One of the oft-overlooked automatic features in iOS 11 makes it a cinch to give access to your Wi-Fi network to a friend by making it effortless to send the network password to the connecting device over the air without revealing your actual wireless credentials.

Before iOS 11, sharing Wi-Fi passwords was insecure.

Suppose a friend came over and you wanted to give them access to your home’s Wi-Fi. You’d either give them the password (extremely risky) or type it yourself into their iPhone (clunky). It’s an admittedly tiresome process, especially if you’re among the people who find their Wi-Fi password on the back of the router because they don’t bother changing factory settings.

TUTORIAL: How to display your Wi-Fi password on macOS

If you have a capable router like Apple’s AirPort, you can also set up a limited guest network which has its own password and is walled off from your primary network. In iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, Apple’s solved these pain points in one fell swoop with a pretty cool little gem of a feature that doesn’t require you to remember complicated Wi-Fi passwords at all.

As I always feel a tinge of anxiety when someone asks to connect to my home Wi-Fi network, I was very excited when Apple introduced this tremendously time-saving capability.

Here’s how to use it…

How to share your Wi-Fi password with friends

In order for this to work, you as the network owner must ensure that your iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra device is connected to your local Wi-Fi and that the person you’re sharing passwords with is saved as a contact in your address book.

All devices involved must be on iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra and later. And lastly, if you have MAC address filtering enabled on your network (a decision you might want to reconsider given how easily MAC addresses are spoofed), this feature won’t work.

1) Be sure that your device is unlocked and connected to your local Wi-Fi network.

2) Ask your friend to select your network’s name listed under Settings → Wi-Fi on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch or in the Wi-Fi popup menu in their Mac’s menu bar.

NOTE: The person you’re sharing Wi-Fi passwords with must be in your Contacts.

3) They will see a standard prompt to enter the password for your secure Wi-Fi network. On your own device, a Wi-Fi sharing card will pop up, not unlike the AirPod pairing prompt, asking if you’d like to send the password to their device. The prompt only appears if the person is trying to connect to your primary Wi-Fi network.

4) Tap Send Password if you’d like to share access to your Wi-Fi network with the friend or the little “x” in the card’s top-right corner to dismiss the prompt without approving the request.

Your encrypted Wi-Fi password will be sent securely over the air to the connecting device and automatically populated without either of you having to type a single character.

5) Tap Done to dismiss the card.

Your friend can now access your Wi-Fi network as they normally would.

As long as they don’t manually forget the network, they too are now able to approve Wi-Fi requests from their device (provided it’s in Wi-Fi range).

TIP: You can even automatically log your friend in to your Wi-Fi from a computer. All they need to do is bring their device near your Mac and choose your Wi-Fi network. A notification will appear on your Mac asking if you’re sure you’d like to share your Wi-Fi information.

Click Share to send the password to the connecting device or Decline to cancel the request.

And there you have it, boys and girls!

Giving friends access to your Wi-Fi networks in a secure manner has never been easier: they simply bring their device near any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac that’s on your network and has them in Contacts—it just works.

How secure is this feature?

For starters, Wi-Fi passwords are sent over the air securely, in an encrypted form (256-bit AES encryption is used for the password handshaking procedure).

But what if the receiving device has iCloud Keychain enabled, which syncs passwords seamlessly across devices? That would make it all too easy for your friend to launch the iCloud Keychain app on their Mac and reveal your network password they have saved, no?

Apple, in all its wisdom, has thought about that scenario, too!

Although your Wi-Fi credentials are indeed saved to the receiving device and synced through iCloud Keychain with your friend’s other devices, the password is hashed—ticking the Show Password box in the Keychain Access app won’t show it in clear text.

TUTORIAL: How to set up iCloud Keychain

That should give a piece of mind to folks who reuse Wi-Fi passwords, which is a terrible habit from a security standpoint. Your Wi-Fi network should use at least WPA2 protection and a high-entropy password that doesn’t get written down and is not reused for anything else.

PRO TIP: you can also scan a QR Code on the back of your router with the stock Camera app.

Better yet, visit qifi.org and create a QR Code for your Wi-Fi network, then post in in your house so any iOS 11 visitor is able to scan it with the camera and automatically join the network.

Need help? Ask iDB!

If you like this how-to, pass it along to your support folks and leave a comment below.

Got stuck? Not sure how to do certain things on your Apple device? Let us know via help@iDownloadBlog.com and a future tutorial might provide a solution.

Submit your how-to suggestions via tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

  • Siri Tim Cook Holness

    Fake 1 of the pics says iPod and outside of the screen is like an iPhone 5s or something

    • Talk to the LongScreen app developer, it’s a “feature”…

    • In case you didn’t realize… Taking a screenshot can’t magically capture the outside of the device too. My guess is that someone just put the screenshot into a photoshop template and got the housing wrong. Doesn’t mean the feature is faked…

  • askep3

    This feature is so nice, it’s especially great at parties where you’re bound to get the wifi from somebody using their iPhones

  • czbird

    How about making an article about how one can easily copy a part of text or a number (not a phone number, and no – the automatically underscored one is not the one I need) from a received text message? iOS is focusing on nuances that majority will never use instead of fixing common issues… meh

  • nonchalont

    This only works ios11 to ios11? I can’t do this with my android buds can I? ….I might need to find new friends ?

    • Correct. It only works with iOS 11.

      I don’t think this is reason enough to find new friends though.

  • Rodney Coleman

    It works. Did this a few weeks ago. Even with Apple products it’ll pick up on any iPhone.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ca7e5154bc8cb2dbdc57592b8a972bd6ad6c8c8fb40526f96f7601900eaee672.png

    My wife and I got this notification on our phones once we powered the Apple Watch

  • LOL, for a moment I thought I was having Deja vu until I realized that you guys reported on this back in June as well. Glad to see there was some more info in this round.

  • malthalus

    Fake 1 of the pics says iPod and outside of the screen is like an iPhone 5s or something

  • The Bad Guy

    Fake 1 of the pics says iPod and outside of the screen is like an iPhone 5s or something

  • This is really cool!

  • marybold

    I have used that feature, it’s a nice one

  • JY

    Even though the password is hashed, you can still input those 64 characters and connect to the wifi. The router will understand that you are inputting the password in hex mode and translate it for you.