How to Change Your Wi-Fi Password on a PC or Mac

Here's how to change your Wi-Fi password on a PC or Mac

You should change your Wi-Fi password regularly to safeguard the security of your network | iStock

There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your home Wi-Fi network, whether you want to improve the signal with the equipment you have or try your luck with a brand-new router. You can also check out whether any speed issues are a result of somebody else stealing your Wi-Fi and slowing it down. But sometimes, you just need to perform a little easy maintenance, like changing your Wi-Fi password. After all, safeguarding your Wi-Fi password is an important part of keeping your network secure, and it’s a great idea to change your password regularly to protect yourself (and to keep your neighbors from stealing your Wi-Fi).

Once your computer is connected to your home Wi-Fi network, it’s pretty easy to forget what the password is when somebody needs it. That’s especially true if you’re following good security protocols and choosing a password that’s long and has at least a few special characters. (Actually, if your Wi-Fi password is so complicated that you forget it as soon as you type it in, that’s probably a good sign for the security of your network.) But no matter how secure your password is, it’s still a good idea to change it regularly.

You can look up the instructions that are specific to your router, but the same basic process for changing your Wi-Fi password applies to most routers. You can change your Wi-Fi password from a PC or a Mac, and it’s usually a good idea to change your Wi-Fi password from your computer instead of your smartphone, since the task is much easier to accomplish on a computer than on a phone.

How to change your Wi-Fi password on a PC

Typing on a PC laptop

Typing on a PC laptop | iStock

If you have a PC, Andy O’Donnell reports for About Tech that one of the easiest ways to change your Wi-Fi password is to open the router’s admin interface in your browser. You can check the manual or the website for specific information about your router. You’ll need to log in with the IP address, the admin name, and the admin password. The first step to change your Wi-Fi password is to find your router’s IP address.

The easiest way to do that on a Windows PC — running Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 — is to use the Command Prompt. To open it, press the Windows Key + R, type cmd, and press Enter. Type ipconfig into the Command Prompt window, press Enter, and you should see the router’s IP address displayed to the right of the “Default Gateway” under your current network connection.

The next thing you’ll need to do is take the IP address, type it into your browser’s address bar, and press Enter. Then, you’ll need to enter the router’s username and password to log in. If you’ve changed the username and password already, you’ll need to enter those. If you’ve set a custom password and can’t remember it, you’ll need to reset the router to its default settings. If you’ve never changed the default admin name or password, you can find them by going to the manufacturer’s website, checking you’re router’s documentation, or doing a Google search for the “default admin username” and “default password” for your specific router. Sometimes, the default password is either “admin” or is just left blank.

Once you’re logged in, you can change your Wi-Fi password, ideally to something as complex and random as possible. You’ll see a field named SSID or Network Name, and also a field called password or passphrase. You should choose a long password, perhaps using a phrase instead of a single word. Once you’ve entered the new network name and password, click Apply or Save to save your settings.

Mihir Patkar reports for MakeUseOf that you can use the Command Prompt to “make a one-time solution which you can check any time in the future” to find your Wi-Fi password (which is useful if you’re sure that you’ll never remember your new password once you reset it). Once you’ve created the batch file, you double-click it anytime to get a command prompt that shows your current password.

How to change your Wi-Fi password on a Mac

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 19: Apple Store employees look at a display of MacBook laptops during a press preview of the new flagship Apple Store on May 19, 2016 in San Francisco, California. Apple is preparing to open its newest flagship store in San Francisco's Union Square on Saturday May 21. The new store features new design elements as well as community programs including the "genius grove" where where customers can get support under a canopy of local trees and "the plaza" a public space that will be open 24 hour a day. Visitors will enter the store through 42-foot tall sliding glass doors.

Apple Store employees | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

How-To Geek reports that on a Mac, you can check or your change your Wi-Fi password right from the Apple menu. Click the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and then click the Network icon. From there, you can select your Wi-Fi (or wired Ethernet) connection, and then click Advanced. Next, select the TCP/IP tab and look for your router’s IP address to the right of “Router:”.

Once you have the IP address, type it into the address bar in your browser and hit Enter. Next, you’ll need to enter the router’s username and password to log in. (If you’ve changed the username and password, you can enter that information. If you haven’t changed them yet, the default password and username are often either “admin” or left blank. If the information isn’t on your router or in its documentation, you can search for the default password for your model online.)

After you’ve logged in, you’ll need to find the Wi-Fi settings and look for a field for the SSID or Network Name and one for the Password or Passphrase. That’s where you can change your Wi-Fi password. It’s a good idea to choose a long Wi-Fi password, perhaps one that uses a phrase instead of a single word, with numbers and special characters. After you enter the new Wi-Fi network name and password, click Apply or Save. If you logged into the router’s web interface via Wi-Fi, the device will disconnect when the router shuts down its old Wi-Fi network and creates a new one. Each device you use will need to reconnect to the Wi-Fi network with the new password.