Apple introduces Wi-Fi sharing in iOS 11

iPhone hand

There are lots of new features in iOS 11 that will make the operating system more usable on iPhones and iPads. Apple has not previewed all of them at WWDC 2017 though, with one of the lesser-known additions being Wi-Fi sharing.

Normally, when you have guests who want to use your Wi-Fi you have to tell them the password so they can connect to the network. However, for iOS 11 users, the Wi-Fi sharing functionality removes this step from the process, letting you wirelessly send the password to their iPhones and iPads. How does it work?

The idea is simple: when you are connected to your Wi-Fi, your iOS 11 device will identify other iPhones and iPads running this version of iOS that are trying to connect to the network.

Then, when that happens, iOS 11 will display a "Share Your Wi-Fi" menu on your device, asking you if you want to share the password for the Wi-Fi. If you agree, your guests' iPhones and iPads will be able to connect right away, as the password field populates automatically.

Obviously, all devices must be on iOS 11 for this feature to work, as noted by 9to5Mac. You also have to unlock your iPhone or iPad before you can share your Wi-Fi connection, for security reasons.

It is interesting that Apple has opted to include such a feature after the backlash Microsoft had to deal with for having the Wi-Fi Sense feature in Windows Phone and Windows. However, there is a notable difference between the two implementations.

Whereas Wi-Fi Sense automatically shares the Wi-Fi credentials with all your contacts, the Wi-Fi sharing feature in iOS 11 requires you to manually accept each iPhone and iPad that wants to connect to your network.

Also, in the former case contacts can connect when in range, in the latter they first have to be nearby (close to you, in your home) to connect. In this sense (no pun intended), Apple's implementation looks to be safer.

Photo credit: guteksk7 / Shutterstock

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