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The best Android Q feature you've never heard of

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

Angela Lang/CNET

I have a sheet of paper with my Wi-Fi name and password clearly printed that I give to my guests 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 correct. With Android Q, I'm recycling that sheet.

No more giving family and friends that piece of paper with my Wi-Fi 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 Q, the next version of the Android OS from Google, 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 cool new features I've used so far in Android Q, 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 Q, 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 Q 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.

I expect to hear more about Android Q tomorrow, with the Google I/O developer conference starting May 7.

To create a QR code for a Wi-Fi network

androidqdarkmodewifi

Scan the QR code to join the network.

Screenshot by Tuong Nguyen /CNET

In Android Q, 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.

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

  3. Enter your passcode 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, 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

On Android, you can choose "Add network" at the bottom of Wi-Fi settings to scan a QR code. What's easier, however, is that the Camera app can 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.

  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.

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On an iPhone ($1,000 at Amazon) and iPad ($249 at Walmart) running iOS 11, it's even easier:

  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.