It's the most important question: what's the Wi-Fi password?
Your new coworker needs to know; you can't remember. You know that Sheryl in marketing wrote it down somewhere, but she's out of office this week. Should you really start digging through all the papers on her desk? Probably not (and now that you did look, you can't find it). Does that mean your new coworker needs to plug into the network using ethernet, like some kind of medieval peasant?
No. You can retrieve the password from your computer or phone. To summarize:
On Windows, you can see the current network's password in the Control Panel. For other networks, you can use the command prompt or download a third-party program.
On Android, you can view all your passwords in the Wi-Fi settings and share passwords using a QR code.
On iPhone or iPad, it's not possible to view saved passwords, but you can easily share the passwords for your currently connected network with any other iPhone or iPad. Also, all saved passwords will sync to your Mac, so you can view them there.
On a Mac, simply open Keychain Access to view all saved passwords.
That's the overview, but keep reading if you get stuck or just want more detail. I'm going to walk you through everything.
Here's how to force a public Wi-Fi network to open, which is another problem entirely.
How to find your Wi-Fi password on Windows
Windows doesn't have any kind of Wi-Fi sharing feature, which is disappointing, but it is easy to see the password for whatever network you're currently attached to.
1. Open the Control Panel, then head to Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.
2. Click the name of the network you're connected to, then click Wireless Properties.
3. Go to the Security tab, and you can see the Network security key (that's your password) if you check the Show characters option.
As I said before, this only works for the network you're currently attached to. If you want to see the passwords for other networks, you've got two options.
Use the command prompt. The command
netsh wlan show profile NetworkName key=clearwill show you the password for any Wi-Fi network, if you replace "NetworkName" with the name of the network you want the password for. The command
netsh wlan show profilecan show you a list of networks, if you can't recall the exact name of the network you want the password for.
How to find and share your Wi-Fi password on Android
Sharing passwords from an Android device is straightforward—there's support for browsing every network you've ever connected to, and you can see the password or quickly share it using a QR code.
1. Open the settings on your device, then head to Network & Internet > Wi-Fi.
2. Scroll past the current networks to Saved networks, then tap the network you'd like to share.
3. Tap the Share button and you'll see a QR code, which you can use to share the password. You'll also see the password, in plaintext, below the QR code.
How to share your Wi-Fi password on iPhone and iPad
There's no way to browse all of your Wi-Fi passwords on an iPhone or iPad, but it is easy to share the password for the currently connected network with other iPhone and iPad users.
If someone physically near you tries to connect to a network you're connected to, you'll see a pop-up like this:
If you recognize the name, tap Share Password, and their device will connect. It's really slick. Note that both devices need Bluetooth enabled for this feature to work.
This only works for the network you're currently connected to. There's no way to browse other passwords or share them with other users. But there's a workaround, if you also own a Mac: all passwords saved on an iPhone or iPad are synced to macOS devices using iCloud, and that platform supports browsing saved passwords.
How to find a Wi-Fi password on a Mac
Your Mac stores all Wi-Fi passwords in Keychain Access.
1. Open the Finder, and head to Applications > Utilities. Alternatively, you can open Spotlight by hitting
command+space, then type "Keychain Access." Either way, you'll find all of your Wi-Fi passwords in the System section.
2. Search for any network, open it, and check the Show password button. Note that you'll be asked for an administrator password, which is the password for your user account on most devices.