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View Saved Wi-Fi (WPA, WEP) Passwords on OS X

Almost everyone with a laptop has likely connected to several different wireless networks over time. I travel a lot and take my laptop with me wherever I go, so there are literally over a hundred wireless networks stored on my Mac. This is great because I can easily connect to these wireless networks whenever I find myself in range again, even if it happens six months later.

However, there are times when I need to know the password for the Wi-Fi network, usually because I need to connect another device to the network, such as my iPhone or iPad. I can’t remember this password in any way on any other Wi-Fi network other than mine, so I need to get it somewhere else. If your computer is already connected to the network, it makes sense to just find the key from there.

Fortunately, this is very easy to do in OS X. All passwords, certificates, and other security information are stored in Keychain Access. This is where all your saved passwords for websites, connections to network devices, and more are stored.

Find the stored WiFi password using the Keychain

First, open Keychain Access by searching in Spotlight or by going to Applications – Utilities.

When Keychain Access opens, you’ll see a list of default login items in the left column. This list includes application passwords, Internet passwords, network passwords, and web form passwords.

To find passwords for wireless networks, you need to click on “System” in the top left menu. They should all be categorized as AirPort network passwords.

Now, to view the actual password, double-click the selected wireless network. You will see a pop-up window that will show the name of the network and some other details. At the bottom, you will see the Show password checkbox. Go ahead and check it out.

Before you can see the password, you will need to enter your OS X password, after which another dialog will pop up saying that OS X wants to make changes. Enter your admin username and password to enable this.

You will need to re-enter your username and password for OS X. I’m not sure why it took twice, but this is how it works on Mavericks at the moment. Once you do this, you will finally receive your saved Wi-Fi password!

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