Did you know that your Android, by default, stores all the passwords of the WiFi networks you connect to? Yes, all Android devices collect the WiFI keys in a decrypted file stored in the device’s storage so that the system can access them whenever it needs them.
But what if we, the users, want to access this file? Since it is a document stored in the file system’s root, you might think that only users with root permissions on their devices can reach it … but this is not always the case.
Commonly, we want to know the password of a WiFi to which we have previously connected with the mobile. The reasons can be several such as connecting from another device that we have just acquired or sharing the connection with a guest. Next, we will explain the different methods to see all the passwords of the Wi-Fi networks you have connected with your Android and whether you have root permissions.
Ways to see WiFi passwords on an Android mobile
- View WiFi passwords on Android without root
- View WiFi passwords with root permissions
- View WiFi passwords without root in older versions
- Extra: How to backup WiFi keys
How to view and share Wi-Fi passwords on Android without root
The tenth version of Google’s operating system introduced an even easier way to view and share stored Wi-Fi passwords; if your phone does not update to Android 10, below, we explain how it can be done in other versions.
Since the first beta version of Android Q, there is the possibility of accessing a new menu within the information of the Wi-Fi network to which we are connected, from which to see a QR code that, when scanned from another phone –It must also be updated to Android 10–, you will get the credentials to be able to connect.
Regardless of the mobile model you have, if it is updated to Android 10 or higher, you will see and share passwords for Wi-Fi networks with other people. To do this, you have to follow these steps:
- Go to the System Settings application and then to the Wi-Fi and networks section
- Access the Wi-Fi section and touch the Saved Networks section
- Select the network you want to see the password for
- Tap the Share button, indicated by a QR code icon
- Enter the screen unlock method you have configured; you will access a screen where you can see a QR code that other people with phones updated to Android 10 can scan to connect. Just below, you can see the password for the Wi-Fi network in text.
How to view saved Wi-Fi passwords on mobiles with previous versions (with root)
This is probably the easiest method to see the Wi-Fi passwords saved on your Android if it has not yet been updated to the system’s latest version, since it only needs to be – apart from being root, of course – download a free app from Google Play.
Although in our case, we have chosen the “Wifi Password Recovery” app, there are more tools of this type in the Google store. Its operation is the same, so this procedure will work regardless of the app you decide to download.
Once the application is installed, when we open it, it will ask us to grant it the necessary root permissions… and that’s it. Automatically, all the Wi-Fi networks to which the terminal has connected over time will appear on the screen, with their corresponding decrypted passwords. Easy right?
How to view Wi-Fi passwords on Android without root
In case of not having root or Android 10, things become a bit more complex since it is only possible to perform this procedure in versions of Android before 6.0 Marshmallow. This is because, as of this version, Android encrypts the partition by default/data. And guess where the file with the passwords is? Exactly, on this same partition.
Before starting, the first thing to do is make sure you have a computer handy – whether it is Windows, Mac or Linux -, a USB cable and the ADB drivers installed on the computer you will use. Whether or not you plan to see the passwords of the Wi-Fi networks following this procedure, installing the ADB drivers is highly recommended, as it will serve to carry out other advanced processes in Android, such as installing ROMs or modifying essential parts of the system.
Once installed, if you are on a Windows computer, open a command window CMD with Shift + Click Right on the folder where you have installed ADB, or simply by executing the ADB command in a terminal window if you are using macOS.
The next step will be to connect the Android device to the computer via USB, making sure before having enabled USB debugging in the developer settings – if you can’t find them in the settings panel, go to the “Device Information” section and press several times over the build number.
With the phone connected and the command window open, it is time to check if the computer correctly detects the device; for this, you will have to execute the command:
If everything is correct, the serial number of the device will appear. Finally, you will have to access the file where the Wi-Fi passwords are stored. However, in this case, instead of opening it, we are going to create a copy that we will save directly on the computer’s hard drive. To do this, you will have to execute the command:
adb pull /data/misc/wifi/wpa_supplicant.conf c:/wpa_supplicant.conf
In this command, the part “c: /wpa_supplicant.conf” belongs to the path where the file will be stored, so it can be changed to suit everyone, simply specifying the path of the folder on the computer where you want to store the file.
In this way, we will have copied the same file that we would have accessed with the application discussed in the “with root” method, and the list with all Wi-Fi networks will appear again, accompanied by their stored keys.
Never lose Wi-Fi passwords again: learn how to create a backup.
If you don’t want to have to search for the keys of each Wi-Fi network every time you change your mobile, there is a much simpler option that allows you to store all the passwords without having to resort to any of the previous procedures. It consists of creating a backup copy of the Wi-Fi passwords saved in Android. To do this, you have to follow these steps:
- On your mobile, go to settings and look for the System section.
- Access the Backup option.
- If you click on the “Device settings” section, you will see that one of the data from which an automatic backup is created are the passwords of the Wi-Fi networks.
- Make sure you have Backup to Google Drive enabled.
In this way, every time you log in with your Google account on new mobile and restore the backup stored in Google Drive, all the passwords will be available again since they will be stored in the corresponding file of the operating system. The device itself will automatically connect to those networks whose passwords are stored in the copy.