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Connect automatically to open Wi-Fi networks

To stay connected in places where your cell connection isn't as strong, you can have your phone or tablet automatically connect to open Wi-Fi networks that we've verified as fast and reliable. Wi-Fi assistant is a free service that makes these connections for you securely.

Note: Wi-Fi assistant is available only on Pixel phones and Nexus devices running Android 5.1 and up in selected countries. See what Android version you have and where Wi-Fi assistant works.

Turn Wi-Fi assistant on or off

Turn on Wi-Fi assistant

Wi-Fi assistant is off by default, unless you have Project Fi.

Set your device to connect to open networks automatically

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings.
  2. Tap Google.
  3. Tap Networking.
  4. Next to "Wi-Fi assistant," tap the On/Off switch.

When your device is connected via Wi-Fi assistant

  • Your notifications bar shows the virtual private network (VPN) key VPN secure Wi-Fi.
  • Your Wi-Fi connection says: "Connected via Wi-Fi assistant."
Disconnect from a network or turn off Wi-Fi assistant

You can disconnect from a specific network or turn off Wi-Fi assistant at any time.

Disconnect from a network to which you were automatically connected

If Wi-Fi assistant connected you to a network that you don't want to connect to again, you can "forget" that network.

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi.
  3. Touch & hold the name of the Wi-Fi network.
  4. Tap Forget network.

Turn off Wi-Fi assistant

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings.
  2. Tap Google.
  3. Tap Networking.
  4. Next to "Wi-Fi assistant," tap the On/Off switch.

Troubleshoot Wi-Fi assistant

Where Wi-Fi assistant is available

Wi-Fi assistant is available on Pixel phones and Nexus devices running Android 5.1 and up in the US, Canada, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, and the UK.

If you have Project Fi, Wi-Fi assistant is also available in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.

An app isn't working while connected via Wi-Fi assistant

Apps that limit use to specific locations, like certain sports and video apps, may not work over this kind of secure connection.

If this happens, you can:

  1. Disconnect from the Wi-Fi network.
  2. Reconnect to the Wi-Fi network manually.
    Important: Other users of an open network may see data sent to that network via a manual connection.

When you reconnect manually, the app should be able to see your location.

Can't connect to an open network via Wi-Fi assistant

You might not be able to connect to a nearby open network via Wi-Fi assistant because:

  • We haven't verified that the network is high-quality and reliable.
  • Wi-Fi assistant doesn't connect to networks to which you've already connected manually.
  • Wi-Fi assistant doesn't connect to networks that need you to take steps to connect with, like signing in.

Try these solutions:

  • If Wi-Fi assistant doesn't connect automatically, you can choose to connect to the Wi-Fi network manually.
    Important: Other users of an open network may see data sent to that network via a manual connection.
  • If you'd already connected to the network manually, you can "forget" the network. Wi-Fi assistant will then re-connect automatically.
"Network may be monitored" message

To make open Wi-Fi networks safer, Wi-Fi assistant uses a virtual private network (VPN). The VPN protects your data from being seen by other users of the open network. 

When a VPN is active, you’ll see a "Network may be monitored" message. Google monitors system data. When you're securely connected to a website (by HTTPS), VPN operators, like Google, can't record your content. Google uses system data sent through VPN connections to:

  • Provide and improve Wi-Fi assistant, including the virtual private network (VPN)
  • Monitor for abuse
  • Comply with applicable laws and regulations, or as required by court or government orders

Related links

Amy

Amy is an Android expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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