Mobile data plans are getting cheaper by the day but nothing beats the good old Wi-Fi hotspot. Unlike your data plan, Wi-Fi hotspots are free and offer unlimited internet access. You can now watch FIFA World Cup matches on the move without having to worry about exhausting your mobile data plan.
While Android phones come with a Wi-Fi manager that will scan your surrounding area for hotspots, it has failed to evolve beyond a point and offer only basic features.
Today, I will share some of the best Wi-Fi hotspot apps for Android that will allow you to find free hotspots nearby (think Starbucks and Google here) along with their passwords.
1. Avast Wi-Fi Finder
Avast offers one of the best antivirus apps for the Android platform but that is not the only product in their arsenal. They also have a Wi-Fi finder app that works right out of box.
It comes with a built-in map feature which will point out all the Wi-Fi hotspots available in the area. You can check whether they are secure or not. There is a speed test feature that will help you determine the fastest hotspot to connect to but in most cases, Avast Wi-Fi Finder will point out the fastest network by default.
The app will rate each Wi-Fi network on privacy and security because you know what they say: data is the new oil.
Finally, there is an offline mode to save all the hotspots in case you are traveling abroad and want to save on data. The app is free to use but comes with ads.
While Avast Wi-Fi Finder is a good app, it falls short when it comes to password protected Wi-Fi networks. This is where Wi-Fi Maps comes into the picture. Think of it as a social network where users share passwords of Wi-Fi hotspots available to the general public.
The app claims to have a network of about 100 million users who have shared over 120 million Wi-Fi networks. That’s a lot of hotspots.
It comes with an interactive map which will display all the hotspots available in the city. Below the map, you will find a list that will display hotspots’ location with distance.
Wi-Fi Maps works pretty much wherever you go including countries like Africa and Europe. Whether you are sitting in Starbucks or a mall, you won’t have to ask for the password anymore again.
The offline mode will save hotspots with passwords for the entire city, so you don’t need an active internet connection to locate them. Sign up for a free account to share new hotspots in your area with the community and help it grow.
The app is free to use and you can remove ads for $1.99.
Wiman, as it is popularly called by developers and users, is another Wi-Fi hotspot finder app with a database of over 60 million hotspots worldwide. Like Wi-Fi Map, Wiman comes with an interactive map, a strong user base, offline maps, and network and speed testing tools. Unlike the former, Wiman has a beautiful UI that is a joy to use and navigate.
One feature that I like is the ability to share your Wi-Fi with the community. So, if you have a shop with Wi-Fi access, you can use the app to list your location and password for other users.
As a user, you can set favorites and priorities which means if there are more than one Wi-Fi hotspots in the area, you will always be connected to the one you have shortlisted.
There is support for Android wear too which should make life easier. The app is ad-supported but otherwise free.
WifiMapper, by Open Signal, is probably the most popular name in the list. A crowdsourced solution that will help you identify Wi-Fi hotspots in your area. An active user community regularly updates the database with reviews and passwords of hotspots they have discovered.
What makes WifiMapper even more useful is not the minimalist and functional UI or the 500 million strong hotspots list, but the app’s integration with Foursquare. This provides you with additional information about the place like food and drinks quality, menus, and so on.
If you are looking for even more, I suggest you download Open Signal. Apart from the an interactive Wi-Fi map, the app will also locate and display all the cell towers in the area. This means no more signal issues or call drops. Open Signal also comes with a navigation tab. A big blue arrow that will point you in the right direction.
One caveat is the inability to download city maps to use offline, however, the developers have mentioned it in their list of future updates.
Both the apps are free to download and use and there are no ads whatsoever. I would recommend you to use both the apps to get the most out of it.
WiFi Finder is another Wi-Fi hotspot finder app that will help you locate free Wi-Fi hotspots in your vicinity. It works just like any other hotspot app but without the bells and whistles. You won’t find an active community to connect with or any social media integration.
There is however a way to add new Wi-Fi networks and you can download hotspots for offline use but for an yearly fee of $4.99. You can also filter hotspots based on categories like cafeterias, malls, offices, and so on. This will help you plan your outing better.
The app is not exactly a winner when you compare it to the likes of Open Signal and WiFi Maps, but still an option if nothing else works.
Internet has become a part of our lives so much so that we can't imagine a world without it. The number of Wi-Fi hotspots are on the rise and we need an app to stay updated on their location and performance.
Are you looking for a browser-based Wi-Fi hotspot finder? Check out the link below for more details.