How to Connect Your Android Device to Wi-Fi

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

What to Know

  • Android 9.0 and later: Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the Wi-Fi icon.
  • Android 8.0: Go to Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi. Under Wi-Fi settings, toggle on Wi-Fi.
  • To join a network: Tap the network you want to connect to. If it's not an open network, enter the password and tap Connect.

This article explains how to connect your Android device to a Wi-Fi network. Instructions apply to devices from any manufacturer that have Android 10, 9.0 Pie, or 8.0 Oreo, but the process for other Android versions will be similar.

Turn on Wi-Fi Networks on Android 9.0 and Up

Make sure Wi-Fi is turned on. Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the Wi-Fi icon if it's greyed out. To open the Wi-Fi settings, 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 and up:

  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.

Turn on Wi-Fi on Android 8.0

The process for enabling Wi-Fi and adjusting settings is different for Android 8.0. 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.

Connect to a Wi-Fi Network

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

Networks with a lock 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 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.

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.

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

  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 just beneath.

    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 Wi-Fi 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 is not available in Android 10; it is replaced by the more secure Wi-Fi Easy Connect.

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

Check the Quality of the 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, users can view details about the connection. This includes the signal strength, data transfer speed, frequency the connection is on, type of security, and more.

The interface will vary depending on which version of Android your phone is running.

  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 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'll be 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

Find the Network SSID and Password

Before you connect your Android device to Wi-Fi, find the network name (SSID) so you know which network to choose if there are several. You'll need the password if the network is password-protected. 

If it's your home Wi-Fi network, find the default SSID and password on the bottom of the router. If your internet connection was recently set up, the modem provided by your ISP may have paperwork with this information. To connect to a network that isn't yours, ask the owner for the name and Wi-Fi password.

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