The Wi-Fi menu will let you know if you’re on an unsecured network by having a triangle with a ! Exclamation symbol in the dropdown. You can also further confirm this by specifically looking at the security type or lack thereof:
- Hold down the OPTION key
- Click the Wi-Fi menu bar item while continuing to hold the OPTION key
- Locate the network name you are connected to in the list, then look for “Security”
- If the ‘Security’ says “None”, the network is insecure with no encryption used
As you can see in the screenshot, this is an unsecured wi-fi network, not using any encryption type.
If the wireless network was secured, you’d see something like WPA, WPA2, WPA3, or WEP, rather than ‘None’.
Tips for Behaving on an Unsecured Wi-Fi Network
If you are on a wireless network with no network security, as is common at many hotels, you’ll want to protect yourself as best as you can. Some good advice is:
- Don’t enter any sensitive data into any website that is not HTTPS
- You may want to reconsider doing activities like online banking (online banks use HTTPS but still often better to be safe)
- Beware of unsecured communication methods, like SMS text messages (iMessages are encrypted, as are WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and most other messaging platforms)
This is obviously focused on the Mac and using the hidden wireless options within the Wi-Fi menu. If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, it turns out there is not any similar feature available, but you can always look for the lock icon next to the wi-fi signal strength indicator within Wi-Fi Settings, and if that lock icon is absent you can be sure the network is not secured.