Use QR codes to let friends use your home Wi-Fi easily

Create a "cheat sheet" like this to let friends access your Wi-Fi easily

When friends come to visit, it’s increasingly handy to let them connect their smartphones and tablets to your Wi-Fi network.  Whether they want to share amusing YouTube clips, download the latest and greatest apps/games you’ve been discussing or just access web and email, Wi-Fi usually makes it quicker than relying on the mobile phone network. There’s another benefit if they’ve got an iPhone/iPad and your house has an Apple TV as part of your audio/video setup. By connecting their Apple gadget to your network, they can beam their choice of music, videos or photos to your TV/hifi wirelessly using AirPlay. It’s really simple and makes media sharing much more immersive than passing someone’s iPhone or iPad around.

But there’s a problem. If you’ve secured your home Wi-Fi network, it’s protected with a strong password that needs to be entered on every device that connects to the network. The longer and more complex the password, the harder it is to type in on an iPhone/iPad. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way of entering the password without having to type it in?  There is: QR codes. We used them last night when we had friends round for St Patrick’s Day dinner and they made light work of distributing my ridiculously complicated Wi-Fi password.

Just scan the QR code, choose "Copy Password" then paste it into the device's Wi-Fi settings

You’ve probably seen QR codes before.  QR codes are those square barcode things you’ve seen popping up on advertising posters.  They’re normally used to provide an easy way of entering web addresses into smartphones, but they can be used for lots of other types of information – including Wi-Fi network details.  To use them you simply open a QR code reader app, scan the QR code with your camera and then the phone decodes the information.

To help your guests get online, all you need to do is create a QR code that contains your Wi-Fi details, then print out a “cheat sheet” for your guests to use.

You can create your QR code here by choosing “WiFi Network” from the “Select a Code Action” drop-down:

Once you’ve got your QR code, copy and paste it into your “cheat sheet”. Here’s a template for creating your own cheat sheet.

Does this approach help you? Any other suggestions for making this stuff easier? Please let me know in the comments.