Use captive Wi-Fi networks on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Learn how to use captive Wi-Fi networks on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Captive Wi-Fi networks are public Wi-Fi networks that you subscribe to or pay to use. These networks are also called "subscription" or "Wi-Fi Hotspot" networks. You can find captive Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops, Internet cafes, hotels, airports, and other public locations. In some countries, captive networks are sponsored and maintained by wireless carriers (like AT&T wireless hotspots in Starbucks).

Join a captive Wi-Fi network

Joining a captive Wi-Fi network is similar to joining any other Wi-Fi network.

  1. Tap Settings > Wi-Fi.
  2. Tap the name of the network you want to join. You'll see a Log In screen.

To use the captive Wi-Fi service, you might need to enter a username and password, enter an email address, or acknowledge terms and conditions (or, see what happens if you tap Cancel). Options vary depending on the captive Wi-Fi provider. You might see options like this:

Example of a Log In screen you might see on your iPhone.Example of a Log In screen you might see on your iPhone.

You can also join a captive network by tapping next to the network's name. Then tap Join Network.

Join Network option on Wi-Fi screen.

After you log in, you should be able to access the Internet. Fees and other charges might apply when you use captive Wi-Fi networks. Contact the network provider for more information.

If you cancel before logging in to the network

Tapping Cancel on the Log In screen disassociates the device from the captive Wi-Fi network.

If you joined the network from the Wi-Fi screen using the  button, or you joined less than eight minutes ago, you'll see a message telling you the network isn't connected to the Internet. You can choose one of these options:

  • Use Without Internet: this option will dismiss the Welcome screen, turn off Auto-Login for the network, keep your device associated with the network, and allow you to interact with the network in other ways.
  • Use Other Network: this option will dismiss the Welcome screen, disassociate your device from the network, and return you to the Wi-Fi Settings screen. From there, you can choose a different network.
  • Cancel: this option will return you to the Welcome screen.

Join Wi-Fi networks automatically

Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will remember the network and login information so you can automatically reconnect to that network when you're in range.

If your device doesn't automatically join a captive Wi-Fi network, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings > Wi-Fi
  2. Tap  next to the network name.
  3. Make sure Auto-Join is turned on.
    Auto-Join option on in Wi-Fi settings.

Turn Auto-Join off if you don't want to connect automatically. Turn Auto-Login off to skip the Welcome screen the next time you connect to the network. 

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified:
72% of people found this helpful.

Additional Product Support Information

Start a Discussion

in Apple Support Communities
See all questions on this article See all questions I have asked
United States (English)