Last month I was visiting a friend’s office and was given the password to access their wireless wifi network. I want to use it again, but they’ve changed the access point (base station) name and now I don’t have the password. I can ask, but surely there’s some cool Mac way to recover the old password?
Interesting question! There are a couple of ways to get to this data, including simply using the Keychain Access utility, but probably the easiest way to get to this specific data is to go through Airport System Preferences. Go into the Airport control area of Mac OS X and you’ll find a list of all the different networks you’ve successfully joined in the past, including those with and without passwords.
Let me show you what I mean. Open up System Preferences –> Network –> Airport –> Configure…:
Pick the network you need and click on the little “EDIT” button and a new window pops up with specific information on this network:
Almost there. Now just click on the “Show Password” checkbox, and ….
It’s ugly and confusing because it’s a hex ASCII password, rather than a mnemonic word or name, but it’ll definitely work. If you grab that from the old configuration and copy and paste it into the new configuration when promopted for a password to access the network, you should get in just fine, assuming they didn’t change the password too.
Hope that helps you out on the road to being a kewl, l33t h4x0r3r!
Translation: cool, elite hacker.