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Nearby Wi-Fi hotspot passwords unearthed by 4sqwifi app

Good news for Wi-Fi seekers: a new iPhone app uses Foursquare to cleverly dig up hotspot passwords for you.

Getting online in an unfamiliar place can be tricky, especially as the majority of Wi-Fi hotspots are protected. But there's good news: a new iPhone app uses Foursquare to cleverly dig up passwords for you.

The makers of the aptly (but also badly) named 4sqwifi realised that check-in service Foursquare is a good source of hotspot passwords. Foursquare users often leave these passwords in the tips sections of cafes, bars and other venues – but of course this means you have to browse the tips to find them.

This app does that for you, taking the majority of the legwork out of the process. When you open 4sqwifi, it presents a list of nearby Foursquare locations filtered to include only those with Wi-Fi passwords in their tips. Pick one and, hey presto, you're online.

At least that's the idea. As The Next Web points out, the app isn't perfect because it has to rely on Foursquare as a source of accurate information: if the password has changed since the tip was left, you're not going to be able to get online. The imperfect filtering also sometimes allows through locations where users have actually complained about the lack of Wi-Fi in the tips.

Even so, 4sqwifi (seriously, it could do with a name that's pronounceable) is a prime example of why we love apps -- because they make accessing the information you need incredibly simple, by taking information that's already out there and presenting only the relevant parts to the user. It's available now for iOS, free of charge -- head over to the App Store to grab it.