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Using Wi-Fi Networks to Connect to the Internet

Much of the iPhone’s amazing functionality relies on an Internet connection. Fortunately, you can easily connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi networks to get to the Internet, and Wi-Fi networks are available just about everywhere these days.

Almost all Wi-Fi networks broadcast their information so that you can easily see them with your iPhone; these are called open networks because anyone who is in range can attempt to join one since they appear on Wi-Fi devices automatically. The Wi-Fi networks you can access in public places (such as airports and hotels) are all open, and you can see them on your iPhone. Likewise, any Wi-Fi networks in your home or office are very likely to be open as well. Connecting to an open network typically requires selecting the network you want to join, based on its name, and then entering its password (if required).

By default, when you access one of your iPhone’s Internet functions, such as Safari, your iPhone automatically searches for Wi-Fi networks to join, if you aren’t already connected to one. A box appears showing all the networks available. You can select and join one of these networks. You learn how to do this in the following steps.

Connecting to Open Wi-Fi Networks

To connect to a Wi-Fi network, perform the following steps:

  • circle-01.jpg On the Home screen, tap Settings. Next to Wi-Fi, you see the status of your Wi-Fi connection. It is Off if Wi-Fi is turned off, Not Connected if Wi-Fi is turned on and your phone isn’t currently connected to Wi-Fi, or the name of the Wi-Fi network to which your iPhone is connected.

  • circle-02.jpg Tap Wi-Fi.

  • circle-03.jpg If Wi-Fi isn’t enabled already, slide the Wi-Fi switch to on (green) to allow your iPhone to start searching for available networks. When Wi-Fi is turned on, a list of available networks is displayed in the CHOOSE A NETWORK section (it can take a moment or two for your iPhone to list all the networks in the area). Along with each network’s name, icons indicating whether it requires a password (the padlock icon) to join and the current signal strength (the radio signal icon) are displayed.

  • circle-04.jpg Tap the network you want to join. If a network requires a password, you must know what that password is to be able to join it. Another consideration should be signal strength; the more waves in the network’s signal strength icon, the stronger the connection will be.

  • circle-05.jpg At the prompt, enter the password for the network. If you aren’t prompted for a password, you selected a network that doesn’t require one and you can skip to step 7. You’re likely to find networks that don’t require a password in public places (hotels, airports, and so on); see the next section for information on using these types of networks.
  • circle-06.jpg Tap Join. If you provided the correct password, your iPhone connects to the network and gets the information it needs to connect to the Internet. If not, you’re prompted to enter the password again. After you successfully connect to the network, you return to the Wi-Fi screen.

  • circle-07.jpg Review the network information. The network to which you are connected appears just below the Wi-Fi switch and is marked with a check mark. You also see the signal strength for that network. (This indication is typically more accurate than the one you see before you are connected.) Assuming the Wi-Fi network is providing Internet access, you’re able to use apps that require the Internet to work.

  • circle-08.jpg Try to move to a web page, such as www.weather.com, to test your Wi-Fi connection. (See Chapter 13, “Surfing the Web,” for details on using the web browser.) If the web page opens, you are ready to use the Internet on your phone. If you are taken to a login web page for a Wi-Fi provider, rather than the page you were trying to access, see the next task. If you see a message saying the Internet is not available, there is a problem with the network you joined. Go back to step 4 to select a different network.

Connecting to Public Wi-Fi Networks

Many Wi-Fi networks in public places, such as hotels or airports, require that you pay a fee or provide other information to access the Internet through that network; even if access is free, you usually have to accept the terms and conditions for the network to be able to use it.

When you connect to one of these public networks, you’re prompted to provide whatever information is required. This can involve different details for different networks, but the general steps are the same. You’re prompted to provide whatever information is required. Then, follow the instructions that appear.

Following are the general steps to connect to many types of public Wi-Fi networks:

  • circle-01.jpg Use the steps in the previous task to move to and tap the public network you want to join. The iPhone connects to the network, and you see the Log In screen for that network.

  • circle-02.jpg If prompted to do so, provide the information required to join the network, such as a name and room number. If a fee is required, you’ll have to provide payment information. In almost all cases, you at least have to indicate that you accept the terms and conditions for using the network, which you typically do by checking a check box.
  • circle-03.jpg Tap the button to join the network. This button can have different labels depending on the type of access, such as Authenticate, Done, Free Access, Login, and so on.

  • circle-04.jpg Try to move to a web page, such as www.wikipedia.org, to test your Wi-Fi connection. (See Chapter 13 for details.) If the web page opens, you are ready to use the Internet on your phone. If you are taken to a login web page for the Wi-Fi network’s provider, you need to provide the required information to be able to use the Internet.

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