In most cases, connecting to a Wi-Fi router is just a matter of knowing the router’s name and the right passcode. If the router is set up to accept connections only from trusted devices, your iPhone will have to be added to that list by the router’s administrator before you can access Wi-Fi. As with a computer, accessing a Wi-Fi network can compromise your data. If you set up your own router, it’s best to use the router’s encryption options and set a password to prevent unauthorized access.
The iPhone Setup Assistant guides you in setting up Wi-Fi when you activate the device. You can later turn Wi-Fi on or off, or choose a new network, by selecting “Wi-Fi” in the iPhone Settings menu. The “On/Off” toggle tells you if Wi-Fi is enabled or not. If it is on, the iPhone displays a list of networks within range. Select any network you are authorized to access. If the network has a lock icon beside it, you are required to enter the proper passcode to access it.
If you can’t access the Internet on your iPhone, first verify that Wi-Fi is enabled on the phone and that you are connected to the right Wi-Fi network. If the iPhone says you are connected, turn off Wi-Fi and then turn it on again and reconnect to the network. If the Wi-Fi signal icon shows the signal is at full strength, connect to the router using another Wi-Fi device or computer to determine that the router is working correctly. If the problem seems to be with a single app, check to see if there is an update or try removing and reinstalling the app. If more than one app is affected, shut down the iPhone and turn it on again.
In some cases, you may want to connect to a specific Wi-Fi network that is not visible on the Wi-Fi settings screen. Some routers are configured not to be visible publicly and hide the name using a hidden Service Set Identifier. To connect to these routers, you need to know the name of the router, the encryption system it uses — WEP, WPA, WPA2, or an Enterprise version of WPA or WPA2 — and the passcode. This should be available from the person who set up the hidden SSID. You can then tap the “Other” button on the Wi-Fi settings screen and enter this information to connect to the network.
More and more places, like hotels, coffee shops and restaurants, offer public hotspots, meaning you connect to a Wi-Fi router with your iPhone. Many are free, but some may charge a daily or hourly fee. Public hotspots sponsored by one cell phone carrier may only be accessible by their customers. If you use a public hotspot and no passcode is required, be careful about the information you send over the network. A hacker using the right equipment can easily capture information sent over any unsecured network.