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Wi-Fi Widget Simplifies Wi-Fi Work in iOS

If you find yourself frequently fussing with Wi-Fi in iOS, you might find the $1.99 Wi-Fi Widget from Puppy Ventures worth the nominal investment. It provides quick access to Wi-Fi settings, lets you test your connection speed quickly, and makes it easier to share your network info and password with a visiting friend.

The Wi-Fi Widget app is primarily a shell with some settings — the meat of the app lies in the widget. After installing the app, navigate to the iOS Widgets screen, which lives to the left of the Lock screen, Home screen, and Notification Center. Scroll to the bottom of your widget list and tap Edit. Scroll down until you see the Wi-Fi listing, and tap the plus next to it to add it to your widgets. You can drag the hamburger button on the right to change its order on the Widgets screen.


For more on iOS widgets, check out my book, “iOS 10: A Take Control Crash Course.”

Wi-Fi Widget’s actual widget is simple. It displays the device’s current Internet connection, along with the access point name, if applicable. If Wi-Fi is off, it shows that you’re connected to cellular. Tap the widget to go to iOS’s Wi-Fi settings.


To determine your connection’s Internet download speed, tap the Tap to Test label, which changes to report the results of its test. Tap the results to change it back to Tap to Test if you want to run another test. You can run this test over either Wi-Fi or cellular connections.

Tap Show More in the upper-right corner of the widget to reveal your Wi-Fi password, if you’ve entered it into the widget (it doesn’t pick the password up automatically). Why would you want to do this? If you store your password in Wi-Fi Widget, you can easily copy or share it with others.


Use the Tap to Set Password link to switch to the Wi-Fi Widget app, where you’re prompted to enter your Wi-Fi password. Tap Save Password when finished.

While you’re in the app, tap Menu and then enable Unlock for Password. That prevents the widget from displaying your password when the device is locked. Otherwise, anyone who picked up your iPhone and swiped right to reveal the Widgets screen would be able to see your Wi-Fi password. You can also control whether the speed test reports results in megabits per second (the most common measurement) or megabytes per second.


Once you’ve stored your password in Wi-Fi Widget, tapping Share in the widget takes you to the app and presents a Share sheet. Regardless of the sharing option you choose, Wi-Fi Widget sends a picture of the access point name, the password, and a text version of your password that your friend can copy.


Wi-Fi Widget is a simple tool, but if you find that you need to test connection speeds and share your Wi-Fi password with visitors, it could save you time and aggravation.

 

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Richard Smith  2017-03-14 18:06
I do not know if it is limited by region(s) (I'm in New Zealand), or has a time limit, but Wi-Fi Widget is currently showing as free in the app store for New Zealand and USA.
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Dennis B. Swaney  2017-03-20 20:39
Not here in these United States; it is $1.99 just as Josh says. However the description says it is currently 33% off so it looks like the normal price is $2.99.
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Sam Sugiyama  2017-03-15 12:02
I am wary of providing passwords. Where is the password stored? How secure/safe is this?

Thanks.
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Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-03-16 09:16
This is the password to your local Wi-Fi network, so as long as you haven't reused it elsewhere (a terrible idea), there wouldn't really be any liability to someone learning it as long as they didn't know exactly where you were located. Since Wi-Fi Widget doesn't ask for your location, there's no way the two could be connected.

You would want to turn on the privacy setting Josh mentions above so no one fiddling with your iPhone at your house could swipe to the widget screen and see your password without being able to unlock the phone.
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This is a nicely designed, but very basic app which might meet the needs of many people, but a couple of things to consider:
1. It's not entirely clear from the description that you must manually enter every wifi passphrase that you'd like to display or share. IOS doesn't allow any app accesses to passphrases.
2. For half the price (99 cents US), Network Utility by Fausto Ristagno provides a more info-rich widget, with current internet ISP, wifi, and cellular info, plus a rich set of network utilities.
I bought both but only use Network Utility. I guess it's simplicity vs value.
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