How to Retrieve a WiFi Password

Introduction

Wi-Fi passwords can be difficult to remember, especially when your devices have been successfully connected for a very long time. If you've forgotten your Wi-Fi password and need to connect a new device, or reconnect an existing device, this guide will take you through ways to retrieve the credentials you need.

Sometimes routers have their Wi-Fi passwords stored on a sticker. Other times, computers or devices that were previously connected to your Wi-Fi network can allow you to retrieve the Wi-Fi password from them. In some cases, you can even access your router's web interface to retrieve the information you need.

Wi-Fi credentials being entered on Android.

? Try the following methods to retrieve your Wi-Fi password:

  1. Look for default password on router sticker
  2. Retrieve from previously connected Windows computer
  3. Retrieve from previously connected Mac computer
  4. Retrieve from router web interface

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Wi-Fi passwords can be difficult to remember, especially when your devices have been successfully connected for a very long time. If you've forgotten your Wi-Fi password and need to connect a new device, or reconnect an existing device, this guide will take you through ways to retrieve the credentials you need.

Sometimes routers have their Wi-Fi passwords stored on a sticker. Other times, computers or devices that were previously connected to your Wi-Fi network can allow you to retrieve the Wi-Fi password from them. In some cases, you can even access your router's web interface to retrieve the information you need.

Wi-Fi credentials being entered on Android.

In order to connect to a wireless network, you must have the required credentials. These are:
  • Wireless Network Name (SSID)
  • Wireless Network Key (Password)

Finding Network Credentials

Most wireless routers/gateways have a label with the default credentials. If the credentials aren't there, check the documentation that came with your device.
Default Wi-Fi credentials highlighted on router/gateway sticker.

If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) installed the wireless router or gateway, they might have left you a setup sheet which may have the credentials.

You need to be logged on as an administrator and you have to be connected to a Wi-Fi network in order to retrieve its password.

  1. Click or tap the Wi-Fi icon in the system tray area, at the bottom right corner of the screen, then go to Network & Internet Settings.
    Wi-Fi tray icon highlighted and Network and Internet Settings option highlighted in the Wi-Fi menu.
  2. Go to Network and Sharing Center. You may need to scroll down or look to the right to find it.
    Network and Sharing Center option highlighted in Settings.
  3. Click or tap on the Wi-Fi connection.
    The Wi-Fi connection is highlighted in Network and Sharing Center.
  4. Click or tap on Wireless Properties.
    Wireless Properties button highlighted on Wi-Fi status pop-up.
  5. Go to the Security tab and you'll find the Wi-Fi password in the Network security key field.
    Security tab, Network security key field highlighted and Show characters box pointed out on Wireless Properties pop-up.
  6. Put a checkmark in the Show characters box to reveal the Wi-Fi password.

You need to be logged on as an administrator in order to retrieve Wi-Fi password.

  1. Launch Finder.
    Finder on macOS.
  2. Select Go from the menu then Utilities.
    Utilities option highlighted in Go menu of Finder.
  3. Open Keychain Access.
    Keychain Access highlighted in Utilities.
  4. Select the Passwords category on the lower left.
    Passwords category highlighted in Keychain Access.
  5. You can scroll down through the list to look for the Wi-Fi network name or you can type in the search field at the top right.
    Search field highlighted in Keychain Access.
  6. Once you found it, double click on it.
  7. You will get a pop-up showing the Wi-Fi connections details. Put a checkmark in front of Show password to reveal the Wi-Fi password.
    Show password box pointed out on Keychain Access entry pop-up.
  8. After that type in the administrator user name and password.
    Pop-up requesting user to type in credentials.

To access any router's web-based administrative interface, you need to have a device connected to the router in question. This can be a connection via Wi-Fi, or via a direct ethernet connection to the back of the router itself. Computers that are typically only used wirelessly can normally be plugged directly into your router temporarily, provided that your machine came equipped with an ethernet port. Once you have a device that is connected to your router, we can determine how to log in and attempt to retrieve the Wi-Fi credentials we need.

In order to provide you with the most specific steps, please specify the type of device you are currently using.

To get your router's IP address:
  1. Tap Settings.
    Android Settings icon.
  2. Tap Connections.
  3. Tap Wi-Fi.
    Android settings with connections highlighted.
  4. Tap your network - It should indicate Connected.
  5. Take note of the value under or next to Manage Router.

It should be a string of numbers separated by 3 periods, E.g. 192.168.1.1

Now that you know your router's IP address, you can attempt to access the web interface.

To access the router's web interface

  1. Open a web browser of your choice.
  2. Type the Default Gateway you noted in the previous step into the address bar and hit Enter on your keyboard.
  3. Login using your router's username and password.
    A chrome web page showing the router address 192.168.1.254 and the router log in.

If you do not know the username and password for your router's web interface, chances are it is still set to the default. In most cases the default credentials are listed on a sticker on the back or bottom of the router. If they are not, consult your router's user manual, search on the support site or contact the manufacturer.

Your router's interface will vary depending on the make and model, but this general process should be the same on most routers.

  1. Locate and click on the option/menu that says Wireless (Wi-Fi). From here, you may need to go to another submenu such as Wireless Settings or Wireless Security.
    A router web menu showing Wireless Security.
  2. The Wireless (Wi-Fi) password may have other names, such as passphrase, network key, security key, pre-shared key, but they all mean same the same thing.
    A router web menu showing the Wi-Fi password.

To get your router's IP address

  1. Tap Settings.
    iOS Settings icon.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi.
    Settings page with Wi-Fi menu item highlighted
  3. Find your network - It should indicate Connected by a check mark.
    iOS network Wi-Fi settings showing network highlighted.
  4. Tap the Info icon to the right of your network's name.
    iOS wi-fi settings showing wi-fi network and info icon highlighted.
  5. Take note of the value next to Router.
    iOS network information showing the router highlighted.

The IP address will be a string of numbers separated by 3 periods, E.g. 192.168.1.1

To get your router's IP address

  1. On your keyboard, simultaneously press the Windows key and R to bring up the Run Window.
    A keyboard showing the windows key and r key highlighted.
  2. In the Run window type: cmd and click OK or hit Enter on your keyboard.
    A windows 10 run box with cmd.
  3. In the Command Prompt window type:
    ipconfig
  4. Hit Enter on your keyboard.
  5. In the ipconfig results, look for the value next to Default Gateway.
    A windows 10 command prompt showing the ipconfig command and default gateway highlighted.
  6. Take note of the Default Gateway.

It should be a string of numbers separated by 3 periods, E.g. 192.168.1.1

To get your router's IP address

  1. Click the Apple logo in the upper left corner of your desktop.
  2. Click System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences selected. Screenshot.
  3. Click Network.
    Apple system preferences with network highlighted.
  4. In the left pane, select the network with the green status indicating Connected.
  5. Take note of the value next to Router.
    Apple Network settings showing the connected ethernet selected and the router ip address.

It should be a string of numbers separated by 3 periods, E.g. 192.168.1.1

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