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How to set up a personal hotspot on an iPhone

Just be wary of your carrier's charges.
By
October 12, 2022

If you need an urgent internet connection for your iPad or laptop, one possibility would be to set up a personal hotspot on your iPhone. This is when your device acts as a mobile router and provides an internet connection to your other devices via your phone’s data plan. It works great, but there are downsides. The carrier fees for this can be quite expensive, it can run down your phone battery very quickly, and it obviously swallows up your monthly data plan quicker as well. If all that doesn’t bother you, read on to find out how to set it up.

Read more: How to turn on your mobile hotspot

QUICK ANSWER

To set up a personal hotspot on your iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular. On other Apple devices with different versions of English, it will say Settings > Mobile Data. Tap Personal Hotspot, then Allow Others to Join. If you don't want anyone else using the hotspot except you, add a password and tell it to no one. If you leave the password field blank, anyone can use the hotspot.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to set up a personal hotspot

Go to Settings > Cellular (or on other versions of English on an iPhone, Settings > Mobile Data). Alternatively, there’s a Personal Hotspot link directly below, which you can also tap.

iphone settings mobile data

Tap Personal Hotspot.

iphone settings mobile data personal hotspot

Toggle on Allow Others to Join. This activates the hotspot. If you want to have the hotspot for your own private use only, enter a password in the Wi-Fi Password field, and keep it secret.

iphone hotspot settings

Please note that anyone logged into your iCloud account does not need to know the password. They can get access to the hotspot right away. Anyone outside the iCloud account needs the password for access. So don’t make the password easy to figure out.

How to share your personal hotspot via Family Sharing

iphone hotspot family sharing

Once you have activated your personal hotspot, you can share it with members of your family via iCloud and Family Sharing. For this, you obviously need to be signed up for Family Sharing. When you have done this, a Family Sharing option will appear on the Personal Hotspot screen. Tap it, and you’ll see the members of your family plan. Select which ones can have access to your personal hotspot. They can either have automatic access or be approved each time they request access.

How to change your personal hotspot password

iphone hotspot change password

Changing the personal hotspot password is extremely simple. On the hotspot settings page, tap Wi-Fi Password. You will then be brought to this screen. Tap the X icon to the right to delete the current password, and enter your new one. Then tap Done.

How to connect to an iPhone’s personal hotspot

iphone hotspot on mac

To connect to a personal hotspot on another device, ensure that Wi-Fi is enabled first of all. Then click the Wi-Fi logo, drop down the list of available Wi-Fi networks, and the Personal Hotspot should be at the top of the list. Select it, and it will connect. If you are not logged into the same iCloud account, you will be asked for the password before it connects.

Connecting via USB

Amazon Basics iPhone Charger Cable Nylon Braided USB C to Lightning

To connect via USB, connect your iPhone (or another iOS device with a personal hotspot) to the device requiring internet. On the receiving device, open the Network settings and select your hotspot connection.

Connecting via Bluetooth

connect mac to iphone via bluetooth

To connect via Bluetooth, open the device needing the hotspot connection. Open the Bluetooth settings and search for the device providing the hotspot. Select it, and the hotspot will connect.

Can’t connect to an iPhone personal hotspot? Some troubleshooting tips

People using an Apple iPhone stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’re having trouble connecting to a personal hotspot, here are some troubleshooting options to try out.

  • Have you typed in the hotspot password correctly?
  • Disable auto-lock on the iPhone supplying the personal hotspot. Auto-lock disconnects the personal hotspot as a battery-saving feature.
  • Disable battery-saving mode temporarily. Again, this sees the hotspot as an unnecessary drain on the battery.
  • Check that the personal hotspot has been configured correctly on the iOS device.
  • Enable Maximize Compatibility on the Personal Hotspot settings page.
  • Restart the iOS device providing the personal hotspot.
  • Restart your internet connection on the iOS device providing the personal hotspot.
  • Reset Network Settings.
  • On the device needing the hotspot connection, restart your Wi-Fi connection. Pull the cable out if you connected via USB, then put it back in again. If you connected via Bluetooth, unpair the devices, then pair them again.
  • If all else fails, scream and switch to Android.

Read more: How to set up a mobile hotspot on Android

FAQs

Most likely because your phone is auto-locking. When auto-lock kicks in, the hotspot will disconnect. Temporarily disable auto-lock while you are using your hotspot. You can also disable battery-saving mode temporarily, as disconnecting the hotspot is seen as a battery-saving technique.

This will vary from carrier to carrier. Contact them to ask. Charges can get quite steep, though, so be very careful, and don’t forget to keep an eye on your iPhone’s mobile data usage.