We’ll walk you through how to get internet connectivity to all your essential devices using your phone.
What is a mobile hotspot?
The ability to use your phone as a wifi hotspot, also referred to as mobile tethering, means that you can essentially turn your bars of phone signal strength into a wifi signal that your other devices can access, all while your phone continues to function as a phone. However, it will consume more battery power, so make sure to keep it charged. Most cell phone plans have a hotspot feature included, but usually only up to a certain data limit, and most modern phones have the ability to become a hotspot, but as always double check your data plan and phone specs accordingly. Not only is this useful if your home internet goes down, but it can be a lifesaver when you are out and about with no access to wifi – not only is hotspot data most likely already included in your plan, but it is also more secure than many open wifi access points out in the wild.
The first time you use your hotspot, you’ll want to open Settings, go to Network & Internet, Hotspot & Tethering then tap on Wifi Hotspot. This menu will allow you to turn the hotspot feature on and off, give your network a name, and set up a security type with a password as well as an auto-turn off function and perhaps even choose a 2.4GHz or 5GHz band. Once you have everything configured and turned on you should be able to connect. In the future all you’ll need to do is swipe down from the top of your phone to access your quick settings drawer and you’ll see a little mobile hotspot button right there to toggle on and off with your pre-configured settings.
Go to Settings, Personal Hotspot or Settings, Cellular, Personal Hotspot, depending which Apple device over version of iOS you are using. You’ll see a toggle to turn the hotspot off and on. You can also configure a password on this screen to make sure no one else is logging in. iPhones offer the ability to set up Family Sharing as well so that your chosen family members can join your personal hotspot automatically without entering a password. Instant Hotspot allows sharing to your other devices like an iPad or Mac on the same iCloud account, also without having to enter a password. While some phone features that require wifi like iCloud backup or Photo Stream might not work while using your device as a hotspot, most of your phone should function normally.
No matter what type of device you are using, your wifi hotspot is only as good as your cellular signal so make sure to set up shop somewhere where you get the best reception. If you don’t have an unlimited data phone plan, keep in mind that a laptop connected to a hotspot will burn through data much faster than a phone, so you may want to prioritize emails and more simple tasks and save your 4k Netflix binge fests for another time. If you have any questions about hotspots or working on the go, feel free to leave them in the comments.