How to Connect Your Android Device to Wi-Fi

Use Wi-Fi on your Android to stream videos, browse the web, and more

Illustration of a person connecting to a coffee shop Wi-Fi

Lifewire / Theresa Chiechi

To use an Android device on a Wi-Fi network, connect the device to Wi-Fi. To join a wireless network, turn on Wi-Fi from the phone or tablet, select a network from a list of available ones, and then enter the password (if it needs one). The steps to connect an Android to Wi-Fi is the same no matter what network you choose. Follow these directions to connect your phone to your home Wi-Fi, the wireless network at work, or a public Wi-Fi hotspot. After you connect the phone to Wi-Fi, you can watch online movies, stream music, download apps, and more.

These steps apply equally to Android 9.0 Pie, 8.0 Oreo, and 7.0 Nougat; other Android versions might work somewhat differently. You can follow along with these steps no matter who makes your phone or tablet, whether it's Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Find the Network SSID and Password

Determine the network name (the SSID) before connecting an Android to Wi-Fi so that you know which network to choose if there are several. Also necessary is the password, if you plan to access a password-protected network. 

Wi-Fi connections on Android phone

To connect to your home network, look for the default SSID and password printed on the bottom of the router. Or, if your internet was recently set up, the modem provided by your ISP may have paperwork that includes this information.

To connect to a network that isn't yours, ask the owner for the Wi-Fi password and name.

Scan for a Wi-Fi Network

Access your Wi-Fi settings to make sure Wi-Fi is turned on and to view the available networks. To open the Wi-Fi settings, swipe down from the upper-right of the screen and tap and hold the Wi-Fi icon.

Wi-Fi icon in Quick Settings on Android

Here's another method that works for Android 9.0 Pie:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap Network & Internet.

  3. In the Network & Internet section, select Wi-Fi.

  4. Turn on the Wi-Fi toggle switch.

    Network & Internet, Wi-Fi, Toggle in Android Settings
  5. Close the Settings app.

If you don't see these menu names, the device may have Android 8.0, 7.0, or something older installed. Here's how to open the Wi-Fi settings on these devices:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap Connections or Wireless & Networks.

    On some devices, these may be headings in the general Settings app.

  3. Tap Wi-Fi to open the Wi-Fi settings.

    Some devices might call the Wi-Fi option WLAN.

  4. Under the Wi-Fi settings, turn on the Wi-Fi toggle switch.

Pick a Wi-Fi Network to Connect To

Once Wi-Fi is enabled on the Android phone or tablet, go to the Wi-Fi page to see a list of nearby networks that you can connect to. You should consider a few things before connecting to a network.

Networks with a key icon require a password. If you know the password, these are the preferred networks to use. Unsecured networks (such as those in coffee shops, hotels, and other public spaces) have no key icon. If you use one of these networks, your connection could be breached.

If you connect to an unsecured Wi-Fi network, have a firewall program installed, antivirus software active and ready to scan files, and preferably a VPN service readily available so that you can access the web while tunneled through a VPN.

Don't use an unsecured network for private browsing activities, such as accessing a bank account and logging in to your online user accounts.

The estimated signal strength is displayed next to each Wi-Fi network. The darker the icon or the more bars that display, the stronger the network signal. You may lose internet access when connected to a network with a weak signal.

  1. Tap the network you want to connect to.

  2. If the network is open, the device connects automatically. If the network is password-protected and this is the first time the device has connected to it, a dialog box prompts you for a password. Enter the password and tap Connect.

    Wi-Fi lists and Password fields on Android
  3. On the Wi-Fi screen, the chosen network appears at the top of the list and updates on the connection process appear at the bottom.

    Obtaining IP address, Connected messages on Android

    When connected, a Wi-Fi icon appears in the status bar in the upper-right corner of the screen.

  4. The network is saved to the device and the device will connect to the network without entering the password in the future.

Connect With WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup)

Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) joins a device to a secure WiFi network without entering the network name and password. This is an insecure connection method and is primarily intended for device-to-device connections, such as connecting a network printer to an Android device.

WPS setup dialog on Android

WPS is an insecure connection type that has the potential to compromise a Wi-Fi network. It should be disabled on the router. Do not use a WPS connection unless necessary.

  1. To configure the router to support WPS, press the WPS button on the router. For Apple AirPort base stations, use the AirPort Utility on your computer.

  2. On an Android device, connect using either the WPS Push or WPS PIN method, depending on the router requirements. With the PIN method, enter an eight-digit PIN to connect two devices. With the Push button method, press the button on the router when connecting. The push button method is more secure.

  3. Open the Settings app and go to the Wi-Fi settings screen.

  4. Open the advanced Wi-Fi settings. On newer Android devices, scroll to the bottom of the list of Wi-Fi networks, tap Wi-Fi Preferences, then tap Advanced. On older devices, tap the three stacked dots in the upper-right corner, then tap Advanced.

    Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi preferences, Advanced in Android settings
  5. In the Advanced settings, tap either WPS push button or WPS PIN entry, depending on the router instructions.

    WPS Push Button and WPS Pin Entry on Android
  6. Follow the instructions to connect to the router.

Check Your Wi-Fi Connection

After your Android is connected to Wi-Fi with a valid password and the device has obtained an IP address to use on the network, you can view details about the connection. This includes the signal strength, data transfer speed, frequency the connection is on, type of security, and more.

  1. Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi.

    Network & Internet, Wi-Fi gear icon, and Signal Strength indicator in Android
  2. Tap the SSID (name) of the network you're connected to.

  3. A screen appears that displays information about the Wi-Fi connection. This information includes:

    • The name of the network along with the option to Forget it and remove it from the device.
    • Signal strength.
    • Which frequency you're connected on.
    • The type of security used.

    Some versions of Android have more information. Other versions have an Advanced option that shows more connection information.

  4. Close the screen.

  5. Go to the Advanced settings to view your IP address, the address of the gateway (router) that you're connected to, and the speed of your connection. This information is useful information for networking tasks or to troubleshoot a slow Wi-Fi connection.

Get Notified About Open Wi-Fi Networks

If you're often within the range of public Wi-Fi hotspots or other networks that don't use passwords, set up your Android to automatically tell you each time there's a network available with a strong connection that doesn't need a password.

As long as Wi-Fi is turned on (even if not connected), you're notified each time your device detects the signal of an available open network.

  1. Open the Wi-Fi settings.

  2. Tap Wi-Fi preferences. On some Android devices, choose Advanced.

  3. Turn on the Open network notification or Wi-Fi notifications toggle switch.

    Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi preferences, and Open network notification toggle to ON on Android