You know the scenario: friends come over, want to use your Wi-Fi, and expect you to just hand over the password. I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty weird about just giving my password to everyone who walks through the door, regardless of how well I know them. Most of time I opt to type my password in for them, but there is an easier way: store your Wi-Fi info on an NFC tag. Then all it takes is one tap (assuming their phone has NFC, of course).

Screenshot_2014-06-27-10-07-15 Screenshot_2014-06-27-10-21-42 Screenshot_2014-06-27-10-22-07

In current versions of Android, however, that requires a bit of extra work with third-party apps and whatnot. In L, there's an option to do it directly from the Wi-Fi settings menu, as shown above. Just long-press on the network, select the "write to NFC tag" option, fill in the password, and write away. Now all your visitors with NFC-capable phones can simply tap the tag to join the Wi-Fi network. Easy peasy.

Thanks, Ramit Suri!

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • fsdgasdg

    so many features,

  • MarkG54321
    • PhineasJW

      Yes, this was accomplished with 3rd party apps previously. The point is that now it's baked into stock Android.

  • wideopn11

    Now this^ is a really useful feature.

  • Robert Macri

    Just another reason to hate iphone users...

    • KroonBerg

      What are you talking about? This has NOTHING to do with iPhone users or even iOS.

      • Robert Macri

        Iphone User: Can I have your wifi password?
        Me: Sure just use that NFC tag.
        Iphone user: Whats that?

        • KroonBerg

          So naturally you hate them?`Grow up.

        • Danny Holyoake

          When you are at the point in your life where you are actively judging people based on what phone, console or pc they use; seek medical help.

          • Dani

            When you are at the point in your life where you are actively judging people based on what phone, console or pc they hate; seek medical help.

          • Franz
          • brkshr

            They're ifanboys over there. I like how they state "neither Google nor apple seems interested in connecting their respective walled gardens", which is an outright lie!

            Most of Google's services/apps are available on iOS. Not a damn thing from iOS/apple is available for Android.

          • Robert Macri

            Dude, Lighten up.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

        I think he's saying that if your guests are iphone users, they can't use this functionality.

        • Luxferro

          Give Apple 2-3 more years. They haven't invented it yet.

          • turdbogls

            they'll come up with a new way to do this, "iFC" or some BS like that, and it will explode and all of us on NFC will be pissed, eventually, everything will go to the apple standard.

  • h4rr4r

    You would still be giving them the password.
    Once the phone reads it from NFC they have it.

    Setup Radius and give them their own accounts you can disable.

    • n0th1ng_r3al

      They won't be able to copy the password or send it to anyone I believe.

      • h4rr4r
        • n0th1ng_r3al

          The average user won't have root.

          • h4rr4r

            For all you know their coworker is tampering with their phone when they go for a bathroom break.

      • Robert Johnson

        A popular app called FreeZone shares the WiFi passwords you have with everyone and signs you in to hotspots automatically with all the other shared passwords.

        Once you give up your password with NFC, QR, verbally, whatever, you are giving your password to the world.

    • Robert Macri

      I have a router that allows a guest network... I only turn it on if I have a bunch of people coming over and I change the password each time. Close family and close friends I type the password in for them and let them connect whenever.

  • Chemiclus

    To currently be done, let's say I have an NFC tag by Sony, would all of my friends who tapped there phone to sign into my network have to get an app to communicate wiitht hat tag or is it as simple as just tapping and go.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Tap and go.

    • Ambroos

      Just tap and go. But, the SmartTags Sony uses aren't writeable. They sort of contain their own data system that just links to the Smart Connect app.

      • Clarence Alvarado

        Hopefully Sony will include this in the L update, together with the Smart Connect app to allow writing Wi-Fi data to the NFC SmartTags.

  • c00ller

    Except hardly anyone keeps NFC on. They think it wastes battery. And then you get to the awkward decision of convincing them to turn it on or just telling them the password.

    • ebles

      NFC is always on with Nexus devices and doesn't need to be enabled.

      • c00ller

        Except hardly anyone owns a Nexus device. (I'm talking about the whole Android user population. FWIW, I have a Nexus 4)

        • si3ge

          then just tell them to have fun using their dataplan. or get a router that supports a guest network with a password youre comfortable giving out. I'd rather have this feature than not... why knock it just cause not EVERYONE has the hardware to support it yet?

          • c00ller

            I think you're confused; the only hardware your guests need is NFC, which almost every Android device has these days. It's just most people don't leave this enabled. Not really knocking it, just criticizing that the actual use case may be harder to come by than you think.

          • osi

            I agree with you on the fact that most people turn it off. However, it's usually faster to just turn it on, then use it, than to type a wifi password.

          • Cory S

            Not really. First you have to explain to them what NFC is, try to walk therm through turning it on, giving up doing it yourself, then tapping it. Or...type in the password.

            Most my friends have iPhones anyway :/

          • lynx

            Apple devices are not allowed on my network anyway, so that problem solves itself.

          • Matt

            You don't really have to explain what NFC is, it is on out of the box on all smartphones that have it. So if they don't know what it is, odds are they never turned it off so you just have to tell them to tap the tag and watch how confused they get when it works.

            Now with your iPhone problem. Well, we won't go there! haha

          • Cory S

            I know my father in laws galaxy s34 had it turned off when I tried to beam him a picture.

          • Matt

            Android beam is turned off by default which is what you need to do pictures. For an NFC tag Android Beam is not required to be on. If NFC was turned off completely maybe he was at the cell phone shop and complained of battery life, I know the first thing they do is turn off stuff like that.

      • Franz

        I think he means that many people with Nexus devices turns them off even though it ships with the setting turned on.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        You sure you aren't confusing Android Beam with NFC?

      • Simon Belmont

        Yeah, it's on by default. You can turn it off, though.

        I just leave it on. It's not a waste of battery or anything.

        • pallzoltan

          I always keep it on tho i need we used it. The impact on the battery is probably not even with mentioning.

      • MikeOxlong

        Wut? Its on or off as a menu item, like any other phone.

      • HolyFreakingCrap

        NFC is not always on with Nexus devices, you can toggle it just like everything else.

      • B

        NFC rules. I can join my nexus 5 to a wireless speaker by just rubbing them together. It feels soon much better than fiddling around with bluetooth pairing, yuck. This is the way. Tech needs to be easy, like so my mum can deal with it.

      • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

        It's on by default, and most Nexus user don't turn it off because there's not an ugly icon showing up in the notification bar.

    • Minhaj Tahsin Ahmed

      NFC merely wastes battery. Do tell them to research.

    • Primey_

      NFC does not waste battery.

      • Cory S

        That's why he said "They think"

    • Tyler

      I only keep NFC off because Samsung feels the need to add an annoying icon to the notification bar to remind me its on. I'd rather turn it on when I use it (rarely) than have to deal with a big N on my notification bar all the time.

      • c00ller

        Ah yes, HTC does that too. It's hideous.

      • Android Developer

        I thought Samsung doesn't do this, while LG does it instead.
        What a waste of screen space

    • alex0000000001

      And you're hoping they don't use a phone/app that lets you see the password (once you've entered it).

    • yaryar

      Bit late to the party, but only thing that caused me to turn NFC off was that annoying sound anytime I brought my phone near my wallet >.> stupid NFC enabled cards that I never use, but cannot opt out of.

  • Jeremiah Megel

    Won't they still be able to look up the password afterwards if they're savvy enough? I have an app called WiFi Key Recovery to look up saved WiFi passwords. (It requires root, of course.) And couldn't they also just go home, use the same process to write the WiFi password to another NFC tag, and then read the raw data from the tag to find the WiFi password?

    • Fexlom

      Yes, you could do that. I believe you need the WiFi password to write the tag though - look at the second screenshot in the article.

      • Jeremiah Megel

        Oh, good point. I don't think anything's stopping you from simply cloning it like any other NFC tag, though.

    • frhow

      Lol if they want to go through all of that just to get a WIFI password... I change my password almost twice a month anyways though.

    • Ambroos

      Or they could just use TagInfo from NXP (see Play Store) and read the RAW data anyway. Password is probably visible in plain text. NFC isn't meant to be secure, it's meant to be convenient.

  • Simon Grundfør Andersen

    Is there expanded audio options, so you can change ringtone volume, media volume and the volume for your alarms from the same overlay panel? :)

  • Nathan Borup

    Just pulls up a blank screen on my nexus 7 :(

    • CB

      Does your keyboard show up with the blank popup? If so type your wifi password and press the checkmark. It still works you just can't see the password field. Make sure you have an NFC tag under your device and you should be good to go :)

      • Nathan Borup

        Cool, thanks. I'll give it a try

    • Guest

      It won't work if you don't have Android L.

      • Nathan Borup

        I know that... I have L on my tablet

  • Rick Fisher

    hmm.. You know what would be neat? tap to send wifi info. Is that a thing? My password is difficult to remember and long. If a friend wants access to my wifi it'd be much easier for me to tap their phone with mine to give them access rather than go hunt down wherever I wrote down the key.

    • Anthony Gonsalves

      Uh, that's why you make them tap their phone with the NFC tag..

      • tlingitsoldier

        I think he's talking about doing this directly from the phone so you don't have to have it written to a tag, and can just share it on the fly. I think it's a neat, though very niche, idea. I'm not aware of any apps that are capable of this. But to be honest, even apps that already write to NFC tags, like InstaWifi, are a pain because the person needs the app to make it work. I imagine doing this directly from phone to phone would be just as bad.

  • Steve P

    This is a neat feature but only for niche users like the people on this website. I use a QR code for the same purpose and it works on all devices I've tried so far (android, iOS, Windows)


    • Andrew

      iOS lets a scanned QR code login to a password protected network?

    • DanSan

      do you have any idea at the resolution of the QR codes it creates? I've been planning on putting a combo of QR codes and NFC tags around my apartment to trigger certain events and setups. Have some gadgets around the house Ive been setting up along with tasker profiles to get things going. was thinking of making the QR code, and then printing it out on sticker paper.

  • Romario Maxwell

    Awesome. Was just doing research on this literally a few days ago.

  • br_hermon

    This is ok but I'd much rather see them do more with built in OS level Wifi Direct functionality.

  • Martin Holla

    Why did that take so long? That should have been implemented with the first NFC compatible Android version. Every Café, Restaurant,... would have NFC stickers by now... Now it will take years :-(

  • WORPspeed

    Do the visitors need Android L as well?

  • boorascal

    When I have people over, they want Wi-Fi on their laptops, not their phones. This is nifty, but I can't see it really being useful for me.

  • deeveeance

    Just came to rally on the Buckethead fan-dom. Nice AP name.

  • Android Developer

    Does it mean that all the guests have to do is to tap the NFC tag, and that's it?
    They won't need to copy the password, right? It will directly go to the wifi settings instead, and that's it?

  • Peter

    Just tried that on N5. The wifi name and password are written as clear, readable data on to the NFC tag.
    Means, any NFC app will show the password on any NFC phone.
    It's like writing all the relevant WiFi data (network name & password) on my wall.