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 added 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 violates good manners (and quite possibly the law) to gain access to someone’s Wi-Fi network without permission. Ensure that you have approval from the network owner before you use any of the methods below. For public establishments, the consent is on posters and signs.
With the previous statement out of the way, there are two wireless protocols used for Wi-Fi networks where you can connect without a password, and one of them has become obsolete.
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is the discontinued one that only works on older devices. WPS got replaced by Device Provisioning Protocol (DPP), also referred to as Wi-Fi Easy Connect™, and it was released in 2018 by the Wi-Fi Alliance.
Don’t worry, though. Your new devices can still connect using the SSID and password when preferred. It’s just that WPS connections are deprecated.
While DPP/Wi-Fi Easy Connect™ replaced WPS, you may still have devices capable of WPS, which is why this article preserves that content for reference. Regardless, DPP is more secure and changes things regarding passwords. Keep reading to find out more!
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 EasyConnect™,” which utilizes 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/Wi-Fi Easy Connect™ Features:
- The connection uses WPA3 security but still supports WPA2.
- DPP helps Wi-Fi devices connect to the router without using an SSID and password.
- The protocol allows devices to quickly 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 old SSID/password combo) to obtain network, device, and internet access.
The DPP/Wi-Fi EasyConnect™ technology is relatively new, and developers are learning to integrate the protocol and its features into their devices and apps. Google was the first company to initiate the protocol in their Android 10 release. Therefore, you won’t find too much information online because most devices and apps have yet to implement DPP functionality.
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 becomes the assistant to link devices to the network, and more than one device can become a configurator.
Setting Up an Android 10+ Device as a Configurator for DPP/Wi-Fi Easy Connect™
Before any devices can use DPP/Wi-Fi Easy Connect™ to link to routers without a password, you must have a configurator. A configurator device already connects to the Wi-Fi network and serves out a QR code for other devices to use. Once its QR code gets scanned, the new device links to the same network without needing a password. After successfully connecting, that same new device automatically becomes another configurator if it supports the DPP protocol. As previously mentioned, an Android 10 or above device offers such functionality, while iPhone currently requires a third-party app to create QR codes.
Note: Older devices that supported WPS or Wi-Fi Direct (communicating amongst each other using the Wi-Fi network) cannot share Wi-Fi as a configurator under the DPP protocol. However, they can use the QR code on DPP devices to connect without a password. Simply install a third-party Wi-Fi QR Code scanner app.
To access the Easy Connect Wi-Fi sharing option on Android 10+, perform the following steps:
- Open “Settings” and select “Network & Devices.”
- Tap on “Wi-Fi” from the options.
- Select your connected SSID or tap on the “Settings icon” found next to it.
- Tap the “Advanced dropdown.”
- Select the “Share icon” at the top, below the Wi-Fi connection status.
- A QR code appears on the screen and is ready for other devices to scan.
Using DPP/Wi-Fi Connect without Needing a Router Password.
Now that you have a device that provides a QR code to connect other devices to the Wi-Fi network, all you need to do is scan the code to join without a password. Each phone or tablet has different methods for scanning the Wi-Fi QR code. Let’s break it down into a few of them.
Connect to Wi-Fi without a password on Android 10 and Newer
- Go to “Settings.”
- Select “Network & Internet.”
- Choose “Wi-Fi.”
- Scroll to the bottom (if your SSID list is long) and tap on the “QR scan icon” on the right side of the “Add Network” row.
- A QR Code Scanner appears. Scan a printed QR code or a digital one within a connected device when using a phone as the configurator. You can scan any device holding a Wi-Fi QR code.
Connect to Wi-Fi without a password on Android 9 and Earlier Using DPP/Easy Connect
- Open the “Play Store” and search for “wi-fi qr code.”
- Install the QR app of your choice from the list. In this example, we chose “WiFi QrCode Password scanner” by Tech Tool.
- Launch the app, then scan the Wi-Fi QR code displayed on the DPP/Easy Connect device. Depending on the app and your Android OS, you may get a prompt to connect before it links to the network.
- A screen now appears, displaying your connection status.
Connect to Wi-Fi without a password on iOS/iPhone
- Open the default “Camera” app.
- Hover your iPhone over the “Wi-Fi QR code” displayed on the configurator (DPP/Easy Connect device).
- Tap on “Join [SSID] Network” once it appears on the camera’s screen.
Connect to Wi-Fi without a password on Fire HD Tablets
- Open the Amazon “Appstore” and search for “wifi qr code.”
- Install the Amazon QR app of your choice from the list. In this example, we chose “QR Code Reader” by Jigs Utility.
- Launch the app, then scan the Wi-Fi QR code that appears on the DPP/Easy Connect device.
- A screen appears showing the Wi-Fi connection status. You are free to close it.
After completing the above steps for the applicable system, your device handles the rest—no passwords and no SSID list to browse. You now have a connection to the network and possibly the internet if present. Any other phones or tablets that scan a QR code also connect, as long as they support WPA2 at a minimum. In addition, each Easy Connect device linked to the Wi-Fi network can provide a convenient QR code to others.
In closing, you now know the primary methods for connecting to Wi-Fi without a password and that WPS is history. WPS connections are generally acceptable for old devices, but the newer DPP protocol is best if they have WPA2 support. DPP requires the router and all devices to support WPA2 (for older devices) or WPA3. Android switched to DPP/Wi-Fi Easy Connect™ starting with Android 10. Apple never supported WPS while Android did, but iOS doesn’t have an Easy Connect QR code sharing feature either. As for Amazon Fire tablets, they do not use Easy Connect, just like Apple. You must install a third-party Wi-Fi QR code scanner on such devices.
If all this mumbo jumbo appears confusing, just remember that the DPP protocol replaced WPS. The old days of connecting devices to the router or access point (AP) directly without a password using WPS have been replaced by letting other devices do the work. A DPP-supported device can serve Wi-Fi without a router or AP password to other devices, even old ones with WPA2 encryption support.
—-Start of Preserved WPS Content for Reference—-
Note: Android 10 and above use the more secure DPP Wi-Fi connection (Wi-Fi Easy Connect™) rather than WPS. We preserved this section of the article for older devices that use WPS.
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. As discussed in the next section, WPS got replaced by DPP (Device Provisioning Protocol).
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 PINinstead of a button. You’ll need to tap that option in your Internet settings on your device 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 have already read some of that above.
Using Router Guest Mode Without a Password
Another option to connect without a Wi-Fi password besides WPS is to use a “Guest” Wi-Fi connection. The newer DPP protocol does not need a guest option. This type differs from connecting to a secured network as a guest, as mentioned earlier. A “Guest” network, which you may already know, is a Wi-Fi network, usually unsecured/unencrypted and requires no password to connect. The term “usually” was used because some guest networks get set up with passwords like encrypted connections. Only the signal is not encrypted and is easily interceptable.
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 terms and conditions, which appear as a browser popup. Once you select “Agree” or “Accept,” the gate opens to Wi-Fi internet access.
The downside of a guest network with no password is the potential bandwidth limits set by the business and the fact that the connection is unsecured without encryption. It’s probably fine for your mountaintop cabin or your second home on Mars. Regardless, guest networks work for any device type.
Using a QR Code on WPS to Access Wi-Fi Without a Password
Whenever 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.
If the user changes 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 the QR code app on Android or the camera app (iPhone/iOS) and scan the QR code on the back of the router.
- You should receive a banner or notification to connect to the Wi-Fi network. Tap on the Wi-Fi SSID to connect.
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