How do you turn your iPhone into a wifi hotspot?

How to create an iPhone hotspot: Why should I create a wifi hotspot with my iPhone?

Turning your iPhone into a wifi hotspot has many potential benefits. Let's say you're travelling with your iPhone and a Wifi-only iPad, or a MacBook. You're stuck either working offline on the larger-screen devices, or going online on a 4in screen. Wouldn't it be better to siphon your 3G (or 4G) internet connection from the iPhone to the iPad or MacBook?

Fortunately creating your own iPhone Wifi hotspot is easy. You can share your iPhone's 3G (or 4G) data connection with a Mac or iPad and browse the internet on the larger-screen device remotely. This feature, known as making a Wifi hotspot, is great for working on the go: making an iPhone Wifi hotspot enables you to use the internet on a Mac without having to find a Wifi cafe or other public hotspot.

It's easy to turn your iPhone into a Wifi hotspot, but you should check with your mobile phone carrier first (check the terms and conditions online). Some networks do not want you to turn the iPhone into a Wifi hotspot, and they may charge you extra (or limit your internet if they spot you setting up a hotspot). You should also be careful not to exceed your data allowance. If you have a limited allowance you should only use the Wifi hotspot for a short amount of time.

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How to create an iPhone hotspot: Turn your iPhone into a Wifi hotspot

How to create an iPhone hotspot

A Wifi hotspot turns the iPhone into a Wifi router (like the one in your home). The iPhone emits a Wifi connection that your Mac can connect to. The Mac connects to the iPhone using Wifi, and the iPhone connects to the internet using its 3G/4G cellular data connection. It's clever stuff and a neat trick to know.

How to create an iPhone hotspot: Turn your iPhone into a Wifi hotspot

Here's how to make an iPhone hotspot/Wifi hotspot:

  1. Tap Settings and Mobile.
  2. Tap Personal Hotspot and set Personal Hotspot to On.
  3. Tap on Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
  4. Tap Wi-Fi Password and enter a suitable password (this can be any password you choose, it’s not related to your Apple ID or usual Wi-Fi connection).
  5. Now check the name of the hotspot listed under To Connect Using Wi-Fi (we get "iPhone 5s").
  6. Click AirPort in the Menu bar of your Mac and choose the Wi-Fi hotspot (iPhone 5s in our case).
  7. Enter the password from Step 4.

That should be it. You should now be able to browse the internet on your Mac (or Wifi iPad) using the connection provided by your iPhone.

Connect to iPhone hotspot in Mac settings

If you haven't got the AirPort icon in the Menu bar of your Mac, open System Preferences, click Wifi and choose the iPhone Hotspot from the Network Name. While you're here, you should place a tick in the setting marked "Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar"; this will enable you to access Wifi settings from the Mac's menu bar.

You can now browse the internet on your Mac using the data connection from the iPhone. Your mileage may vary, however, depending on how good the iPhone's network connection is. You might find the internet runs a little slower than you're used to.

When you've finished, tap Settings > Mobile > Personal Hotspot on your iPhone and set it to Off.

How to create an iPhone hotspot: Dangers and warnings

What if someone tries to hijack your connection, burning through your data connection and/or accessing hooky sites and content?

You should be ok, because the iPhone hotspot is password-protected. (All the more reason not to choose the word password or something else that's easily guessable.) And you'll see a small notification at the top of your iPhone's screen when a device accesses its hotspot, so you'll get a warning if someone in your train carriage manages to guess your password.

A more important warning concerns data limits on your own surfing. It's easy to forget, when accessing the web over a device that's normally limited to Wifi connections, that you're working against a 3G data limit. Remember that you're on the clock, so to speak, and we'd suggest avoiding downloading large apps and similar.