Using your iPhone as a Hotspot might just be one of the most underrated features of the device.
There are many instances when using your iPhone as a hotspot could be handy. You might want to connect to your phone’s cellular wireless when away from a secure Wi-Fi network and reluctant to connect to public Wi-Fi. Maybe the Wi-Fi is down, or it’s unreliable and slow, and you just need to connect to send a quick e-mail, hail a ride share, or upload some videos. Wireless carrier data plans are bigger these days than they have been in the past. Many carriers even offer unlimited data, throttling speed when you go over versus cutting data off entirely or charging overage fees. This makes using a personal hotspot far more palatable now than it was years ago.
Using one of the best iPhones as a hotspot is simple and requires just a few steps.
- Go to Settings.
- Scroll down and select Personal Hotspot.
- Move the slider under Allow Others to Join to the right to turn it on (it will appear green).
- On a computer like a MacBook, go to the Wi-Fi symbol at the top of the screen and select. For a Windows device or a Chromebook, the Wi-Fi indicator will be in the lower right corner.
- Under Personal Hotspots, you’ll see the name of the iPhone. Select it.
- If you’re on a tablet like an iPad, go to Settings, Wi-Fiand the iPhone will show up as an available Network with a chain link icon beside it instead of the Wi-Fi symbol.
- When it’s the first time connecting, whether on a computer or tablet, a pop-up will ask for the password.
- Go back to the iPhone and type the Wi-Fi password that appears on the Personal Hotspot there into the iPad or laptop. It will be a sequence of 12 random letters and numbers (blurred out below for privacy).
- After you connect once, the device will remember this hotspot and will automatically connect without requiring you to re-enter the password as long as you keep Allow Others to Join on, or once you turn it on.
Note that with some Apple devices, you can simply hold your iPhone close to it to engage Personal Hotspot if the secondary device is in the phone’s contacts, it will instantly provide access with your permission, although this method can sometimes be finicky. There is also the option to use Bluetooth to connect by selecting “Pair” on the iPhone, entering the code that shows up on the computer, and connecting like you would any other Bluetooth device. This will help save battery life but the connection will also be slower. Finally, a wired connection is possible as well via USB: plug the phone into the computer, choose iPhone from the list of networks, and connect. This might be the most stable connection, but it requires a literal tether. Bottom line: Wi-Fi is the easiest way to connect while on the go.
Why use a Personal Hotspot?
Using your iPhone’s cellular connection, like on the new iPhone 14, you can do everything from surf the web to stream videos, play games, check e-mail, and more, with speeds that are as quick, if not faster, than your Wi -Fi speeds. Just be mindful of what your plan includes so that if you have limited data, you don’t go over. Streaming an HD video or downloading large files, for example, can eat up plenty of data: consider about 3GB per hour, so 6GB for a two-hour movie. But simple tasks like downloading e-mails, sending iMessages, or even the odd video call, won’t use much. And having the Personal Hotspot as a backup can be a lifesaver in a pinch.
One thing to be mindful of as well is that Personal Hotspot can eat up your iPhone’s battery, so it’s important to be nearby a power source to fuel it as needed or have a portable charger handy. Check your iPhone battery health as well as to ensure that your iPhone is in tip-top condition to handle the tasks you need through Personal Hotspot without diving into the red quickly.
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