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InstaWifi Makes Joining WiFi Networks Easy With NFC or QR Codes


Have you ever visited a friend’s house or a coffee shop and wanted to join the local WiFi network, but didn’t know the password? Or were you on the other side of that equation, with friends or customers constantly asking for the info to join your network? An app called InstaWifi is looking to fix those problems. By taking advantage of both NFC and QR technology, this app can be used by anyone with an Android smartphone.  

With an NFC-enabled phone, you can choose to write to an NFC tag with this app, so that future visitors with other NFC phones can simply tap to connect. You can also tap your phone to another NFC phone to allow your friends or visitors to join in an instant.

If your visitors or friends do not have an NFC-enabled phone, this app also allows for QR code WiFi network joining. While in InstaWifi, you have 1 tab for NFC activities and another that will generate a QR code for you. All it takes from there is a QR scanning app to glance over your code and your network can be joined.

There are other apps that can produce similar activities to this, one being Samsung’s TecTiles. We tend to like the idea of InstaWifi though, since it is much more focused on one feature, joining wireless networks. It’s free, so feel free to give it a spin.

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  • Stephen Vanderwarker

    Not bad prices for the stickers! I shall be donating! 😀

  • http://www.facebook.com/pauljschroeder Paul Schroeder

    Why didn’t I think of this. ugh.

  • FortitudineVincimus

    I used it to print a QR code to tape to my router for friends (not tested yet) but I don’t expect much use out of the NFC function (and I have an NFC phone) as there just are not many NFC phones these days. Most are not and it seems many new ones still don’t do it. Same with tablets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jesselchen Jesse Chen

    Hi guys, I’m the developer of InstaWifi. Feel free to ask me questions or any feedback.


    • Erickbernal27

      Do you have hopes this will be “installed” in Starbucks everywhere?

      • http://www.facebook.com/jesselchen Jesse Chen

        A man can dream.

      • michael arazan

        Are you hoping Google buys you out, because they need this in android os, good luck its a great idea.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jesselchen Jesse Chen

          It would be better for everyone that uses Android if this was built in natively to the OS rather than to install another app. However, they have bigger fish to fry right now so I doubt it would ever happen :)

    • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

      Mad props this is a very nifty app!

  • http://twitter.com/Scooterman7 Neil Phillips

    I couldn’t get it to work on my RAZR MAXX. I can do a screen capture of the Code, mail it to my computer & print it, or scan it with Barcode Reader. That App gives me a bar for Connecting to the Network that it scan’s in. The Network name is correct, but it don’t connect to the network. Probably has something to do with the Security Key (even though I had it listed in the InstaWifi.

  • jfa

    why does this app request superuser permissions?

    • ocdtrekkie

      Did you read the app description before you commented?

    • http://www.facebook.com/jesselchen Jesse Chen

      jfa, in the app description it states:

      If you rooted your phone, InstaWifi will ask for root on startup so that it’ll automatically grab your WiFi password and security type so that you don’t have to manually type it in. Root access is not required.

      It’s to make it convenient for you by not having to fill in all the security/pw details. It is not required for normal usage, however.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cory.simpson Cory Simpson

    One issue I see so far is your wifi password is “clear text” in the QR code. For example the one in the above image is “nicetry123” Granted it’s not a huge deal.. but part of the usefulness of this feature is to not have to give out the pass.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jesselchen Jesse Chen

      Hi Cory,

      Yes, that is correct and nice catch 😉

      For normal usage (e.g. sharing wifi with a friend/family), having them scan with the Barcode Scanner app will not show the password in plaintext. The app will just automatically connect to the network, so for the most common use cases, you really aren’t giving out the password.

      In order to encrypt the wifi network configurations, that would involve me having to write a separate app that can decode the encryption. I considered that given ~100,000,000 people have downloaded the Barcode Scanner app, I should try to go for breadth by adapting to their standards rather than trying to implement my own solution.

      • http://profiles.google.com/cory.simpson Cory Simpson

        Yeah that wouldn’t be worth the effort, as it still wouldn’t be completely secure being someone could just view their wpa_supplicant.conf file for the password negating all the encryption.

        There really isn’t anyway to securely give out connection details to your network, but I was just pointing it out to those who may not be aware. Great app though, I donated.

        I think it would look cool to make a big poster QR code and have it framed on the wall.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jesselchen Jesse Chen

          Yup, you are correct in that I use the wpa_supplicant.conf file for the root access.

          Thanks so much for the donation and I hope you enjoy the NFC sticker(s) that I’ll be shipping out soon!

  • http://profiles.google.com/zkolev Zack Kolev

    My fave NFC app already does that: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jwsoft.nfcactionlauncher&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5qd3NvZnQubmZjYWN0aW9ubGF1bmNoZXIiXQ..
    You can set a tag to do multiple things, like turn on wifi, connect to predefined network and check you into foursquare at the same time.

    The samsung app can do this too but it only does on task at at time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25802390 Michael Sullivan

    where do you get an NFC sticker though?

    • Hunter


      • David Lee

        I get all mine from http://www.tagstand.com. Cool dudes, very responsive and helpful the one time my order was incorrect.

    • Clay S.

      tagstand is my choice place

    • http://www.facebook.com/jesselchen Jesse Chen

      Another upvote for tagstand, there are definitely other options out there to consider besides donating to the developer and you are not limited by only that option.

      I built that option to help users that might’ve been interested in NFC but never knew where to buy stickers or what type of stickers to buy. Since I have a pile of NFC stickers, I figured I would send them out as gifts if you donate a couple bucks to the developer.

  • Paul Hounshell

    Or for printable magic…
    http://zxing.appspot.com/generator/ Contents -> Wifi Network

  • http://www.goosio.com/ Adam Siekmann

    This kind of stuff needs to be native to Android so the person who wants to join a network does not need to have a 3rd party app installed…so much potential for Android with NFC

    • TheDrizzle

      Yet we will likely have to wait for Apple to play catch up and get NFC for it to really go mainstream in the US. It’s amazes me when I hear an iPhone user talking about NFC like it is some futuristic, far-off technology only used in Europe.

      • Luxferro

        I’m amazed there are iPhone users who know what NFC is, let alone talk about it.

        • http://twitter.com/sam1am John Samuel αΩ

          I’m amazed there are iPhone users.


          • ABerry5

            quoted for the straight up truth.. Once Jelly Bean is mainstream I think you’ll start to see people jumping ship.. ICS already made numerous people I know jump and those that didn’t will have all of “their personal issues with android” solved

            I don’t think this imminnent Android monopoly is a good thing however competition wise :(

          • Allen Byrd


    • http://twitter.com/sam1am John Samuel αΩ

      I read somewhere yesterday that Android 3+ accepts “wifi://” URIs and can use them to automatically and natively connect to WiFi networks. When encoded into a QR code, they work great, but for some reason when scanned via an NFC chip they don’t work.

      I don’t know if this is true or not, but if so a QR code is the way to go. Every phone has a camera and most people have something to scan QR codes.

  • Bill Anderson

    The venerable Barcode Scanner has been able to do this for a long time with QR codes. I have one up in my kitchen for friends. Make the QR code here:

    • http://twitter.com/paedz718 Paul D

      question: so after your friends scan the QR code and get the network Id and password, they have to then retype that into their wifi settings? testing this w/ QR Droid and I can see the network and password, but I only have an option to copy to the clipboard, it didn’t natively open the wifi settings. seems like I’m missing something.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jesselchen Jesse Chen

        Are you using the Barcode Scanner app by zxing? https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.zxing.client.android

        AFAIK that’s the only app that supports connecting to wifi via QR codes.

        • http://twitter.com/paedz718 Paul D

          ah, makes sense. no, I was using QR Droid to read the QR codes and it didn’t initiate the wifi connection after. I’ll try Barcode Scanner, since I have that one installed as well. Thanks

  • Crazydog

    Well, there’s this, which does everything this does, but no NFC:

    But since this has NFC, it trumps!

  • Guest

    This seems overly unnecessary…

  • htowngtr

    Not compatible with Gnex? boooo

    • Robhimself79

      Must be because jellybean? People who reviewed it have gnex.

    • Crazydog

      Whatcha talkin’ bout? Just installed it on my Verizon Galaxy Nexus (running Jellybean), and it works fine.

    • http://profiles.google.com/cory.simpson Cory Simpson

      works on mine

    • fixxmyhead

      so why are they using one in the video

    • Hunter

      He’s using Gnex’s in the video….really?

    • http://www.facebook.com/jesselchen Jesse Chen

      I demo’d the app with a Galaxy Nexus running JellyBean. I was also able to confirm that I can install it from the market just now. Are you running any custom ROMs?