Wi-Fi Sense automatically connects you to crowdsourced open Wi-Fi networks it knows about to get you connected to the Internet.
Wi-Fi Sense is available on Windows Phone 8.1. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.
Wi-Fi Sense is also available on Windows 10. To learn more, see the Wi-Fi Sense FAQ for Windows 10.
Wi-Fi Sense isn't available in all countries or regions.
Wi-Fi Sense uses your location. If Location services is turned off in Settings > Location, you won't be able to use Wi-Fi Sense.
An open Wi-Fi network doesn't require a password to connect, which means it isn't secure. Be careful when doing things online that require personal or sensitive information, or wait until you can connect to a secure network that you trust before doing these things.
The service that was used to share networks with Facebook friends, Outlook.com contacts, or Skype contacts is no longer available. Though the Share Wi-Fi networks I select setting will still appear in Settings > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi Sense, it will have no effect. Regardless of what it’s set to, networks won’t be shared with your contacts. Your contacts won’t be connected to networks you’ve shared with them, and you won’t be connected to networks they’ve shared with you.
Wi-Fi Sense can automatically connect you to open Wi-Fi networks that other Windows Phone users have crowdsourced. These are typically open Wi-Fi hotspots you see when you're out and about. When you first set up your phone, you can determine if you want Wi-Fi Sense to do this, and you can change this setting any time you want.
When an open Wi-Fi hotspot that Wi-Fi Sense knows about is in range, your phone will automatically connect to it to give you Internet access.
Wi-Fi Sense will automatically connect you to some open Wi-Fi hotspots if you have Connect to Wi-Fi hotspots turned on in Settings > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi Sense. This is already turned on if you selected the Automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks and accept terms for me check box on the Wi-Fi Sense screen when first setting up your new phone or on the New settings screen after updating an existing phone to Windows Phone 8.1.
Wi-Fi Sense maintains a database of information about open Wi-Fi hotspots—and we update that crowdsourced information based on what your phone and other participating customers' phones tell us about those networks. Wi-Fi Sense analyzes characteristics of open Wi-Fi networks that other Windows Phone users have connected to and determines if the users had a good-quality connection. If enough of them did, those networks get added to the database and then suggested by Wi-Fi Sense, so you and others can get connected to it when using Wi-Fi Sense.
There are times when there will be a few Wi-Fi networks in range. When this happens, Wi-Fi Sense will try to choose the best one to connect to based on whether:
Other Wi-Fi Sense users have connected to it.
It's a network that you've connected to on your own.
It's provided by your mobile operator.
Along with these factors, it considers the signal strength and quality of the network to try to give you the best Wi-Fi connection at that time.
An open network is a Wi-Fi network that doesn't require a password to connect, which means that the network isn't secure. Anyone can connect to it and other people might see info you send over the network. Many public Wi-Fi hotspots are open networks that fall into this category.
Be careful using an open network to do something online that requires sensitive or personal information, such as making a banking transaction or a purchase. Even if the Wi-Fi network is not open and requires a password or certificate to connect, other people on the network or Internet can still possibly see the info you send unless the connection to the website uses HTTPS. This kind of connection to a website is encrypted and shown with a Lock icon on the address bar in Internet Explorer. You can also use VPN to get an encrypted and more secure connection.
If you're really not sure about the safety of a Wi-Fi network, try these options:
Disconnect from it and try to connect to a Wi-Fi network you trust. In Settings > Wi-Fi, tap and hold the network that you're connected to and then tap Disconnect.
Turn off Wi-Fi while you're doing something that requires sensitive info, and use cellular data instead during that time.
Remember, there are lots of other things you can do on open Wi-Fi that you might feel comfortable doing—like browsing the web, catching up on the news, watching videos online, listening to streaming music, or checking social networks you use (to name just a few things). Wi-Fi is great for things like this and helps you save your cellular data.
To opt your network out of Wi-Fi Sense, change your network name to include the phrase _optout in it—for example, mynetwork_optout. (The network name is often called the SSID.) You can do this if you have an open network, but you don't want Wi-Fi Sense to automatically connect Wi-Fi Sense users to it.
Open your web browser and then enter the address of the configuration webpage for your Wi-Fi router or other access point. The address is usually either http://192.168.0.1 or http://192.168.1.1.
If it's not one of these addresses, you can try a few other things. First, check the bottom of your router or access point, and see if there's a sticker with the address listed on it. If there isn't, you can find the address by typing ipconfig in a command prompt window if you're using Windows (or ifconfig into the command prompt on Mac OS or Linux) and then looking at the address for the Default gateway.
If prompted, enter the administrator user name and password for your router or access point.
If you don't know either one, check the documentation for your router or access point to find the defaults that are used.
On the router configuration webpage, find a text box that's labeled Name, SSID, or something similar, and then type a new network name that has the phrase _optout in it.
To get connected to your Wi-Fi network again when you're done, choose the new network name and then enter your network password when prompted.
- Can't find the Name or SSID box on the router configuration webpage? Look for a section labeled Wireless settings or something similar to that. It might be located in there.
- It can take several days for your network to be added to the opted-out list for Wi-Fi Sense. If you want to stop Wi-Fi Sense from automatically connecting Wi-Fi Sense users to your network sooner than that, you can add a Wi-Fi network password. For more information about how to do that, check the documentation for your router or access point.
- Depending on your router or access point, you might be able to change the name of your network another way. See the documentation for your router to find out.
Article ID: 11693 - Last Review: 17 May 2016 - Revision: 24