Free Wi-Fi apps available for tablets include the wefi app, OpenSignal Wi-Fi and Open W-Fi Finder. These apps analyze Wi-Fi signals in the area and search for open, unprotected or public networks. Any available networks are then displayed for the user to choose from and connect.
Apps that search for open Wi-Fi signals are called Wi-Fi finders. The types of Wi-Fi signals that are picked up by finder apps are private unsecured home networks, unsecured business networks and public hot spots. Using a finder app to connect to open Wi-Fi networks is a common way to save on mobile data usage or achieve a connection when a mobile network is unreachable.
Many cable companies, such as Xfinity, have public hot spots available as a way to promote their service. Subscribers may also have access to "customers only" hot spots that require a current subscription account to access. These types of hot spots may be filtered out by finder apps for individuals who are not subscribed to the required service. Additionally, it is possible to save passwords and account information for future use by those who are subscribers.
Businesses known for providing free Wi-Fi include Starbucks, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Denny's, Applebees and Dunkin' Donuts.