As time goes on and we travel from place to place, we log into different WiFi networks and the passwords become saved on our devices. You probably won’t realize it at first until you view your saved networks on your phone but like many of us out there, you probably have tons of networks saved on your device.
So picture the scenario where you return to someplace like a library. Your phone has the password saved so it automatically logs in but you need to access the WiFi on your laptop and there isn’t currently anyone around to help you. There are a few other scenarios where you will want to access an old WiFi password but the case is mainly so that you can share it.
How It Works
What do you do in this scenario? Well, the network and its accompanying password is saved on your device already or else it wouldn’t have connected automatically. But how can you view the password to this network?
Well, the good news is that this information is actually stored in a file on your device. The not so good news is that your device will need to be rooted in order for you to access it. Usually gaining root access to your device is not terribly difficult and there is a wealth of knowledge out there on how to achieve root access with a wide variety of devices. Rooting however is outside of the scope of this article.
If you are rooted however, the method which will be described here is for you. Firstly, you will need to download a file manager. ES File Explorer works well for this purpose.
Open ES Explorer and point it to the root directory of your device.
You now need to access the folder named data and then the misc folder.
In the misc folder you will see a folder named wifi. Open this folder. Judging by the name, you know that we’re getting hot.
Within this folder this a file named wpa_supplicant.conf that contains information about all of the WiFi networks you have accessed.
Use ES Explorer’s built in note editor to open it.
Now take a look, find the network in your location and you should be able to easily spot the relevant password. The network name will be in brackets after ssid while the password will be in brackets next to psk.
This method is relatively straightforward as long as you have root access. There are other purported methods out there but they can be finicky and prone not to give the desired result. By using this method, you know that you are directly accessing the file that you need to be.
This functionality appears simple but it is actually quite powerful and can save time in both corporate and home environments. If you can’t remember a password but have accessed it before, there is no need to panic. Simply sort through the files in wpa_supplicant. conf until you find what you need.