Do you believe in unbreakable passwords and so prefer not to write them down? That may be a smart approach if you have a good memory. But what if someone comes to visit and wants to use the Wi-Fi? It’s easy to forget this kind of information when you need it unexpectedly.
One thing that Android devices lack is the ability to show your Wi-Fi passwords. Even though they’re saved on the device, revealing the characters is not as easy as it would be on a Windows device. Of course, it’s not impossible either, as long as you know what you’re doing.
Whichever method of unveiling the password you end up using, two things remain the same. The fields SSID and psk are the ones that show you the network name and the password, respectively.
ES File Explorer
With ES File Explorer, you can technically bypass root access. The downside is that not all Android devices will support this function and it’s also unclear which OS versions support it. Nevertheless, the method involves simple steps, so give it a try before diving into more complex stuff.
- Open ES File Explorer
- Select Local Storage
- Select Device
- Go through the System menu until you can select the WiFi option
- Locate and open the “wpa_supplicant.conf” file
Use either the HTML or text file viewer to open the file. In the configuration file, you’ll see a list of all passwords for trusted Wi-Fi networks connected to your Android phone or tablet.
Because not all devices come with the ES File Explorer pre-installed, you can download it from the Google Play Store for free.
Wi-Fi Key Recovery
Another free app you can use is Wi-Fi Key Recovery. This is also available on Google Play. Once installed, you can use it to take advantage of your root access and browse through the saved passwords on your device.
- Launch the app
- Tap Grant when it asks for Superuser access
- Browse the list for the desired passwords
You can use the SSID Quicksearch bar to locate the network you want. This helps if you want to reconnect to an older saved network, and the list is too long and tedious to scroll through.
It’s worth noting that Wi-Fi Key Recovery works on rooted smartphones and tablets but won’t root your device for you. So before you can use it, you need to achieve root access.
What Exactly Is Root Access?
Root access on an Android device is essentially the equivalent of a jailbreak on an iPhone. It unlocks the OS and gives you total control, which means you can uninstall system apps, change the firmware, etc. You can even overclock the processor – yes, that works on phones and tablets too, not just PCs.
Essentially it grants you permission to modify all the files found in the /data and /system partitions, which you otherwise couldn’t do.
Getting root access is not illegal although it may sound sketchy. It will, however, most likely void your warranty, which is why most people choose not to do it. Additionally, rooting a device can cause a system instability, even if you don’t go as far as actually changing any of the system files.
But getting this level of access allows you to look up specific information, such as passwords, from saved networks.
How Does One Enable Root Access?
Most people do it by using a third party app. There are a few that are free and can unlock your OS with two taps. However, Android OS versions are getting harder and harder to break into.
That’s why recommending useful third-party apps is difficult to do. What worked last year may not work this year, and what worked three years ago may work again next year after an app update.
Where to Start?
In order to find a working app that can root your device, you have to perform deep searches online with the exact model of your device. These third party apps generally use system exploits to unlock the OS, but no two systems are identical.
There are even differences between phones of the same model which were designed and released for different regions. A Samsung Galaxy phone designed for India may need a different approach than one released for the US consumer base.
KingoRoot for Windows is one rooting app that seems to get updated fairly often. You shouldn’t hope for too much though, at least not until you check their list of enabled devices. If yours is on the list, then download the app to your PC, connect your device, and follow the instructions as presented.
Once you get root access, you can use various password retrieval apps to discover the information you need. ES File Explorer may work more reliably too.