The ability to use your iPhone as a wireless router can be useful when you’re out and about with your laptop or tablet. It’s especially handy if the place you’re visiting has bad Wi-Fi service.
If you find that your personal hotspot isn’t working, try one of the following solutions.
1. Go to Settings
Your iPhone has a built-in feature that lets you share your cellular data with other Wi-Fi-supported devices. This is great if you’re out and about, away from home or work, and need internet access. It can also be useful when your Wi-Fi connection is weak or unavailable. To turn on your personal hotspot, launch the Settings app and tap Cellular. Then, turn on the switch next to Personal Hotspot.
This will create an encrypted Wi-Fi network that other devices can connect to, using your cellular data. When you want to connect another device, select your mobile hotspot from the list of available networks, then enter the password that appears on your phone.
Once your iPhone is set up as a hotspot, you can connect to it on any other Wi-Fi-supported device, such as a laptop or tablet. On a computer, it will appear as an Ethernet connection. You can connect via Bluetooth as well, but you’ll need to open the Bluetooth settings on your iPhone first.
When you use your iPhone as a personal hotspot, it can use a lot of data. If you have a limited plan, you’ll want to be careful about how much you’re using it. You can track your usage in the Activity menu of the Settings app.
If you’re using a carrier-branded iPhone, you may encounter an issue where the tethering option is grayed out in Settings or an onscreen message says, “To enable Personal Hotspot, contact [carrier].” This can be frustrating, but it’s usually easy to solve. Sometimes, the solution is as simple as refreshing the cellular data connection.
Another option is to change the Personal Hotspot name. Your iPhone uses the name of the device it’s in by default, but you can change it by going to Settings > General > About and tapping the device name. The new name will take effect the next time you start your iPhone as a personal hotspot.
Finally, you can try to fix the problem by updating your iPhone’s software. The latest version of iOS often includes bug fixes and other improvements. To check for updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update and follow the onscreen instructions to download and install them.
2. Tap Wi-Fi
The iPhone has a built-in Wi-Fi radio that can connect to other devices. It also supports Wi-Fi Direct, which creates a private connection between two nearby devices that isn’t subject to the usual security concerns of public networks.
To make a connection, the other device must have Bluetooth enabled and be within range of the iPhone. To connect, the other device should open a menu that lets it select a wireless network. The iPhone’s name should appear beside either a pair of interlocking rings or a regular Wi-Fi icon. Select the iPhone’s name, enter your hotspot password if prompted, and follow any onscreen instructions. When you’re connected, you should see a linked chain icon in the upper left of the screen where the Wi-Fi icon normally appears.
If the other device can’t connect to your Personal Hotspot, try changing the password. The default is the iPhone’s name, but you can also create a custom password by tapping the text next to “Allow Others to Join.” You can also enable the Maximize Compatibility option. This feature will switch your hotspot to 2.4 GHz, which is less likely to interfere with other wireless devices.
Another solution is to reset the network settings. This process may help solve problems with a bad cellular data configuration or an error that prevents you from tethering to your phone.
You can find the reset options in Settings > General > Reset. The options vary by model, so you should consult the user guide or the support page for your specific device to learn how to reset its network settings.
If your tethering still doesn’t work, contact your carrier for further assistance. Depending on your carrier’s policies, they might disable the tethering feature on locked devices you buy directly from them, or they might have misconfigured a network setting. If this is the case, a quick call or email might be all it takes to get it fixed. If you’re not happy with your carrier’s tethering policy, consider switching to a different service. Most carriers have a wide variety of plans to choose from, so you can find one that suits your needs and budget.
3. Tap Personal Hotspot
The iPhone has a feature that lets you use it as a makeshift Wi-Fi router. This lets other devices link up and connect to the internet using your cellular data plan. While this is convenient, it can also waste a lot of data. If you’re on a limited data plan, it’s a good idea to avoid turning on this feature.
To do this, tap Settings on your iPhone, then scroll down and tap Cellular. You should see a toggle switch next to Cellular Data. If it’s already green, skip this step. If not, then turn it on. If you’re on a prepaid iPhone plan, you may not be able to enable this feature until several minimum data payments have been made.
Once you’ve turned this on, you should see a new option in the Cellular section called Personal Hotspot. Tap this, then tap the toggle switch to turn it on. You’ll need to enter a password on the screen that appears. This password is the same as the one you’ll need to enter on any other device that connects to your iPhone’s wireless network.
You can also change the name of your Personal Hotspot network if you wish. It’s set to the name of your iPhone by default.
If you have a Bluetooth device that you want to connect to the hotspot, you can do so by following the directions for your specific model of device. If you want to connect a Mac, you can do so by opening the Wi-Fi menu on the Mac and selecting your iPhone’s hotspot network (it will appear as either two interlocking rings or a regular WiFi connection). Once you’ve connected to the hotspot, you should be able to access the internet.
If you have problems connecting to your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot, try resetting network settings. This will restore your network settings to factory defaults and should eliminate any issues that were preventing you from connecting. You can also check for updates to your carrier’s settings by going to Settings on your iPhone, then tapping General. If you find an update, follow the prompts to install it.
4. Tap Turn On
The Personal Hotspot feature on an iPhone is a great way to share your cellular data connection with other devices. It turns your phone into a makeshift Internet router that other devices can connect to using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB. When you turn on the feature, a password appears on the screen of your iPhone and your iPhone starts broadcasting its signal. If you want to connect a computer or other mobile device, you’ll need to follow the instructions for that device’s operating system. You can also use Bluetooth to connect your devices or, for the fastest connection, you can connect with a USB cable.
If you can’t connect your devices to your hotspot, try restarting the iPhone and the other device. You should also check to make sure you have the latest version of the software on both devices. If you’re still having trouble, contact Apple or your cellular provider for further assistance.
Changing the Hotspot Password
If another device can’t connect to your hotspot, it may be because you’ve changed the password. To change the password, open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap Personal Hotspot. On the Personal Hotspot screen, tap the Wi-Fi Password button. Enter a new password, then tap Done. You must enter a password that is at least 8 characters long and includes numbers, letters, and certain punctuation. Once you’ve entered a new password, your iPhone will change the name of its hotspot network.
You can also enable a Maximum Compatibility mode for your iPhone, which will allow older devices to connect more easily. This feature is turned off by default, but you can activate it from the Personal Hotspot screen.
If your iPhone is running out of battery, you can slow down the rate at which it drains the power by reducing its wireless connectivity and turning off its GPS. If you’re in an airplane or other place where cellular connectivity is restricted, you can turn off the Personal Hotspot to conserve battery life. You can turn it on again when you’re ready to get back online.