Google knows that very few people are good with typing in long passages on tiny smartphone keyboards. That’s why they built speech-to-text translation into every modern Android phone. But most Wi-Fi passwords aren’t the kind you can say out loud, or at least they shouldn’t be pronounceable. So an app like Wi-Fi PC Sync is kind of a lifesaver, even if you only use it once.
Wi-Fi PC Sync does just one thing: it takes all the stored Wi-Fi passwords on your Windows computer and transfers them over to your Android phone. That means that whenever your Android phone is near a Wi-Fi network that your computer has previously logged into, your phone will connect automatically, assuming its Wi-Fi scanner is turned on.
When your Android is connected to Wi-Fi, it generally moves quicker on the Internet, uses less battery power, and can provide a more accurate and quick location to apps that try to geo-locate you. Even if Wi-Fi PC Sync only provides one or two passwords to your phone that you can never remember, or saves you just a bit of battery life, it’s the kind of long-tail upgrade that’s worth the very small investment.
I’m always a bit surprised to discover how many people with new Android phones have yet to even turn on their Wi-Fi capability, let alone connect to their home and office networks. All smartphones benefit from Wi-Fi connectivity, but phone designers don’t go out of their way to make Wi-Fi a second-nature kind of service. It’s the top-most item in the iPhone’s Settings list, but it’s still tucked away in the Settings.
Android phones offer a Power Control widget you can use to quickly toggle Wi-Fi on and off, but that widget is one that most non-Nexus phone owners have to discover and place on their screens themselves. Android phones also offer a synchronization with your Google account, such that Wi-Fi passwords are stored and synced to any future Android devices you fire up, but I’ve found that Wi-Fi password syncing is not rock-solid dependable.
So grab Wi-Fi PC Sync from the Android Market, for free, and install it on your Windows laptop and Android phone. For now, it’s a nice solution to a problem Google should address more enthusiastically in future Android upgrades. (A hearty hat tip to Lifehacker for pointing out this little Android gem).
Kevin Purdy is a freelance writer, a former editor at Lifehacker.com, and the author of The Complete Android Guide.