What’s the password to your Wi-Fi network, anyway? Whether you’ve changed the default password or not, it’s simple to find it. You can look up any Wi-Fi network password if you’ve previously connected to that network from a Windows PC or Mac.
Modern Wi-Fi routers — and the combined router/modem units offered by many Internet service providers — come with a default Wi-Fi network name and pass phrase. Each router has its own default pass phrase, and they’re random.
To find the default passphrase, just find your Wi-Fi router and examine it. You should see a sticker somewhere on it that contains both the “SSID” — the wireless network name — and the pass phrase. If you haven’t changed the default pass phrase yet, you can connect use that pass phrase to connect.
If you don’t see a default passphrase printed on the router itself, try looking at the documentation that came with the router for more information. You may be using an older model of router that used the same passphrase on all routers, or one that included an open Wi-Fi network. If you can’t find the router’s documentation, perform a web search for the model number online.
If the router is using an open Wi-fi network or a default password that’s the same across every router with that model number, you should change it.
Find the Passphrase on Windows
If you’ve connected to the Wi-Fi network from a Windows laptop or desktop PC, Windows will remember that Wi-Fi network’s password. You can look up the Wi-Fi pass phrase on any Windows computer that’s currently connected to — or has previously connected to — that Wi-Fi network.
To look up a Wi-Fi network password on Windows, open the Control Panel and click “View network status and tasks” under Network and Internet.
(On Windows 10 and 8.1, you can right-click the Start button and select “Control Panel” to quickly open the Control Panel.)
Click the name of the current Wi-Fi connection to the right of “Connections”. (If you need to look up a previous Wi-Fi network’s password, click the “Change adapter settings” link at the left side of the window instead. Right-click a network name and select “Status.”)
Click the “Wireless Properties” button in the Wi-Fi Status window that appears.
Click the “Security” tab and activate the “Show characters” checkbox to view the hidden password.
Find the Password on a Mac
If you have a Mac that’s currently connected to the Wi-Fi network or previously connected to it, you can also look up the password on that Mac. Both Windows and Mac allow you to view this information — mobile devices like Android smartphones and Apple’s iPhone and iPads don’t allow you to view Wi-Fi network passwords, however.
To find the Wi-Fi password on your Mac, press Command+Space to open the Spotlight search dialog, type “Key chain Access” without the quotes, and press Enter to launch the Key chain Access app.
Locate the name of your Wi-Fi network in the list, click it, and then click the “info” button — it looks like an “i” — at the bottom of the window.
Click the “Show Password” checkbox in the window that appears. You’ll have to enter your username and password to gain access to the password. You’ll need an administrator account for this. Assuming your Mac account is an administrator account, just type your account’s username and password.
After you do, your Mac will show you the Wi-Fi network’s pass phrase.
Find the Passphrase in the Router’s Web Interface:
If you have access to the router’s web interface, you can also attempt to look it up there. This assumes that the router is either using its default username and password so you can log in, or that you know the current username and password for the router.
Accessing your router’s web interface and sign in with the current username and password your router requires. Look through the router’s interface for a “Wi-Fi” or similarly labelled section. You’ll see the current Wi-Fi passphrase displayed on this screen, and you can also choose to change it to anything you want from here.
Reset Your Router to Its Default Wi-Fi Password:
Can’t find your Wi-Fi network’s password and don’t have access to your router’s web interface — or just don’t want to bother? Don’t worry. You can reset your router and force it to use the default Wi-Fi passphrase printed on the router once again.
Look for a small “reset” button on the router. It’s often a pinhole button you’ll have to press with a bent paperclip or a similarly small object. Press the button down for ten seconds or so and your router’s settings will be completely erased and reset to their defaults. The Wi-Fi network name and password will be restored to the default ones on the router.
Not sure what your router’s Wi-Fi network name — or SSID — is? Just look at the Wi-Fi settings on any device connected to the Wi-Fi network and you’ll see the network name. If no devices are connected yet, you should see this information printed on the router itself or in the router’s documentation.