We all know how useful the iPhone is on its own, but we often forget how useful it is for other devices. For example, what if you want to stream a movie on your iPad, but you don’t have a cellular model?
The answer is easy: transform your iPhone into a hotspot. This lets you share the iPhone’s data connection with other devices. Now let’s take a look at how to get started using your iPhone as a hotspot.
Setting up Your iPhone as a Wireless Hotspot
The most common way to use your iPhone as a hotspot is wireless. Unless you have a good reason to use a wired setup (which we’ll cover later), going with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth is the best option.
On your iPhone, open the Settings app, then scroll down and select Personal Hotspot. At the top of this screen, select “Allow Others to Join.” Now your iPhone is acting as a hotspot.
For your iPad, Mac, or any other devices that may be signed in to iCloud, you’re able to connect without a password. To pair on an iPad, for example, open Settings, go to Wi-Fi, then select the name of your iPhone. If you’re signed in to iCloud, you’ll connect automatically.
On other devices like Android tablets or Windows PCs, you’ll need to enter a password to connect via Wi-Fi. This is displayed on the screen when you initially enable Personal Hotspot on your iPhone.
If you’re connecting a device that doesn’t support Wi-Fi, you can use Personal Hotspot via Bluetooth. Pair your iPhone with a computer or tablet and that tablet can now use your data connection.
Setting up Your iPhone as a Wired Hotspot
While Wi-Fi is the most common use case for using your iPhone as a hotspot, it’s not your only option. If you need to get some work done on your MacBook, but you don’t have any access to Wi-Fi, plugging in your iPhone to use its data connection is the easiest option.
Starting the process is the same as wired. In Settings, go to Personal Hotspot, then enable “Allow Others to Join.” The difference here is how you connect.
Take a Lightning to USB cable and connect your iPhone to your Mac or other device you want to use the hotspot with. In your network settings, choose your iPhone as the device you want to use to connect to the internet. Now you should be able to use your iPhone’s data connection on the device you are plugged into.
Trouble Using Personal Hotspot?
Most of the time, using Personal Hotspot is a quick and easy process. That said, as with all technology, things can go wrong from time to time. Every once in a while, you may have issues using Personal Hotspot.
If you can’t enable Personal Hotspot, there’s one thing to check first. Some wireless carriers and plans don’t support using Personal Hotspot with your data connection, especially pre-paid carriers and plans. If you can’t use Personal Hotspot or the menu is missing, make sure your plan and carrier support it.
If your carrier and plan do support Personal Hotspot, but you’re having trouble, don’t worry. Take a look at our guide to Personal Hotspot problems and how to fix them.
Kris Wouk is a writer, musician, and whatever it’s called when someone makes videos for the web. He’s an Apple nerd with a fondness for hi-res audio and home theater gear.