Wi-Fi has become ubiquitous these days. You can even use various services to find free Wi-Fi hotspots near you. While this is mostly a boon, it also means that there are way too many signals competing in the same space.
Your smartphone factors in various details like signal strength, Wi-Fi’s security level, network stability, etc. and then connects to the Wi-Fi network that it thinks is the best. But amid so many Wi-Fi hotspots, your phone may sometimes have a tough time deciding which network to connect to.
Fortunately, you can take control over this process by prioritizing Wi-Fi networks, thereby ensuring that your smartphone connects to the best available Wi-Fi network. This can help you achieve consistent connectivity and allow you to transition smoothly between available Wi-Fi networks.
Today we’ll see how to prioritize Wi-Fi networks on an Android device as well as on the iPhone.
Set Wi-Fi Network Priority on Android Devices
Android has two routes you can take depending on which device you have. You can try looking for the built-in setting, and if that doesn’t work, then try the other option.
Prioritize Networks Using Built-In Settings
Some custom Android ROMs (like CyanogenMod) come with a built-in setting to set Wi-Fi network priority. To check if your ROM has one, open Settings > Wi-Fi. Tap on the overflow menu, and then tap on Advanced Wi-Fi. If you see a Wi-Fi Priority option, you can specify the priority of Wi-Fi networks here.
Stock Android does not seem to have this built-in option. But don’t worry, you can use third-party apps to accomplish the same thing.
Prioritize Networks Using WiFi Prioritizer
WiFi Prioritizer is a free app that lets you set Wi-Fi connection priority on Android devices. It periodically monitors for signal strength and switches between Wi-Fi networks accordingly.
After installing the app, open it and turn on Enable Scheduled Job. You should see a list of all the saved Wi-Fi networks. The networks on the top of the list have a higher priority than the ones at the bottom. Here, you can drag the networks in the order you want to connect to them.
By default, it scans for new Wi-Fi networks every 60 seconds and switches accordingly. If you’d like to change this refresh interval, tap on the overflow menu and then tap on Settings. Tap on Refresh Interval and set any time between 5 seconds to 30 minutes. Lower values will enable faster switching, albeit at the cost of battery life.
In the same settings, you can change the minimum signal strength to connect to the network. If a network with higher priority is available, and if a signal is better than this value, then it’ll switch to the higher priority network. It can also check for internet connectivity on the current network. If there’s no internet connectivity on the current network, it will automatically switch to the next available network.
If you want to disable Wi-Fi Prioritizer temporarily, you can toggle Enable Scheduled Job to off. To disable it permanently, simply uninstall the app.
Download: WiFi Prioritizer (Free)
Set Wi-Fi Network Priority on iPhone
There’s no way of setting Wi-Fi network priority directly on the iPhone. However, if you have a Mac, you can prioritize the networks on your Mac, and then sync it with your iPhone.
Before proceeding, make sure to sign in with the same Apple ID on both the devices. Also, make sure that iCloud Sync is turned on. To verify this, open System Preferences on your Mac. Click on iCloud and make sure that Keychain is checked.
On your iPhone, open Settings and tap on the name banner at the top. Navigate to iCloud > Keychain and turn it on.
Now that we have verified the prerequisites, here’s how to set Wi-Fi network priority on the iPhone.
On your Mac, click on the Wi-Fi menu bar icon and click Open Network Preferences. Next, click on Advanced.
Here, you should see the list of saved Wi-Fi networks. The networks on the top of the list have a higher priority than the ones at the bottom. You can drag networks into the order you want to connect to. Click OK after you are done.
Now, your preferences should be saved and then synced seamlessly with your iPhone. If you have trouble syncing them with your iPhone, verify that you’re signed in with the same Apple ID on both devices and iCloud Keychain is turned on.
While this method isn’t difficult per se, its dependence on having a Mac makes it a little inconvenient. There’s no denying that the Mac and iPhone work great together, but it leaves out iPhone owners who prefer using Windows. Hopefully, Apple adds a way to change Wi-Fi network priority directly on the iPhone.
Prioritize Wi-Fi Networks for Consistent Connectivity
Earlier, my Android phone would stay connected to a Wi-Fi network until the last bit of the signal died off. It wouldn’t connect to another available Wi-Fi network, even though other networks had a stronger network.
Using Wi-Fi Prioritizer on Android, I spent some time tweaking the settings and eventually found a setting combination that works. Now, my Android phone switches between Wi-Fi networks more seamlessly than ever before.
Did you try prioritizing Wi-Fi networks on your Android or iPhone? Did it help in making your Wi-Fi network switching hassle-free? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.