Riddle me this: You’re out somewhere and you need to hop on a wifi network with a new device. You realize you have the wifi password saved on your laptop, but not on whatever device you’re looking to connect. And you’re either too lazy to ask for the password again, or you have no way to acquire it in your present condition.
What do you do? Easy. Pull out your laptop and look it up. Here’s how:
To find a saved wifi password, you have a few options. First, you can pull up a Command Prompt and type in this somewhat-complicated string:
netsh wlan show profile [NAME OF YOUR WIFI NETWORK] key=clear
You’ll want to replace the [NAME OF YOUR WIFI NETWORK] part with, well, the name of whatever SSID you’ve connected to. When you do, and hit Enter, you’ll see the password for said wifi network in the “Key Content” listing of the Security settings field—it should be pretty apparent.
If you’d like to try another way, you can pull up your passwords via the Windows 10 Settings app. Launch it, click on Network & Internet, scroll down a bit and click on Network and Sharing Center, click on the blue “Wi-Fi” link next to the “Connections:” field, click on “Wireless Properties,” click on the Security tab, and select “Show characters.”
There are other utilities you can try to get your passwords in an even simpler manner, but I should note that Windows Defender might not like them very much. At least, that was the case when I tried downloading Nirsoft’s WirelessKeyView—surely a harmless program, but one that makes Windows Defender freak out once it finishes transferring to your system.
On macOS, revealing up a saved wifi password is simple. First, you can pull up Terminal and type in the following:
security find-generic-password -wa [NAME OF YOUR WIFI NETWORK]
Same deal as before: Replace [NAME OF YOUR WIFI NETWORK] with exactly what it says. You’ll next have to authenticate into your system as an administrator, but once you do that, the password for whatever wifi network you typed in should appear within Terminal.
You can also just dig through Keychain—specifically, the Keychain Access application—to sniff out a saved password. Launch the application and click on the System Keychain in the upper-left corner. Find the wifi network you want to look up and double-click on it.
When you do, you’ll see a box that looks like the following. Click “Show Password” to do just that—after you authenticate yourself, of course.
How to Reveal Your Saved Wifi Passwords in Windows or macOS