As of publication, over 11,500 McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. offer free Wi-Fi access to let you check your emails or read the latest news on your laptop, tablet or smartphone while eating a burger or drinking a cup of coffee.
Connecting to the Wi-Fi network at McDonald's requires you to have a Wi-Fi-enabled device.
While virtually all modern laptops and mobile devices support Wi-Fi, older computers may not always have a built-in Wi-Fi antenna. Your local computer or electronics store may, however, be able to supply you with an external Wi-Fi antenna that you can connect to your computer via USB.
In addition to checking whether your device supports Wi-Fi, you may also want to check beforehand whether the particular restaurant you want to visit offers free Wi-Fi. You can do so by visiting the Free Wi-Fi @ McDonald's page on the company's website and entering the zip code or the city of the restaurant in the search box. On the search results page, move the map around until you see the restaurant and hover your mouse over the red pin to open a box listing the services the selected restaurant offers.
Connecting to the Network
To connect to the Internet at McDonald's:
- Click or tap the Network icon in the Taskbar under Windows 8 or Windows 7 and select Wayport_Access from the list of networks.
- Open the Android Lollipop Settings app and select Wi-Fi. Tap on Wayport_Access to connect to the network.
- Launch the Settings app under iOS 8 and tap on Wi-Fi. Select Wayport_Access.
Public networks such as the Wi-Fi connection supplied by McDonald's are by definition insecure. To protect your data from prying eyes, OnGuardOnline -- an initiative from the federal government dedicated to educating the public about cyber security -- recommends public Wi-Fi users exchange confidential data -- such as login credentials or financial information -- only with websites that use an encryption protocol. You can tell whether a site uses such a protocol by checking for a padlock icon next to its address in your browser.
In addition, OnGuardOnline also recommends users connect to a virtual private network while browsing the Internet through public Wi-Fi. If your employer does not supply you with a free VPN connection, you can purchase VPN access from a variety of online providers.