While steps to use a free Wi-Fi application vary, it's often as simple as installing the app and following a set of on-screen prompts. Free Zone or WeFi automatically find and connect to free hot spots, while others such as Hotspotio share portable hot spots between devices.
The effectiveness of any free Wi-Fi app depends on the coverage in the area. Increasingly, public areas such as subways, stores and even bus stops include free Wi-Fi, but outside of cities, options are more limited. One of the main benefits of using an app to connect to Wi-Fi networks instead of searching for them manually is that in an area with little wireless coverage, it avoids the need to spend time checking and rechecking for connectivity.
An open wireless network comes with risks, and it's important to take security seriously. As of 2015, 70 percent of tablet users and 53 percent of smartphone users connect to public Wi-Fi, according to Internet security software provider Kaspersky. This provides a tempting target to cybercriminals who want to access banking detail and other sensitive data, so if the device is used to store or transmit this information, it's worth looking into additional security software or solutions.