Have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad? Check out these Wi-Fi apps. They can help you find and connect to Wi-Fi hotspots, transfer or access files via Wi-Fi, communicate over the airwaves, survey your wireless network, or go on a war drive.
The JiWire Wi-Fi Finder app gives you access to the JiWire public Wi-Fi hotspot directory, the world’s largest directory with over 320,000 free and paid locations across 140 countries. You can download the entire directory to your iOS device so you can view it offline, and it will automatically get weekly updates.
It can use your GPS to show you locations nearby on a list or map. You can filter the results based upon the location type, such as café, hotel/resort or bar. Selecting a hotspot’s details lets you view the address, phone number with easy calling, directions, and the ability to add to hotspot favorites or share with others.
If you don’t find your favorite location, add it to the JiWire database directly from the app.
This helps you find and connect to Boingo public Wi-Fi hotspots, a network of over 200,000 locations worldwide via thousands of partner Wi-Fi providers, including AT&T and T-Mobile. Though the app is free you must sign up for a Boingo Mobile account for $7.95 per month to access all the locations via your iOS device. Unlimited US access for your laptop runs $9.95 per month or $17.90 for both phone and laptop access.
The Boingo Wi-Fi Credits app enables you to buy and use Wi-Fi credits for the Boingo Wi-Fi hotspot network using your iTunes account. One credit equals one continuous hour of Internet access at Boingo’s 200,000+ locations, and the company gives you one credit for free. Once you’re at a hotspot, you log in to redeem credits and get online, and possibly purchase more credits.
This helps you find and connect to Wi-Fi hotspots in the iPass Wi-Fi hotspot network. iPass has over 140,000 locations in 80 countries, including many major airports, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Borders Bookstores. The app provides easy login to their hotspots and gives you the hotspot directory.
Keep in mind; you must already have an existing iPass account to use the app.
This helps you find and connect to the Easy WiFi hotspot network of over 300,000 free locations. Plus it can automate the login process to other hotspot providers you have accounts with. Enter the login credentials for each provider once and then it will automatically log you in each time you connect.
File Transferring and Printing
This turns your iOS device into a Wi-Fi hard drive. Connect to a Wi-Fi network and bring up the app. Then you can browse and manage the files on your device via a web browser on any other device or computer connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Use it like a flash drive: take files on the go, share them with friends, or backup important documents.
Like WiFi HD, this app turns your device into a Wi-Fi hard drive. In addition to being able to view and manage files via a Web browser, you can mount it as a drive in Windows, Mac or Linux for even easier access. It also lets you view and email documents, enable password protection of the remote access, and provide a public folder for guest access.
The Pro version gives you even more features. You can connect to your computer, mount online/remote file servers (Dropvox, MobileMe iDisk, and more), and perform advanced file operations.
Print n Share runs for $8.99 and lets you view, store, and print the files, emails, photos, contacts, calendar, and webpages on your iOS device. It also has an integrated email client, Wi-Fi hard drive, iDisk and WebDAV support, and remote storage support. You can print directly to most Wi-Fi-enabled printers and print to any printer with the free software that installs on the computer.
This app lets you easily transfer contacts, photos, videos, documents, and more between iOS devices and Mac OS X computers. Connect to the same Wi-Fi network or transfer via Bluetooth.
The free Mover Lite supports sending and receiving contacts and photos, and receiving videos, documents, text clippings, and bookmarks from users of Mover+ ($1.99). To send and receive all supported items, Mover+ is required on both devices.
This simple, yet neat, app lets you talk between two iOS devices. Just connect to the same Wi-Fi network, open the app, and it will automatically connect the devices. Then just press the button to talk.
This makes your iOS device into a wireless media player or headphones. Install the free AudioServer onto a PC and then hear the music or audio from the PC (Windows Media Player, iTunes, etc) on your mobile device with the AudioIn app ($2.99). Plug in your headphones or into a stereo system.
The Line2 app lets you make calls and SMS texting over Wi-Fi or 3G, in addition to the cellular network from one new number. It features call waiting, hold, transfer, and conferencing. It also features live call switching between 3G and Wi-Fi. Try it free for 30 days and then it’s $9.95 per month. It also works on iPod Touch and iPad.
The iNet app ($0.99) scans the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to and lists the details of detected devices and Bonjour services, such as the IP address and MAC address. It automatically stores the last ten scans. You can also save or email scan reports. You can also run port scans and pings to particular devices or computers.
The iNet Pro version ($5.99) adds Wake-on-LAN and Sleep-on-LAN features.
Scany ($1.99) is another network surveying, diagnostic and security tool. It scans a Wi-Fi network for over 15 parameters. It features ping, traceroute analyzer, remote wake, and WHOIS. It also includes Wake on LAN, Wi-Fi, or over the Internet.
This app ($19.99 with free trial) lets you do Wi-Fi tethering by broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal. It also gives you the ability to do USB tethering. You and/or others can connect other mobile devices or laptops to the iOS device to use its Internet connection. You can secure the access with WEP encryption.
Keep in mind, this app is not available in the official Apple App Store. Your iOS device must be jailbroken. Then you can purchase and install via Cydia.
This app scan the air waves and shows all the nearby Wi-Fi networks and their details, such as SSID, signal (including raw RSSI), encryption status, and MAC address. It supports GPS logging, saving and emailing results, and exporting results (including NetStumbler). You can optionally ignore secure or hidden networks and sort by signal strength.
This is another stumbler that scans for and shows Wi-Fi networks. In addition to a text listing, you can see a map view of detected spots. You can optionally ignore and/or not map WEP, WPA, hidden, or ad-hoc networks.
Eric Geier is the founder of NoWiresSecurity, which helps businesses easily protect their Wi-Fi with enterprise-level encryption. He is also the author of many networking and computing books, for brands such as For Dummies and Cisco Press.