Connect automatically to public Wi-Fi networks

Starting October 4, 2021: Google Fi no longer automatically connects users to public Wi-Fi networks. You can still auto-connect to any Wi-Fi networks that you connected to manually. To receive notifications when you come in range of a public Wi-Fi network, in the Android device’s Wi-Fi settings, turn on Notify for public networks.

Also, Fi continues to automatically connect Unlimited users to Google Fi Wi-Fi hotspots.

You can automatically connect to public Wi-Fi networks that we verify as fast and reliable. Wi-Fi assistant makes these secure connections for you.

Wi-Fi assistant works on:

Note: Some of these steps work only on Android 8.1 and up. Learn how to check your Android version.

Turn on or off

Turn on

Set to automatically connect to public networks

  1. Open your phone's Settings app.
  2. Tap Network & internet And then Wi-Fi And then Wi-Fi preferences.
  3. Turn on Connect to public networks.

When connected via Wi-Fi assistant

  • Your notifications bar shows the Wi-Fi assistant virtual private network (VPN) key .
  • Your Wi-Fi connection says: "Auto-connected to public Wi-Fi."
Tip: Wi-Fi assistant is off by default, unless you have Google Fi.
Disconnect or turn off

Disconnect from the current network

  1. Open your phone's Settings app.
  2. Tap Network & internet And then Wi-Fi And then the network name.
  3. Tap Forget.

Turn off Wi-Fi assistant

  1. Open your phone's Settings app.
  2. Tap Google And then Mobile data & messaging And then Networking.
  3. Turn off Wi-Fi assistant.

Fix issues

Where available

On Pixel and Nexus devices using Android 5.1 and up:

  • Wi-Fi assistant is available in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, and the UK.
  • If you have Google Fi, Wi-Fi assistant is also available in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.
App doesn't work while connected

Some apps don't work over this kind of secure connection. For example:

  • Apps that limit use by location, like some sports and video apps
  • Some Wi-Fi calling apps (other than Google Fi)

To use apps that don't work with this kind of connection:

  1. Disconnect from the Wi-Fi network. Learn how to disconnect.
  2. Manually reconnect to the Wi-Fi network. Learn how to connect manually.
    Important: Other people using a public network could see data sent to that network via a manual connection.

When you reconnect manually, the app will see your location.

Can't connect to public network

If you can't connect to a nearby public network via Wi-Fi assistant, it could be because:

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

Try these solutions:

  • If Wi-Fi assistant doesn't connect automatically, connect manually. Learn how to connect manually.
    Important: Other people using a public network could see data sent to that network via a manual connection.
  • If you'd already connected to the network manually, "forget" the network. Wi-Fi assistant will then re-connect automatically. Learn how to "forget" a network.
Shows "Device connected to Wi-Fi assistant" message

To help make public Wi-Fi networks safer, Wi-Fi assistant uses a virtual private network (VPN). The VPN helps protect your data from being seen by other people using the public network. When a VPN is on for Wi-Fi assistant, you’ll see a "Device connected to Wi-Fi assistant" 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

Important: Wi-Fi providers may still have access to:

  • Internet traffic information, like traffic size
  • Device information, like your operating system or MAC address

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