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Android 10: Share a Wi-Fi password in a snap with a QR code

Thanks to Android 10, houseguests will thank you for not having to ever tap out a long Wi-Fi password again.

android-q-qr-code-1
Angela Lang/CNET

I have a sheet of paper with my Wi-Fi name and password clearly printed that I give to houseguests so they can log on to the Wi-Fi network. That method of sharing is not foolproof, however, and can still take visitors a few tries to get it correct. Now that Android 10 is here, I'm recycling that sheet.

No more giving family and friends that piece of paper with my Wi-Fi name and password. No more hunting for the password on my modem's label when I misplace the paper. And for my guests, no more mistyping it. In Android 10, the just-released update to Android from Google previously code-named Q, I can generate a QR code with the credentials of my Wi-Fi network that guests can then quickly scan with their phone's camera to log on. Of all the new features I've used while Android 10 was in beta, this could be the best, and the one I'm most looking forward to using. 

Sure, you could find third-party apps to do this on Android phones, but those could require your manually entering your network credentials as part of the setup. In Android 10, just tap a button in your Wi-Fi settings to create a QR code to share. And then to scan it, open up your iPhone or Android camera app, scan the code and tap to join. The process is based on the Wi-Fi Alliance's Wi-Fi Easy Connect standard for sharing network credentials with a QR code.

Android 10 will also let you add smart-home devices -- including internet-of-things devices -- to the Wi-Fi network you manage via a QR code on a sticker or display you scan with your Android camera app. Note that the device needs to support the Easy Connect Wi-Fi standard for this to work.

To create a QR code for a Wi-Fi network

In Android 10, here's how to share your Wi-Fi credentials via a QR code.

1. Head to Settings, then Network & internet, then your Wi-Fi network's name and tap the gear to the right of your network.

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Tap the Share button.

Screenshot Clifford Colby/CNET

2. In the Network details window, tap the blue Share button on the right.

3. Verify it's you with your PIN or fingerprint to generate a QR code with the Wi-Fi name and password.

There doesn't seem to be a way to save the QR code from here, so you'll need to regenerate it each time you use it. You can take a screenshot of the QR code, however, and show that on your phone to guests. I've done that.

To scan a QR code to join a network

Android 10 gives you a couple of ways to scan the code.

1. In Network & settings, tap Wi-Fi.

2. Scroll to the bottom of the list of your saved Wi-Fi passwords.

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Tap the QR code icon on the right.

Screenshot Clifford Colby/CNET

3. Tap the QR code icon to the right of Add network.

4. Position the viewfinder over the QR code generated on another phone. Once the QR code reader recognizes the code, your phone automatically connects to the network.

You can also use the Camera app to scan QR codes once you turn on Lens.

1. Open Android's Camera app.

2. If you haven't used Lens yet, in the camera settings that run across the bottom, tap More.

3. Tap Lens, and then tap Turn on camera to use Lens.

android10qrcodewifi.png

Tap the name of the Wi-Fi network to join.

Screenshot Clifford Colby/CNET

4. Now, position the Camera viewfinder over the QR code and tap the code.

5. When the name of the network appears below the QR code, tap it to join the Wi-FI network.

On an iPhone and iPad running iOS 11, it's just as easy:

1. Open the iOS Camera app.

2. Position the Camera app's viewfinder over the QR code. When the camera recognizes the QR code, it shows a notification.

3. Tap the notification to join the Wi-Fi network.

Either on iPhone or Android, after you tap the notification, you're on the Wi-Fi network, without typing a password.

Originally published April 16, 5 a.m. PT.

Update, Sept. 4: Added instructions.