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How to auto-join hotspots in Lion

Lion makes it easy to join free Wi-Fi hotspots with landing pages, like those at Starbucks and McDonald's (often offered by AT&T in the US and BT OpenZone in the UK). Technology baked into OS X Lion eliminates the need to use a browser to pass a landing page that stands between you and the Internet.

When you join such a network with Lion, a Finder window will open when Lion detects the landing page's request to accept the network's terms and conditions. You can accept the T&C right from the Finder window (which even offers backwards and forwards browsing buttons) and get connected, all without ever opening your browser. The process is even faster if you've joined that particular free AT&T or BT Openzone wireless network before. If so, your MacBook will automatically join it when you open its lid and the Finder window will pop-up automatically, allowing you to get past the landing page and get connected in one step.

The no-browser way to access free Wi-Fi networks with landing pages is a small feature, sure, but its another one of those little touches that make Lion worthwhile and that makes a Mac a Mac.

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