When we connect a device to a secure Wi-Fi connection for the very first time, it asks for the WPA/WEP key/password. Once we enter the correct password the device is connected to the network and the Wi-Fi network is saved to the device. Usually the password is required only once, until we manually select the “Forget network” option or format/reset the device. By default the entered WiFi password is saved to the device memory so that we don’t have to enter it every time this saved connection is used.
How to view saved Wi-Fi passwords in Windows?
It is very easy to view stored Wi-Fi passwords for the known connection(s) in Windows OS (go to Network and Sharing Center – the connected network will be shown with name under “Active networks” – click Wi-Fi name – a “Wi-Fi Status” window will open – Click “Wireless Properties” – another Window “Wireless Network Properties” will open – go to “Security” tab – click “Show characters” under “Network security key” – the saved password will show up).
However it is not that easy in case of smart phones. For obvious security reasons developers have restricted access to Wi-Fi keys in phones. Root access is required to view saved WiFi passwords in Android devices. Rooting has it’s disadvantages (Warranty issues etc) and most phone users are not well versed with it’s technical tid-bits. So there is no way to find saved Wi-Fi password(s) in Android unless the phone is rooted. Right? Well yes and no. The answer is yes for most phones except Lenovo and Xiaomi devices (and may be some others which we have not tried).
View/share saved WiFi passwords in Xiaomi and Lenovo phones without rooting
In Xiaomi and Lenovo phones there is an option to share saved Wi-Fi connections (access points) with other devices via QR codes. The generated QR codes can be scanned and decoded by other phones with the help of any QR/Bar code scanner app. These QR codes contains all information about Wi-Fi access points (SSID, security type, key/password). The scanning phone can connect to this Wi-Fi network right away. Here is how you can see the saved Wi-Fi passwords via QR codes in such phones –
1. In Xiaomi devices
Turn WiFi On
Connect the phone with the desired Wi-Fi network
Now go to the “Settings – Wi-Fi”
Tap at the connected network name (there is a “Tap to share password” option)
A “Share Wi-Fi network” with a QR Code will popup
Now you have to scan this QR code with another phone – to do this a QR code scanner app is required – there are many free Barcode/QR code scanner apps available at the Google Play Store – for example we have used “QR & Barcode Scanner” for this purpose
Launch the app and scan the QR code – it will instantly decode the WiFi network and will offer “Connect” and “Share” options
You can connect to the network right away or Share it with other phones via any available sharing option
But the WiFi network password will not be visible still; to get the password go to “Menu – History” in the QR & Barcode Scanner app – here you will see the list of previously scanned codes including the WiFi access point you just scanned
Password will be there along with other details of WiFi network (as shown in the screen-shot below)
2. In Lenovo phones
In Lenovo Android phones the basic process remains the same as described above. But there are some differences too – In Xiaomi phones you can share only that WiFi network with which the phone is connected. But in Lenovo phones you can share any previously saved WiFi network (connection to that network is not required at the time of sharing).
Besides the WiFi sharing option is also placed differently.
So here is what you have to do to share WiFi network via QR code in Lenovo phones –
Go to “Settings – WLAN”
Turn On WLAN (if it is OFF)
A list of available networks will appear
If the intended network is not in the list then Go to Menu – Saved networks
Tap at the network you want to share – a window with network details will pop up
An option “Share this network with friend” will also be there at this window
Tap at this option – another window with QR code will pop up
Rest of the process is same as described above in case of Xiaomi phones
What do you think about this feature? Should not it be a regular function in all Android devices? Do share your views via comments. Also tell us if this feature is present in any other phone I missed here.