How to Find WiFi Passwords on Linux, Windows and Mac

Connecting securely to the internet requires you to have a preconfigured access point through which you can securely connect to the world wide web. These are usually a variation of the WPA protocol that includes Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2), and Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) with the second one being the most ubiquitous.

Thankfully, it also has the real advantage of being encrypted by the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) standard and with a designated enterprise variant, WPA2 Enterprise.

Now when it comes to what these systems have in common, they all use a standard password preconfigured from the router for easier connectivity and this article will be showing you how to find the password post-configuration in your designated system control panel.

Find Connected WiFi Password in Linux

The greatest advantage of Linux systems is the interoperability of software across multiple distributions and this case is no different as you can mostly get away with the configuration below to figure out the password of your currently connected WiFi.

In order to keep it simple, we will stick with this easy method that should work across any POSIX compliant operating system irrespective of the base system.

For the majority of Linux systems including Ubuntu, use the command below – the command requires you to be actively connected to a wireless network to get the output you expect as well as being run as the root user:

# nmcli device wifi show-password

or find the list of available SSIDs first using the command below.

# iwgetid 
# nmcli -g NAME connection show

Then, find the specific password for the wireless network of choice.

# nmcli -s -g 802-11-wireless-security.psk connection show <specific-network-SSID>

Alternatively, use the command below to display all the passwords for the WiFi networks on your system.

$ sudo grep -r '^psk=' /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/

Depending on your operating system, you may require a slight modification. In this case, we’re interested in the specific /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections root directory where you will find a designated file for all the networks you’ve connected to in the past.

For other Linux systems, you’ll mostly find the details in this directory: /etc/NetworkManager. Essentially other derivatives that the above command may not work for, use the command below:

$ sudo cat /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/<Wireless-Network>.nmconnection

Find Connected WiFi Password in Windows

Finding your connected WiFi passwords in Windows can be done via your network settings under the control panel. Head over to the Windows start menu and search for the control panel, once opened, go ahead to your specific network properties, and under the security tab, you will find your specific wifi password.

Essentially: > Wireless Properties > Security > Show characters.

Find Connected WiFi Password in Mac

The process of finding the details of your connected network is rather simple when it comes to Macs. Use the key combination, Command + Space to quickly bring up your spotlight.

Alternatively, you can search your system preferences for “keychain access”, and open the designated app after which you’ll proceed with the specific name of the wifi network of which you’re trying to get the specific password for.

This could be a new network or even networks you’ve connected to in the past. Continue by double-clicking the wifi network you intend to get the password for.

Jesse is that tech enthusiast you never heard of...he's mainly into things relating to Linux and Android and has an unending passion for both platforms which is why he writes about them.

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