If you absolutely need to get access to a Wi-Fi connection in a pinch and there is no publicly available Wi-Fi network in sight, you can always use your smartphone to set up a personal Wi-Fi hotspot.
This is known as tethering – basically, you are using the cell connection of your phone and turning it into a Wi-Fi connection. To do this, you would need at least a 3G connection.
How to Get Free WiFi on Cell Phone
You can use Personal Hotspots to get free WiFi on iPhone, and use Mobile Hotspots on Android to get free WiFi. Additionally, you can also use mobile app such as WiFi Map or Free WiFi to get free WiFi.
The steps required to set up a personal hotspot differ based on whether you are using an iOS or Android phone.
How to Get Free WiFi on iPhone
To set up your personal Wi-Fi hotspot using your iPhone, just follow the steps laid out by this official video from Apple:
- Tap Settings
- Then tap Personal Hotspots
- Turn on Personal Hotspots
- Tap Wi-Fi Password to create your own password
- Enter your password – it should be at least 8 characters long, and can consists of both uppercase and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation marks
- Once you have entered your password, tap Done
- And you are done! Your personal hotspot is now set up. You can access it using the password you just entered in step 5
- Now that you have set up your personal hotspot, you can reactivate it more quickly using the Control Center
- To bring up the Control Center:
- On an iPhone X or later (iPhone X, XS, XS Max, XR, 11, 11 Pro Max), swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen
- On an iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom edge of your screen
- Within the Control Center, firmly press the Network Settings card to bring it up
- Within the Network Settings card, you can quickly turn on and off your personal Wi-Fi hotspot by pressing the Personal Hotspot icon
How to Get Free WiFi on Android
To set up your personal Wi-Fi hotspot using your Android phone, just follow the steps laid out by the video below.
- Open Settings
- Tap Connections
- Select Mobile Hotspot and Tethering
- Tap Mobile Hotspot to toggle the switch to On
- Towards the bottom of your screen, you will see the name of your hotspot and the password needed to access this hotspot
Install Mobile Apps to Get Free Wifi
Sometimes you just do not want to use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. For example, you might have to limit your cellphone data usage. In this case, you can turn to a Wi-Fi app to help you out.
Basically, a Wi-Fi app is a tool that helps you find free Wi-Fi near you. It also contains the passwords needed to access those free Wi-Fi. Typically, the data in a Wi-Fi app is crowdsourced from countless people around the world. As a result, the data is being kept up to date continuously.
There are many Wi-Fi apps on the market. Here we will present the top 6 ones.
WiFi Map is a popular Wi-Fi app that works on both iOS and Android. It contains one of the largest databases on Wi-Fi – more than 100 million Wi-Fi hotspots all over the world along with their passwords. The data is crowdsourced and tested by real users and it is constantly being updated.
The app comes with very nice map navigation and a search UI to quickly help you find a hotspot near you. The whole app works offline – that means you can still find free Wi-Fi even when you do not have a cellphone reception.
Free WiFi is an Android only Wi-Fi app. It contains a database of over 60 million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide and their passwords. This app is very well designed and easy to use. Navigating the user interface is a breeze. It also contains a large number of user reviews of free Wi-Fi.
So before you spend several minutes walking to a hotspot, you can first read the reviews and decide if it is worth it. This app also works offline, so you can use it to find free Wi-Fi even if you do not have any cell reception.
Swift WiFi is another good Android only Wi-Fi app. Like other Wi-Fi apps, it offers a database of free Wi-Fi and their passwords. But more than that, it keeps track of Wi-Fi networks that are insecure and keeps you away from them.
It also monitors the speeds of free Wi-Fi to help you pick the fastest ones. The user interface is simple and intuitive, and it is available in 35 languages across 223 countries and regions. All in all, a very well designed product.
Instabridge works on both iOS and Android. It has one of the simplest designs on the market. Its crowdsourced database provides data on more than 1 million Wi-Fi and their passwords.
Instabridge is perfect for lazy people – it constantly keeps track of which Wi-Fi hotspots work and which do not, and automatically connect you to the one close to you that has the best connectivity. You do not have to lift a single finger. To keep you safe, Instabridge supports a variety of Wi-Fi security protocols including WEP, WPA, WPA2, and WPA3.
Free Wifi is an Android only Wi-Fi app that is designed to be very simple. You just download the app and it will automatically look for a free Wi-Fi hotspot close to you and connect to it on your behalf.
It will also continuously monitor and test the speeds of various Wi-Fi networks and use that data to decide which Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to first. It even keeps track of your personal speed test results to prioritize Wi-Fi hotspots that are the fastest for you personally. Overall, this is a smart and low hassle Wi-Fi app.
WiFi Finder helps you find free Wi-Fi hotspots and their associated passwords in over fifty thousand cities all over the world. It shows Wi-Fi hotspots on a map so you can easily get to them. You can also search hotspots by address, city, country, or place name.
The hotspot data and the passwords are crowdsourced from the app’s users, so they are generally up to date. WiFi Finder works even when your smartphone is offline so you can still find a Wi-Fi connection if you have no cell reception.
Other Ways to Get Free WiFi
You can also get Wifi at many public places, using portable router or search for hidden net works. In our article on how to get WiFi in public place, you will learn how to use a portable router to set up a personal hotspot and go over the best tools for sniffing out hidden WiFi.