26
Jun
RcAxqAXcL

Update: As many of you have pointed out, this feature isn't new for everyone. What is new is the checkbox you're seeing below, which was not previously a part of the sign-in process. The checkbox, now decoupled from the global "restore all the things" setting, lets you get back just the Wi-Fi passwords but not apps and settings, or the other way around (which isn't nearly as useful).

While it's not exactly aggravating, per se, having to enter your Wi-Fi password every time you get a new phone or tablet (or reset your current one) is something that doesn't exactly feel like living in the future. To that end, the Android "L" release finally does what we've all sort of wanted our phones to do for a while now: when you sign in for the first time, all your saved Wi-Fi networks and passwords are restored.

Screenshot_2014-06-26-16-30-07

Obviously this isn't going to be as much help for Wi-Fi tablets, since you'll still have to make that initial connection in order to sign into your account in the first place, but the rest of your saved networks will sync once you've done that, so it still has value.

Just another one of the little but awesome tweaks we're finding in the newest version of Android.

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    So much yes.

  • Pootis Man

    Finally!

  • Greg Hockenjos

    Not sure if it's not working then. I had to enter both my work password, then my home network password. It remembered nothing!

  • adeligen

    I swear this has been a feature since 2.X. I never have to re-enter wifi passwords.

    • Matt

      I didn't for any device until I got my Nexus 5. Re-signing in on that *never* restores wifi passwords, but the Nexus 7 (2013) restores them no worries.

      • psychoace

        How can the Nexus 7 restore them when you need to login to your wifi first before logging into your account.

        • https://plus.google.com/+MichaelBond codemonkey85

          LTE?

        • randompsychology

          Cyanogenmod (and forks) does this (and has for many versions), but stock Android does not. That's usually the confusion.

          • moelsen8

            Not for me. This has worked at least as far back as the Verizon gnex for me and further i think. I've had a bunch of different devices from different OEMS since and always roll stock for a while at least. For instance, I have a hotel wifi network that keeps getting restored from a vacation I took in early 2011.

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          • Teodor Axel Johan Jönsson

            My stock Android has restored Wi-Fi passwords when I log in to Google Account on first start

        • Simon Belmont

          Hmm. Probably meant a list of Wi-Fi credentials, not just a single one.

          He'd have to supply ONE Wi-Fi credential to get network connectivity first. But, then the rest of his saved Wi-Fi credentials would be restored after syncing.

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        5 has always worked flawlessly for me. Odd.

    • Mayoo

      This was the case in my GNex from NS and N5 from Gnex. Also when I signed in my N10.

    • Simon Belmont

      Yup. I'm pretty sure this is a Froyo feature.

      I've had my passwords restored for generations of Android devices. Fun stuff.

  • moelsen8

    Am I missing something? Mine have all been syncing for a very long time. Across tons of different devices..

    • KERR

      Seems to be hit and miss for me. Even with the settings available and enabled.

  • ianjo

    Had this for ages with Titanium, but I'll be glad to see the day where Titanium is no longer needed for anything :)

  • mizkitty

    Finally...the NSA has access to all my Wi-Fi passwords...

    • Moose

      If sure if the NSA wanted your WiFi password, they could have gotten it a long time ago buddy.

      • dude

        Disagree, actually they do want it, and they have it stored already. There's a difference.

  • DanieleMnn

    WOW! That's the greatest feature of L! I flash often and I have a 20 character wifi password and this makes it so much faster to start with a new rom.

  • joser116

    I think they just redid the interface and wording, but I've had this for a long time on all Androids I've had, including the Kyocera Hydro, a stock ICS old low end phone. It's an option after you reset the device to restore previous settings.

  • rmkilc

    This is huge. It's a pain to type in 10 super long wifi passwords every time I play with a new device.

  • Gregor Smith

    Pretty sure this has been around for ages, but my GPE phone and Nexus tablet don't share that info, they each have their own list that gets restored

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Ah, so that might be the difference. Per-device Wi-Fi password restores vs per-Google-account? That's so stupid if true. I just want all of my devices to share all Wi-Fi passwords I use.

      • Sir_Brizz

        All of mine used to share, but when I logged into my Nexus 5 for the first time, they didn't restore. It sucked.

  • Matthew

    Finally!

  • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

    I'm with the guys who don't get it. I've always had this.

  • Andre

    It's always worked for me...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Please see the update.

  • brkshr

    If you selected auto-restore before, then this feature worked. They basically took just this part out of the auto-restore, which I personally prefer. This is the only thing I want auto-restored.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, if you look at it that way where you only want to restore passwords but nothing else (as opposed to not restoring passwords but restoring everything else), it's actually a thing we can now do.

      • Alvin Brinson

        Ahh, then that's what I want. I don't like my phone installing forty bajillion apps from the previous install. If I want that, I've got TiBu and can do it on my own time rather than leaving the phone sitting for three hours doing installs.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Alright, so I've played around with this stuff, and here's what I found.

    1. The Wi-Fi restore setting checkbox is new. It lets you skip restoring Wi-Fi passwords while still restore apps and system settings. Here's the same screen in 4.4.X: http://i.imgur.com/CQck3z0.png.

    2. Apparently, Wi-Fi passwords are restored only for same-device resets and not across devices using the same Google account. So the Nexus 5 we tested restored its earlier Wi-Fi password backup, but a newly added device wouldn't restore anything.

    3. I think it should keep and restore a master list of Wi-Fi passwords rather than per-device ones. That would be cool, but alas, it's not the case.

    Bummer, and sorry to mislead you guys. Some stuff was indeed new, but not as much as it seemed at first. Heck, the restore process is a complete mess and black box if you ask me. There's a lot of room for improvement there - you never know what is going to restore, when, and how complete it is.

    • moelsen8

      I dunno Artem. I'd say #2 is wrong too. I mentioned below that I have a WiFi network from a hotel I was at on vacation in 2011 that keeps restoring. It was when I logged in with a different primary gmail account, too, on top of being a bunch of devices ago.

      I think the only thing we can all agree on is that googles backup/restore functionality is hit or miss, at best. They really should have some kind of dashboard for all of this.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I just did a test and factory reset my Nexus 7 before I wrote the comment. It ended up restoring the same subset of Wi-Fi networks it had before the reset, but it wasn't the same as the Nexus 5's list.

        • moelsen8

          There must be something else at work. Mine functions like what you want in #3.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Mine has never done that. Any time I set up a new device, I always lose my master list. Right now, all the devices I have with me only have 2-3 networks remembered, out of dozens I've used in the past.

          • moelsen8

            For instance, I count 16 saved wifi networks on my Moto X. I just updated it to 4.4.3 last week (on stock now with xposed) and factory reset in the process, so this is starting out after having put in my home wifi password only and letting it restore from my google account. the "PalaceGuestRooms" network is from when I stayed at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in Spring 2011. That was like 10-20 devices ago, and keeps getting restored to every device i sign into since. Not trying to be argumentative, just point out that this seems to be working for me and others..

    • Alvin Brinson

      Well, what I really want is the OPPOSITE. I'd like the ability to restore WiFi/Settings WITHOUT restoring a billion apps at the same time. I don't want my phone sitting there on first boot installing apps for three hours, but that's what you get if you tell it to restore. If you tell it NO, because you don't want it to install forty bajillion apps, then you don't get your wifi passwords back.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        But now in L it's actually possible.

  • Deeco

    So they found a loophole of obtaining our WiFi passwords by opting in ourselves.

    • Simon Belmont

      They've been storing our Wi-Fi passwords for years, dude. There's been a setting for it for a long time.

      This just explicitly shows that it's being restored with a checkbox. Not a bad thing.

  • Niveus

    Finally.. restoring worked actually good automatically but just when it wanted to...

  • Brian

    I just read through some of the comments. I think you guys miss the point. Now you can have it ONLY restore your WiFi settings, which is a good to do, and not restore your apps, which is dumb beyond belief. ("Yes, Google, please install every app I have ever installed since 2009, on this new ROM I installed." You either do this all the time because you crack flash ROMs, and are therefore a power user with 100s and 100s of apps you never use, or you get a new phone once every two years...and then it is something you may use ONCE EVERY TWO YEARS.) I was thrilled to see them make restore an option.

  • vonleh

    This feature has never worked for me. :(

    • Android Developer

      me too.
      I also wished I could choose that it will backup app's settings.
      I know it's up to the developers to add backup features to their app, but it's a very cool thing to have.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    Ah the WiFi passwords thing :/
    Right up to some version of Jellybean - this used to work flawlessly for me, but sometime after that it stopped - it will restore all my previous WiFi networks but it appears that it does not backup any NEW networks from that point. I'm hoping that Android "L" fixes this issue (although it's possible 4.4.3 might have fixed it)

  • Steve Freeman

    "The checkbox, now decoupled from the global "restore all the things" setting, lets you get back just the Wi-Fi passwords but not apps and settings, or the other way around (which isn't nearly as useful)."

    I completely disagree, at least for those of us who use apps like TiBu to restore apps after flashing a new ROM. Having to manually re-connect to WiFi points, while it doesn't take very long, is still annoying. And since I don't want my phone downloading 200-300 MB's of apps every time I flash a ROM, I've always unchecked the "restore apps" option. So I always have to re-connect to WiFi points manually. This feature will be awesome for us.

  • someone755

    But you'd have to use your mobile network to sign in. Which I, like many others, cannot do. So it's useless except for all the people that have both a stable and plentiful data plan.