How to Access Wi-Fi on Your iPhone - dummies

By Joe Hutsko, Barbara Boyd

You may want to say that cellular is wireless, and you’d be right. But Wi-Fi is wireless, only better. Connecting to the Internet using iPhone’s Wi-Fi feature is one of the fastest — and cheapest — ways to connect to the Internet.

Wi-Fi networks blast their typically close-range signals from a device known as a wireless router, which is connected to a broadband modem, which in turn is typically connected to your cable or phone company’s broadband Internet service (or whatever the Wi-Fi router you tap into is connected to, be it at your favorite cafe, on a train, or a public library, for example).

Other people can connect their Wi-Fi enabled devices as well, making the group of you a network, as opposed to a single connection. You may need a password to access a Wi-Fi network, and some Wi-Fi services charge an hourly or daily fee to access their networks.

To join a Wi-Fi network, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings on your Home screen, and then tap Wi-Fi.

    The Wi-Fi Networks screen opens.

  2. Tap the toggle switch to turn on Wi-Fi.

    The screen expands to give you the option to Choose a Network. iPhone detects servers in the area and the Wi-Fi symbol indicates how strong the signal is: The more waves, the stronger the signal. Servers that require a password have a closed lock icon next to them.


    Some Wi-Fi networks may require you to agree to the provider’s terms before you can use the network. In those cases, a prompt appears, asking for your permission to launch Safari to view the provider’s web page, where you typically tap a check box indicating you agree to the legal mumbo jumbo listed on the web page.

    In other cases, you have to type in a user name and password in order to agree to the provider’s terms.

    If you know the name of the network you want to join and it’s not in the list, do this:

    1. Tap Other.

      The Other Network pane opens.

    2. Type in the name of the network in the Name field.

    3. If the network has a password, tap Security.

      The Security screen opens.

    4. Choose the type of password this network uses and tap the back button that reads Other Network.

      The Other Network screen reopens, and the cursor is blinking in the Password field.

  3. Type in the password.

  4. Tap the Join button.

    You return to the Wi-Fi Networks screen. A check mark appears next to the highlighted name of the network you’ve joined. iPhone automatically remembers any Wi-Fi network you’ve joined and connects to it whenever you’re in its range.

iPhone remembers Wi-Fi networks you previously connected to and automatically reconnects whenever you’re in range of those Wi-Fi networks, unless you’re already connected to a network that has a stronger signal. Tap the disclosure triangle next to a network name and then tap the Forget this Network button to immediately disconnect from a Wi-Fi network you’re connected to.

Tapping this option also erases any password or other information you may have typed in to connect to the Wi-Fi network. If you have trouble connecting to a network you know you should be able to connect to, try forgetting the network and signing in again.

Information about and configuration options for the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to appear beneath the Forget this Network button. Scroll down the list to see the Wi-Fi network’s information and configuration options.

Chances are you’ll probably only view or change these additional Wi-Fi network settings if the tech folks at the company or organization that operates the network tell you that you need to and provide you with the necessary details you must type in to make the connection.