Updated: August 24, 2014
As smartphones become more widely used, you will find hundreds of apps in the app store related to your device that can help make tasks easier.
Regardless of the type of smartphone you use, you will find many different types of apps that help you to access and improve your Wi-Fi connection. Whenever you browse through the app store for your smartphone, you will find literally hundreds of different apps related to accessing the Internet using a Wi-Fi connection. There is also a selection of apps that help you to improve your Wi-Fi connection and more.
In this article, we will highlight a few of the Wi-Fi apps that are available for different types of smartphones. The apps we will discuss are both free and paid, and include accessing Wi-Fi connections, boosting your Wi-Fi signal, creating hotspots, and more.
Wi-Fi Apps for Android
If you have a smartphone that runs on the Android operating system, there are many Wi-Fi apps that are available for accessing and improving your Wi-Fi connection. This includes connections that use the 802.11 b/g/n standards, as well as 3G and 4G wireless access provided by your cellular carrier.
If you have accessed Wi-Fi with your smartphone for any extended period of time, then you know that there are issues you encounter when accessing the Internet. Many of the Wi-Fi apps are designed to help smartphone users to overcome some of the issues that crop up when you are using your Android to access Wi-Fi connections. Having a set of Wi-Fi tools in your arsenal of apps is beneficial to helping you find and troubleshoot Wi-Fi access points, as well as perform other tasks that make your mobile phone computing experience easier.
If you prefer not to root your Android smartphone, you can still convert your phone to a portable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi hotspot using the FoxFi app without having to sign up for a tethering plan. All you have to do is visit the Google Play Store, install the app, and then activate it.
FoxFi allows you to change the name of your Wi-Fi hotspot and activate a Bluetooth Dial Up network which allows you to access the Internet with another device using your smartphone. Plus, you can access the Wi-Fi connection using a gaming console. You can also set the password for the portable hotspot on your device to prevent others from piggybacking on the service.
Wi-Fi Analyzer is a free Android app that allows you to determine the strength and quality of a Wi-Fi signal. The app helps you find the Wi-Fi hotspots that have the best reception and the strongest signal. It also provides you with the information you need to make adjustments and optimize the connection. Wi-Fi Analyzer will tell you where the weak Wi-Fi access signals are and provides recommendations on what channels are best for you to use with the type of Android phone that you have.
In addition to displaying the Wi-Fi access points that are nearby, you can also use the Wi-Fi Analyzer app to locate the best channel for your wireless router. Wi-Fi Analyzer displays charts that help you compare channels to find the one that is the least crowded. It is also useful for finding the location where a Wi-Fi signal is the strongest, such as in a restaurant or coffee shop.
FCC Speed Test
FCC Speed Test is an app for the Android that allows you to run a test for mobile broadband connections to determine download and upload speeds, as well as identify any issues associated with latency or packet loss. The app allows you track mobile broadband performance in one click and track the performance over a specified time period.
Once you install FCC Speed Test, the app will automatically run in the background on your device and perform tests on any network that you happen to be connected to. This includes Wi-Fi, as well as 3G or 4G connections. FCC Speed Test does not collect personal data but, the app collects data on mobile broadband performance tests in an effort to create maps for other users to access in order to find the best Wi-Fi connections in specific areas.
Free Zone Wi-Fi
If you would like to save on your 3G or 4G wireless plan by accessing free Wi-Fi networks, Free Zone Wi-Fi helps you to find the nearest free Wi-Fi access point. Once the app detects the access point, it will automatically connect you to the network to help you save on the use of 3G and 4G mobile networking.
Free Zone Wi-Fi provides a way to test hotspots to help you save time discovering which free Wi-Fi access points really work. The app also provides you with a map of more than five million hotspots and shows public places near you that offer access to free Wi-Fi,
Wi-Fi Overview 360
Locating the best Wi-Fi connection can be a time consuming task. Wi-Fi Overview 360 saves you time by providing tools for managing and optimizing Wi-Fi networks using a channel radar and checker tool. The app displays a detailed description of available wireless networks and includes the name of the network, channel number, and strength of the signal. It will also tell you whether or not the network uses encryption (WPA, WPA-2) or it is an open network.
The information provided by Wi-Fi Overview 360 allows you to optimize the Wi-Fi connection by locating a frequency range or channel where there are fewer networks connecting to it. The app provides you with a graph of all the available Wi-Fi networks within your range to help you locate the best channel.
If you would like to learn more about Wi-Fi apps for the Android, here are a few more along with demonstrations of how they work.
Wi-Fi Apps for BlackBerry
Although the BlackBerry has decreased in popularity in the last few years, BlackBerry smartphones are still considered to be more secure when it comes to accessing Wi-Fi than other smartphones on the market. Despite the fact that Research in Motion has been experiencing tough times, there are many die-hard BlackBerry users and companies that prefer to access Wi-Fi and use the secure BlackBerry Messenger network. Here are a few BlackBerry Wi-Fi apps that can come in handy with a BlackBerry smartphone.
Free Wi-Fi Cafe Hotspots
Free Wi-Fi Café Hotspots is a BlackBerry app that helps you to identify the nearest Wi-Fi café hotspots and provides access to a database of more than 100,000 locations across the globe. Once you download the app, you can store these locations on your phone without having to access the Internet to find the nearest hotspot. The app covers 140 countries around the globe and helps you to avoid data roaming charges when you are outside of your wireless access range or traveling abroad.
Free Wi-Fi Café Hotspots can be used with or without an Internet connection and does not require GPS capability. You can simply enter a location to discover the nearest free Wi-Fi hotspots in the area. The app also includes a map to help you find the location of the hotspot according to street address.
The SuperPower app for the BlackBerry is designed to help you conserve battery life by turning your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G/4G mobile network on and off at a scheduled time of the day. The app allows you to create up to 64 different schedules for automatically powering your wireless connections on and off.
You can schedule SuperPower to turn on your Wi-Fi connection in the morning or turn it off when you leave the office or your house. If you leave your phone on at night, SuperPower can be programmed to turn off your wireless connections in the evening.
Wi-Fi Monitor is a free app that provides you with details regarding your current Wi-Fi connection. It will monitor any hotspot you are connected to and generate a comprehensive report regarding your connection, including security status. The app helps you to troubleshoot a poor connection and easily helps you locate high speed Wi-Fi networks.
Each time you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, Wi-Fi Monitor provides you with information on the name of the network, rate of data transfer, strength of the signal, and the channel. It also provides you with information on the radio band and categorizes the security status of the Wi-Fi network to help you determine exactly how secure the network is.
Wi-Fi Comrade is an app that provides BlackBerry users with a person Wi-Fi assistant. The app continually monitor’s your smartphone’s connection to the 3G or 4G cellular network and informs you when there is an alternative Wi-Fi network available.
Wi-Fi Comrade is designed to collect information on each unique ID that is transmitted from cell phone towers to determine your current location. The app stores an unlimited number of Wi-Fi networks to notify you when there is an alternative connection available. Then it automatically switches to the Wi-Fi network and powers off once you are outside of the Wi-Fi zone.
Boingo Mobile is an app for the BlackBerry that that helps you to find Wi-Fi hotspots that are within range. When the app locates a hotspot, it will ask you if you want to connect to it. It is designed to help you save on data charges and connect to the Internet when the 3G or 4G coverage is limited.
Once you download Boingo Mobile from their website, you have access to a network of more than 100,000 hotspots. The app is free however, you must subscribe to Boingo’s Mobile Wi-Fi monthly service which is quite inexpensive when compared to other mobile wireless plans.
Overall, if you use a BlackBerry device, you will find the selection of Wi-Fi apps rather limited. It seems the app developers are focusing more on the Android and iPhone when it comes to creating a wide selection of different types of Wi-Fi apps.
Wi-Fi Apps for the iPhone
Like other smartphones on the market, the iPhone has its own selection of apps including those that assist you with Wi-Fi connectivity. When you search for Wi-Fi apps for the iPhone, you will find there is no shortage in apps that cover different purposes for addressing Wi-Fi issues. Here are a few of the Wi-Fi apps that are available for the iPhone.
Free Wi-Fi Finder
Free Wi-Fi Finder is an iPhone app that will help you to search for the nearest Wi-Fi hotspots, regardless of your location. The app locates hotspots that are both free and paid, and works in conjunction with your GPS.
The app provides filtering tools that allow you to filter searches and map view results according to venue type. You also have access to more than 100,000 free public Wi-Fi hotspot locations with ability to download locations for offline use. This prevents you from having to endure roaming charges and you can still locate Wi-Fi access points without Internet access.
WiFiTrak is a free app for the iPhone that helps you find the nearest free and open public Wi-Fi access hotspots. The app is capable of scanning for Wi-Fi devices and available networks in the area. Once it locates the hotspots, it will perform a test on each one to ensure that the access point is usable. You can then use the sorting feature to sort the nearest access points in terms of the most accessible to the least accessible.
WiFiTrak can be configured to display the network channel, MAC address, strength of the signal, type of authentication, and amount of network noise. You can also choose from a variety of notification sounds and configure the app to automatically open the Safari web browser or launch your email. Additionally, you can set the preferences to automatically connect to the nearest network and set limitations for minimal signal strength.
Fing Network Scanner
Fing Network Scanner is a free app for the iPhone that allows you to determine what devices are connected to your wireless network. The app is a network analysis tool with a user friendly interface that provides tools that evaluate the security levels for any wireless network, identify unwanted intruders, and solve network problems.
Fing Network Scanner provides you with information on the MAC address and device manufacturer and a search function that allows you to search by manufacturer, IP address, MAC address, and device name. Then you can print reports using AirPrint.
The Service Scan feature identifies any open ports that may present a vulnerability. Additionally, you can launch apps according to specific ports and track when a device has connected to the network or gone offline.
Hotspot Shield VPN
Hotspot Shield VPN is an iPhone app that allows you to keep your online mobile activities safe. The app allows you to access video, media, and messaging apps across the globe and provides an unlimited amount of Virtual Private Network (VPN) bandwidth.
Hotspot Shield VPN hides your IP address to improve privacy when browsing the Internet and secures your wireless connection with https encryption. The app can be used in other countries thanks to dedicated servers and provides you with unrestricted access to messaging apps and VoIP services such as Skype.
Skype Wi-Fi is a free iPhone app that allows you to access more than two million Wi-Fi hotspots across the globe and then pay per minute with Skype Credit. The app is more convenient than being straddled with roaming charges when you are traveling internationally.
You can easily access any Wi-Fi connection by tapping once to connect and then you only pay for the time you are online. Before you connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot, you can see the price it will cost to connect to that particular hotspot.
The hotspots are located in restaurants, airports, hotels, transportation hubs, and more, with access to unlimited data downloads and uploads. All you have to do is download the app, sign in with your Skype account, and then tap to access the Internet. In the event you are not connected to a compatible network, the app provides you with alternative networks that support the use of Skype Wi-Fi.
As a precaution, always make sure that you investigate the source of the app and the developer before downloading and installing any Wi-Fi app. A recent news release on a Wi-Fi map app revealed that some of the networks listed on the app were potentially setup by cyber criminals for the purpose of stealing personal information from unsuspecting users. Just because the network is listed on a map, always make a point of using caution before you decide to connect.
That said, these are some of the trustworthy Wi-Fi apps you can use with your smartphone to access the Internet and improve your Wi-Fi connection.