Though we live in quarantine times and nobody is going anywhere—nobody should be going anywhere, at least—it’s possible that you still need to get out of the house once in a while. Whether your internet connection at home is giving you issues or you just want to get away from your family, the last thing you want to do is break quarantine to visit a location that has terrible internet.
The solution? An app like Lag, which is currently being beta-tested for iOS 14 users. Yes, it requires you to jump through a few hoops to view crowdsourced information on the wifi speeds for various locations around the country, but it will prove to be an invaluable tool if it takes off.
To get started, you’ll want to visit Lag’s website (the helpfully named lag.app) on Safari in iOS 14. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a link to sign up for the app’s TestFlight beta.
Tap it, and then make sure you install TestFlight in the subsequent screen if you don’t yet have it on your phone. Once you’ve done that, tap the “Start Testing” link to grab the beta for your iPhone.
If this is your first time using TestFlight, you’ll have to tap through a number of prompts. It might not look like Lag has begun to download, but if you jump back to Safari and tap the link again, Testflight should load with the app:
Tap “Accept” and “Install” to slap it on your device, and launch the app like you normally would.
Lag is a little spartan right now, in that all you can do with it is search for addresses or contribute your own wifi speeds to its growing database. I presume the app will come with a handy map once it launches—practically a requirement to make it useful.
Submitting your wifi speeds couldn’t be easier, though I caution that doing so at home will expose your physical address to the world. (It’ll also be pointless data, as I doubt you’re going to let random people log onto your wifi.) Your best bet is to use this app when you’re out and about, enjoying free wifi from the businesses and other public places you frequent. You’ll let other people know the strength of the connection and, in time, you’ll hopefully be able to check the quality of a location’s wifi before you get there.
If Lag doesn’t take off, though, there are alternatives: Speedcheck comes to mind, as do Hotelwifitest, WiFi Map (though that one is more for finding public wifi than checking its speeds, I believe), and Wifi Finder. If you’re visiting the same spots over and over, you can just keep notes on which are decent for working and which will barely let you watch YouTube. (Websites like fast.com and speedtest.net can help you out there, too.)