You Lost Your Wi-Fi Password, but It’s OK. Your Computer’s Got Your Back

You almost never think of your Wi-Fi password after setting up your devices. A friend comes over, asks you for the network password and you stumble to remember — what was it again? Is it this number on the back of my router?

Even if you don’t have the password saved anywhere and you haven’t memorized it, there’s a simple way to find all your Wi-Fi passwords at once — just check your computer.

Read more: Best Password Managers for 2022

As long as your Windows or Mac computer has connected to the network before, that Wi-Fi password is permanently stored in your settings. It may require a bit of digging on your part, but all of the passwords are there, saved, and ready to be shared with anyone who wants to connect to Wi-Fi.

Here’s how to find the passwords to all of the Wi-Fi networks you’ve ever connected to on MacOS and Windows. For more, discover 17 essential settings for customizing your MacBook or how to get the most out of Windows 11

How to find Wi-Fi passwords in MacOS

Every password you’ve entered and saved on a Mac is stored in Keychain Access, the password management system for MacOS. And that includes Wi-Fi network passwords. 

To start, use the search feature to open the Keychain Access app and do the following:

1. Click on System under System Keychains in the sidebar.

2. Next, click on Passwords at the top of the window.

3. Find the Wi-Fi network you want the password for and double-click on it.

4. Finally, check the box next to Show password and enter your password when prompted.

Keychain Access app pop-up on MacBook

Find all your stored Wi-Fi passwords in the Keychain Access app on MacOS.


Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

The password field will then show the password you used to log in to that Wi-Fi network. You can double-click in the password field to select the password and copy it to your clipboard, if needed.

How to find Wi-Fi passwords on Windows

Finding the password to the Wi-Fi network you’re currently connected to is simple on Windows, but getting your hands on all stored Wi-Fi passwords takes a bit of work, so we’ll discuss both methods below.

To find the password to the Wi-Fi network you’re currently connected to on Windows:

1. Click the Start button and then go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center (Windows 11) or Settings > Network & Internet > Status > Network and Sharing Center (Windows 10).

2. Next to Connections, click your Wi-Fi network name highlighted in blue.

3. In the Wi-Fi Status page that opens, click Wireless Properties and then on the Security tab.

4. Finally, check the box next to Show characters to display your Wi-Fi network password above it.

Network sharing center on a Windows laptop

You can easily find the password for the Wi-Fi network you’re currently connected to on Windows.


Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

However, this

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How to Change Your Router’s Wi-Fi Password and Name

  • You can change your Wi-Fi password by opening your router’s configuration page in an internet browser.
  • When you buy a new router, you should change its password to keep it secure.
  • If you forgot your Wi-Fi password, you can connect to the router with an ethernet cable.

A Wi-Fi network allows you to connect your devices to the internet without the need for bulky ethernet cables. However, to keep your internet secure, you’ll need a Wi-Fi password.

Without a password, anyone can connect to your Wi-Fi network. This means that strangers can hog the network, reducing your internet speed. In a worst case scenario, they can even exploit your devices to install malware and steal sensitive information.

To prevent this, you should change your Wi-Fi router’s default password.

Doing this is simpler than it seems, although it’ll require you to log into your router’s configuration page.

Here’s what you should know.

How to change your Wi-Fi password

1. Open your router’s configuration page using any internet browser on a Mac or PC. To do this, you’ll need to type in your router’s default IP address. This is usually 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1.

Chrome address bar, with routers IP address highlight.

Enter the router’s IP address in your internet browser.

Stefan Ionescu


If the above IP addresses don’t work, you should check your specific router’s details, as this may differ. They’re often written on the bottom, back, or side of the router and listed as either an IP address or an “access URL.”

A router, with the IP address written on the back and highlighted.

Check the bottom, back, or side of the router for the IP address.

Stefan Ionescu


2. Log into your router using its username and password. The username and password are often “admin” or “userAdmin” by default but check with your router’s manufacturer or internet service provider if this doesn’t work.

Login page for a router.

Log into your router’s configuration page.

Stefan Ionescu


Alternatively, the login information can sometimes be found on the bottom or back of the router itself.

The bottom of the router, with the username and password highlighted.

You can also find the username and password for the router on the bottom.

Stefan Ionescu


3. Once logged in, locate the “Wireless“, “Wireless Security” or “WLAN” option. It’ll likely be listed either at the top or left side of the page.

Home page for the router’s configuration page, with the “WLAN” option highlighted.

Look for the “Wireless”, “Wireless Security” or “WLAN” option.

Stefan Ionescu


4. In the “Wi-Fi Password” or “Key” box, enter the password you want your connection to have. The safest passwords are long and contain a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. 

The “Wireless Security” settings page, with the “Wi-Fi Password” box highlighted.

Enter the new password in the “Wi-Fi Password” box.

Stefan Ionescu


5. Once your changes are completed, click “Save” or “Apply” to save the changes. The Wi-Fi password will immediately change.

If you find yourself lost, contact your router’s manufacturer. If you received your router from your internet service provider, such as Spectrum or Xfinity, you could also try contacting them.

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