How to Connect to WiFi without WiFi Password
“What’s your Wi-Fi password?” This question is most commonly known for visitors trying to connect to your Wi-Fi at home or a cafe or restaurant. However, this question is not just limited to these places, given people’s massive importance on Wi-Fi these days.
Wi-Fi is a term given to a wireless network that utilizes radio frequency signals to connect the internet between devices. Since its development in 1997, it has played an integral role in modern, technological devices. Almost everybody uses gadgets, from smartphones to computers. Others may not be able to imagine what life would be without Wi-Fi! Homes, offices, and public places have Wi-Fi connections installed because people find it essential. Everybody with Internet service uses a Wi-Fi network to share that service to all the devices in their home or workplace.
In today’s world, the vast majority of Wi-Fi networks are password-protected. Even public Wi-Fi has started to get controlled. Many places you visit have their password posted in the building to help prevent bandwidth thieves from the outside and to encrypt the data transmissions on the inside. For the sake of convenience, manufacturers have created several ways for a guest user to get onto the network without knowing a password, but it is not as simple as you think. In this article, you’ll see several methods to connect to Wi-Fi without a password.
Please note, however, that it is a violation of good manners (and quite possibly the law) to gain access to someone’s Wi-Fi network without their permission. Ensure that you have the permission of the network owner before you use any of the methods below.
Using WPS to Connect Without a Password
WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup. WPS is an older technology that functions on networks using the WPA Personal or WPA2 Personal security protocol. WPS has been replaced with DPP (Device Provisioning Protocol), as discussed in the next section.
Note: Android 10 and above use the more secure DPP Wi-Fi connection (Wi-Fi Easy Connect™) rather than WPS. This section of the article was preserved for older devices that use WPS.
Stripped of the technobabble, WPS means that if a Wi-Fi router resides in a place that is physically accessible to guests, they can create a network connection to the router by pushing a button on the device rather than entering a password. You generally didn’t have access to the routers in a public location, but you COULD use WPS in a residential setting, assuming the tenant or homeowner let you “touch” their router.
WPS was a prevalent method of connecting guest users in a home or small office environment. Since people outside the building or in a set of rooms didn’t have physical access to the router, they had no way of surreptitiously stealing Wi-Fi service. Only people you invited in were able to get onto your Wi-Fi network without a password. It is far easier to tap a button on the router’s control panel than enter a 16-digit random security code on a smartphone’s tiny keyboard.
Using WPS is very simple. Generally, all you need to do is ensure you have the correct settings on your smartphone (Android 9 or earlier) or another guest device and ensure you can access the router physically. Here’s how to do it.
Note: The exact steps may vary slightly depending on your operating system and version.
Using WPS instead of a Password
- Launch the “Settings” app from the Home screen.
- Navigate to the “Network and internet settings” section.
- Tap on “Wi-Fi.”
- Select “Additional settings.”
- Tap the “Connect by WPS button” option.
- Next, a dialog should open telling you to push the “WPS button” on the router.
- You have about 30 seconds to do this before the WPS handshake protocol shuts down, then you’ll have to repeat this step. Push the “WPS button” if you haven’t done so already—it is usually clearly labeled with “WPS.”
- Your phone automatically connects to the Wi-Fi network, and you shouldn’t have to repeat these steps unless you tell your device to forget the Wi-Fi connection.
Note: For some routers, there is a WPS PIN instead of a button. You’ll need to tap that option in your Internet settings and enter the PIN, usually found on a sticker under the router.
WPS was a convenient and practical method of connecting to a Wi-Fi network without a password. However, it was prone to password and SSID hacking, mostly from hacked Internet of Things (IoT) devices and brute force on the PIN. Apple refused to support the WPS standard, and Android did away with the option in the Android 9 updates. This statement means that our newer tech won’t have this as an option. Of course, you already read some of that above.
Using Router Guest Mode Without a Password
Another option to connect without a Wi-Fi password is to use a “Guest” Wi-Fi connection. This type is different than connecting to a secured network as a guest like what was mentioned earlier. A “Guest” network, which you may already know, is a Wi-Fi network that is unsecured/unencrypted and usually requires no password to connect. The term “usually” is used because a password can be set up in the router’s settings if the owner desires one.
Most public establishments that offer free Wi-Fi include the “Guest” connection without a password. Depending on the network used, most require you to agree to the business’s terms and services, which appears as a browser popup. Once you select “Agree” or “Accept,” it opens the gate to Wi-Fi internet access.
The downside of a guest network with no password is potential bandwidth limits set by the business and the fact that the connection is not secured though encryption. It’s probably fine for your mountaintop cabin or your second home on Mars, however. Regardless, guest networks work for any device type.
Using a QR Code on WPS to Access WiFi Without a Password
If you’d like to access someone’s WPS Wi-Fi network, you can always use QR codes instead. Bear in mind that the QR code method is a bit involved and requires some technical knowledge.
Some routers include a QR code on the back or bottom, generally near the SSID and default password information. However, this method only works for factory-set SSIDs and passwords. Furthermore, the QR code on newer routers may be for DPP/ Wi-Fi Easy Connect™ connections rather than WPS. There’s more on DPP below.
If the user changed the SSID name or password at any time, the router’s printed QR code becomes unusable. Regardless of that drawback, this method is typically used for smartphones and tablets because laptops usually don’t offer a QR scanning device or app.
Using Router’s QR Code to Access Someone’s Wi-Fi
- On iPhone, open the camera app and head to “Settings.” Ensure that QR code scanning is enabled, then skip to Step 3. For Android users, continue to Step 2.
- On Android, download an app that scans QR codes.
- Launch tha QR code app on Android or the camera app (iPhone/iOS) and scan the QR code on the back of the router.
- Now, you should receive a banner or notification to connect to the Wi-Fi network. Tap on the Wi-Fi SSID to connect.
Using DPP/Wi-Fi Easy Connect™ to Connect to Routers without a Password
Android 10 and above replaced WPS with DPP security connections, which produces a tighter seal on data transmission and allows more effortless device connectivity to networks and routers without having a password. Today, you may know this type of connection as “Wi-Fi Easy Connect™,” which utilizes the DPP connectivity rather than WPS.
Note: Wi-Fi Easy Connect is NOT the same as Wi-Fi Direct, which links devices to each other as a network.
DPP and Wi-Fi Easy Connect™ Features:
- The connection uses WPA3 security.
- The connection helps Wi-Fi devices connect to the router without using an SSID and password.
- The connection allows devices to easily join Wi-Fi networks (with a router [or without a router using a device to manage connections]) without requiring an SSID and password.
- The protocol uses NFC Tags, QR Codes, Bluetooth LE, and human-readable character strings (the good ‘ol SSID/password combo) to obtain network, device, and internet access.
To better understand the technology, you connect your smartphone to the router, then use the phone as a configurator that connects other devices to the network. Then, all connected devices link to the router and get internet and a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) connection. Your phone serves as the assistant to link devices to the network, and more than one device can become a configurator.
Using DPP to Connect without Needing a Router Password.
- Open “Wi-Fi Settings” on Android 10+.
- Scroll to the bottom of the “Accent Point” list. In the “Add Network” row, tap the “scan icon” on the right side.
- A QR Code Scanner appears. Scan a devices QR Code found on the device or digitally within it if using a phone as the configurator. You can scan any device holding a QR code. If no QR code is availalbe, skip to “Step 4.”
- If no configurator device has a QR code available, look for a PIN on the device and enter that instead.
That’s it! Your device handles the rest. You now have a connection to the network and possibly an internet connection if present. Any new device scans a QR code and automatically connects too.
In closing, you now know the primary methods for connecting to Wi-Fi without a password. Remember, you should always use open networks carefully. After all, you never know who’s snooping on that network. WPS connections are generally acceptable to use, but the newer DPP protocol is best. The router must support WPA3, as well as the phone, tablet, or computer. You only get that on newer devices and computers.
Were you able to successfully connect to Wi-Fi without a password? Let us know in the comments below.