How to view/recover saved passwords in Android phones?
Unlike a Windows PC, you can’t see saved (pre-entered) WiFi passwords in Android phones. When saved WiFi network settings are accessed, the password field either shows a series of asterisks (******) or the text “unchanged”. Here you can enter the new password but can’t see the old/saved one. Actually in Android, WiFi SSIDs and their corresponding entered passwords are saved locally (in phone memory) in a configuration file. But being a system file (in a system folder) you can’t access it without having root access. For security reasons Android system folders are hidden by default and no file manager can access them unless the phone is rooted. Irritating, isn’t it? Fortunately there is an easy way out for this situation.
If you have a rooted Android phone/tablet, it’s very easy to retrieve saved Wi-Fi password(s) – there are two methods for this
1. Via wpa_supplicant.conf file
Install a good file manager app (I recommend free Root Browser app) from Play Store and open it
Go to /data/misc/wifi – in this folder locate a file named wpa_supplicant.conf (for WPA-secured WiFi networks) or wep_supplicant.conf (for WEP-secured WiFi’s) – open this file using any text viewer – there will be some text in this file as shown below
all saved WiFi networks are listed in this file including their SSID’s and passwords and that’s what you were looking for
2. Using Free WiFi Password Recovery App
It is a useful, free (ad-supported) app which does all the above (and more) for you. Phone must be rooted to use this app – install it from Play Store and it will retrieve and show you all the saved WiFi passwords plus you can also take a backup of this data (to restore later if required). Besides there is also an option to reset WiFi settings – sometimes useful if WiFi is not working properly.
Update (2017) – Unfortunately above method(s) no longer work in most Android phones now. From KitKat onwards Android saves WiFi passwords in encrypted hash values rather than plain text (the damn security reasons again!). So in the above methods you will see a series of random alphabets and/or numbers (or a combination of both) as WiFi password (instead of the exact password as earlier). I don’t know why so much security hoopla for WiFi passwords in Android only – something which is easily accessible in Windows PC.
Fortunately you can view/recover/share saved WiFi passwords in Android phones of some companies like Xiaomi and Lenovo without even rooting them (read this post to know more).