I love working from cafes, especially the ones with free Wi-Fi. Nothing better than working with a bit of white noise around and writing with a hot cup of coffee by my side. That’s the reason I have saved Wi-Fi passwords of many cafes in my locality. However, sometimes you don’t go to these places alone and are accompanied by your friends who might as well need the Wi-Fi access. If you have your laptop with you then it’s not that difficult to make it show the passwords. But on a phone, it isn’t that straightforward. And the chances of our phones being with us than our laptops is significantly more.
Asking the baristas is always an option, but why bother them when you can retrieve it from your phone itself. Plus this is a useful method to know because it can come in handy in many other situations when you desperately need the Wi-Fi password of a network you previously connected to on the phone.
Before we get started, it’s important to make it clear that the process only works on rooted and jailbroken Android and iOS devices respectively (the part about this not being straightforward on phones).
There’s no way you can get the Wi-Fi passwords without gaining admin access as this information is stored in the system folder of the device. If you haven’t rooted your Android yet then you should check our collection of posts on rooting your Android and decide for yourself. For iOS users, here’s our collection on jailbreaking. Yes, we are platform-agnostic like that.
With that out of our way, let’s now see how we can get the passwords. We will first see the process for Android and then move on to iOS devices.
Retrieving Wi-Fi Passwords on Android
As we will have to open a system file on Android, we cannot use the traditional file explorer that comes pre-installed on the device. We will use ES File Explorer for the task. We have already seen a guide on how we can use ES File Explorer to view and edit system files on Android. Please have a look at the it if you are unaware of the process.
Now move up a folder (to the root folder) in ES File Explorer and you will see a directory called data. Navigate to data/misc/wifi folder and you will find a file named wpa_supplicant.conf. Tap on the file to open it up and make sure you use ES File Explorer ‘s built-in text/HTML viewer for the task.
In the file you should be able to see the network SSID and their passwords next to it. You can now search for the SSID (network name) and note down the password next to it and close the file.
Please make sure that you don’t edit the file or you might start having problems with your Wi-Fi connectivity. There are a certain number of apps listed in the Play Store for the task but it’s better to use this manual method to get the passwords than to install that adware crap.
Let’s now have a look at how we can get the passwords on an iOS device.
Retrieving Wi-Fi Passwords on iOS
If you have jailbroken your device, install a nifty tweak called NetworkList from Cydia. After you have installed the tweak, all you need to do is go to the Wi-Fi settings of your device and you will see a new button named Network Passwords in there. In iOS 7 it will be shown as Known Networks. Just tap on it and you will be able to see all the Wi-Fi passwords that are stored on your device.
Network list is very basic and only displays the passwords. You don’t even have the permission to select and copy it to your clipboard to send it as a text message. You just need to use the conventional method of a pen and a paper, and write it down (or memorize it).
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So that was how you can get the saved Wi-Fi passwords on your iOS and Android devices. If you know of a better way to get the task done, please don’t forget to share it with us in the comments.
Top Photo Credit: liewcf