifi network with someone else, with some caveats: They must be using an Apple device, you must have each other’s email addresses in your respective contacts lists, you must be signed into iCloud with your Apple ID, and both devices must have Bluetooth and wifi enabled.
After that, it’s all pretty simple. Make sure your iPhone is unlocked and connected to the wifi network you want to share, then get the other person to attempt to connect to the same network. A prompt should magically appear on your device asking if you want to share the password for the network with your contact.
Tap Share Password and then Done and the other person should be hooked up. You can’t actually view whatever the password is for your wifi network on an iPhone, so if you’re trying to share it with an Android user or you need to write it down for whatever reason, you’re going have to try something else.
Windows doesn’t really make it easy to quickly share your wifi password with someone else, but you can at least view it on screen, and then tell the other person what it is, or type it into an email or instant messenger chat.
Use the search button on the taskbar to find and open the Control Panel, then choose Network and Internet, and Network and Sharing Center. Click on the name of the wifi network you’re connected to, then choose Wireless Properties, Security, and finally check the Show characters box.
Assuming you’re signed in as an administrator on your Windows machine, the password appears in the Network security key box. What you can’t do, because of the security precautions built into Windows, is copy the password, so you won’t be able to rely on copy and paste if you need to share it with someone else.
Sharing a password from a Mac is a lot like sharing a password from an iPhone, in that it should happen automatically if certain criteria are met. Your Mac needs to be unlocked and signed into your Apple ID account, and the other person’s Apple ID email address needs to be in your contacts, and the other person has to be using an iPhone, an iPad, or another Mac.
If all that groundwork is done, once the other device tries to connect to the same wifi network you’re currently on, you’ll see a notification on your own Mac asking if you’d like to share the credentials. Confirm that you do and the other person should be granted access to the wifi.
Unlike iOS or iPadOS, macOS lets you view saved wifi passwords. You need to find and launch the Keychain Access app, then switch to the Login and Passwords tab and search for the SSID (the network name) of the saved wifi network. Double-click the entry, then click Show password and enter your admin username and password to view it.