Not all digital frames need Wi-Fi for displaying media, creating slideshows, and more. Wi-Fi is essential for setting up your digital frame, connecting to various platforms, and getting it ready for use. You’ll need Wi-Fi for sending/receiving pictures and other media on the digital frame. You’ll also need Wi-Fi for using features like radio, weather, updating, and syncing with web albums.
Most good digital frames try to keep as many of their features as possible offline. This usually includes slideshows and settings. You can still create slideshows, manage the frame’s internal storage (except web albums), play games, and more, without needing to be connected to a Wi-Fi network.
That being said, some digital frames on the market need to be connected 24/7 to use any features (including viewing pictures). Make sure you know your frame’s offline capabilities before buying.
Digital frames like the Pix-Star only need Wi-Fi for receiving media, updating and making changes to web albums, using the weather and radio app, and controlling the frame remotely. Almost all of the frame’s features are available offline, and you have complete control over slideshows and how you’d like media displayed without Wi-Fi.
Connecting to Wi-Fi is usually the first step when setting the frame up for the first time. If this is the case, you’ll usually be guided by the setup wizard. It will guide you through choosing a Wi-Fi network, putting in the password, and choosing the best-related settings. There isn’t much room for error here.
If this isn’t the first time turning on the digital frame, you’ll have to connect to Wi-Fi manually. Go to your home screen and select the “Settings” option (or similar). You should see a tab for Wi-Fi connections or networks. Select it and a new window should open with all the available Wi-Fi networks within range.
Select a private or work Wi-Fi that doesn’t require web authentication (most digital frames don’t have web browsers). You’ll be asked to input the password. This can be done with the remote control, on-frame controls, touchscreen, or USB keyboard (if compatible).
It might take a minute or two to connect to the network. Once it connects, the frame might begin a firmware update – especially if you haven’t used the digital frame in a while. It might also take a while to fully synchronize the frame; you may even have to open the web interface to complete the connection process and have the digital frame showing it’s “online”.
Perhaps the most unique and useful feature of Wi-Fi digital frames is the ability to control the frame remotely. This feature lets you adjust all the frame’s settings, start slideshows, manage the frame’s content, update and sync web albums, and even update the firmware.
While it’s not a common feature, some of the better Wi-Fi digital frames like the Pix-Star have this feature. It’s great for grandparents and large families that are scattered all over the country/world. Once you’ve set up one frame, you’ll know the process and steps for setting up the rest. If this can be done remotely, it saves you having to make frustrating video calls trying to explain how to do everything.
Another important feature of Wi-Fi digital frames is sending media to the frame via mobile apps. You should be able to take photos, videos, and record audio directly through the app, or select the media you want to send from your gallery. You can then send these photos or videos directly to the frame (or multiple frames) at the same time. This beats email as it’s simpler and faster to use. There are also higher limits to the number and size of files you can send at the same time.
One last important feature to be on the lookout for is web album compatibility. Web albums are photos synced to the digital frame from linked social media accounts like Facebook, online storage platforms like Dropbox, and online photo-sharing platforms like Google Photos. These photos are synced, downloaded, and saved to the frame’s internal storage.
You should be able to link to multiple accounts at the same time, and link to several different users’ accounts on the same platform. When anyone adds new photos to the connected albums, they will be updated and displayed in the web albums on the digital frame. The same applies when deleting and moving photos. You should be able to choose which albums you want to sync to your frame from each platform or social media account.
Web albums can usually be viewed offline as they’re stored on the frame’s local storage. To make changes to web albums, you need to log in to the web interface and manage them from there – you usually can’t make changes directly on the frame. It’s also worth noting that most Wi-Fi digital frames don’t let you sync and download videos from web albums. You’ll need to do that manually via email or through the mobile app.
The main disadvantage of using a Wi-Fi digital frame is the need to be connected to a stable Wi-Fi network that’s nearby. Wi-Fi signal receivers on digital frames aren’t as strong as those you’d find in modern laptops and phones. This means you often need to be relatively near your Wi-Fi router – though not necessarily in the same room. You might have issues with some automatic functions like updating and syncing if you don’t have frequent access to Wi-Fi.
Another disadvantage of Wi-Fi digital frames is that they can’t connect to public Wi-Fi networks that require web authentication. These Wi-Fi networks are common in coffee shops, airports, some hotels, and even some Wi-Fi providers (due to router requirements). The digital frame can’t complete the web authentication as they don’t support web browsers.
Digital frames use Wi-Fi to send and receive media via email, mobile apps, web interfaces, and through syncing with online web albums. Some digital frames use Wi-Fi to enable features like remote control, weather and time, calendar apps, and more.
Most basic features like slideshows, displaying content, accessing internal memory, and playing games usually work without Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi digital frames also use Wi-Fi to sync with cloud storage, and to the web interface where they can connect and be controlled along with multiple other frames. For example, Pix-Star frame users can control up to 25 digital frames from one user account via the web interface.