Wi-Fi has pretty much become a basic human right. When a friend doesn't have a Wi-Fi connection at his house we tend to visit less, when our Wi-Fi drops at home we're outraged, and we certainly wouldn't stop for a coffee at a cafe that doesn't have Wi-Fi. But you know what's even better than Wi-Fi? Free Wi-Fi. Here's how to get free Wi-Fi wherever you go.
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Ask a friendly stranger
The number of times I've had a friendly stranger simply give me a Wi-Fi password, whether they're using Wi-Fi at a cafe or they work at one, is incredible. Considering many places like you to pay for Wi-Fi, people seem to be pretty free-and-easy with the passwords. Other times they're written on a chalkboard or on a piece of paper at the till, so use your eyes, put on a big smile and charm your way to free Wi-Fi.
Pool resources with WeFi
WeFi is a great app that automatically connects you to any free Wi-Fi in your area, based on the combined resources of millions of users just like you, who know that where there's numbers, there's strength. With over seven million downloads and hundreds of millions of hotspots, WeFi is sure to have coverage right where you are.WeFi Pro - Automatic Wi-Fi
Use your scanner
Your Android will already tell you if a Wi-Fi connection is secured or not. And thankfully not everyone is as savvy about protecting their internet connection as you are about borrowing it. Just go to Settings > Wi-Fi and look for connections that are labeled 'open' or 'unsecured' and connect.
Go to Starbucks or McDonalds
It doesn't take a genius to know that certain major chains use free Wi-Fi as a carrot to entice customers in. Just as the free restrooms at McDonalds cause plenty of people to swing by in times of need and stick around for some fries, so too does free Wi-Fi. It almost makes up for paying six bucks for a Starbucks coffee.
Join a community
Instabridge is a great little app where crowd-sourced Wi-Fi connections and passwords are compiled into a network of millions. The best thing is that it also includes secured connections, so as long as one person paid for that overpriced latte, everyone with the app can enjoy the connection.Instabridge - Free WiFi
Pay attention at the mall
Every time I head to an Android event I invariably have SIM cards, data plans and calling cards thrust into my palm. Often, one of those many freebies is a Wi-Fi card that allows you an hour or two of free Wi-Fi access to a big mobile or internet provider. The same things are regularly handed out as promotional items at malls and shopping centres, so keep your eyes peeled.
Swing by a hotel
This one feels a little cheeky, but the front desk staff at many hotels have no idea whether you are staying at their establishment or not, so if you casually stroll up and ask for the Wi-Fi passwords, more often than not they will happily hand you a slip of paper and you're on your way. Just cross your fingers that they don't ask for your room card.
Spoof your MAC address
Because timed free Wi-Fi connections are simply based on the MAC address of your device, it's not terribly difficult to spoof that address and score some more free minutes. This one is a little more involved than some others, but if you know how to do it it's a great technique to have in your free Wi-Fi toolkit.
Hit the library
If you live near a library or take your lunch near one, you can always pick up free Wi-Fi for a limited time at the good old book depository. Again, you may need to stroll in and grab a slip of paper, but sometimes the Wi-Fi password is written up on the wall for all to see and use.
Use your friends
Even if you're too cheap to pay for a bigger data plan, your friends might not be. You can often tether your phone to a friend's device for long enough to check your WhatsApp or send an email. Just don't go watching Vines for half an hour or you might find yourself with one less friend in the world.
Check your cable subscription
Some of the big cable networks also provide Wi-Fi access a freebie in their subscription deals. Take a look at your fine print or call customer service to find out if you have any data access included in your subscription. This is not technically free, but if you never knew you had access to hotspots across the city, it's the next best thing.
Give and take
Rather than endlessly sucking up other people's Wi-Fi connections, you can take a slightly more give and take approach and share your Wi-Fi hotspot (at home or work, for example) in exchange for other people's. Simply share your details, log in and be prepared to return the favor when you have Wi-Fi access of your own.Hotspotio
How do you get free Wi-Fi? What do you do when there is no Wi-Fi? Tell us in the comments.