While there are millions of Mac owners across the world, not many know that the iMac and Macbook ranges can double up as Wi-Fi hotspots when required. This means that if you have a wired internet connection and want to share it with an iPhone or any other Wi-Fi-enabled device, you can do so without any additional hardware or software. It’s also possible to re-broadcast your existing Wi-Fi connection, although it’ll require an additional accessory. Here, we show you how to turn your Mac into a Wi-Fi hotspot by sharing either an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection.
How to turn your Mac into a Wi-Fi hotspot: Sharing from an Ethernet connection
So, you want to share the internet from your wired Ethernet connection via Wi-Fi? Good news: it’s easy to do, and should only take a few minutes. Before we begin, it’s worth noting that the process is the same across macOS and Mac OS X, so there’s no real need to worry about the OS you’re running. Oh, and make sure your Ethernet cable is plugged in, too.
1) Click the Apple logo in the top-left hand corner of your display and select “System Preferences”.
2) System Preferences should open in a new window. From here, click “Sharing” and select “Internet Sharing” from the list of services in the left-hand column.
3) On the right-hand side of the window, select the source of your internet connection – in this case, Ethernet. In the “To computers using” box, make sure Wi-Fi is selected. This will create the Wi-Fi hotspot using the Ethernet connection, ready for your devices to connect to.
4) It’s not quite ready yet! Next, click “Wi-Fi Options” at the bottom of the window to configure your Wi-Fi hotspot. You can change the network name and Wi-Fi channel if you experience interference, although these are optional. What we do recommend is selecting WPA2-Personal in the Security dropdown, and adding a password to your network. This should stop hackers (or anybody mooching your Wi-Fi) from connecting to your Wi-Fi hotspot.
5) Once you’re done configuring your network, click OK to close the window and select the checkbox to the left of Internet Sharing on the left-hand side to activate your newly set up Wi-Fi hotspot. The hotspot should then appear on any Wi-Fi-enabled devices within range, ready for connecting.
How to turn your Mac into a Wi-Fi hotspot: Sharing from a Wi-Fi connection
While being able to share your Wi-Fi connection from your Mac can be an incredibly handy feature, it sadly cannot share an internet connection from Wi-Fi using Wi-Fi - well, without an additional accessory anyway.
While the Mac’s built-in networking card can either connect to Wi-Fi OR host its own network, users can buy a Wi-Fi network adapter that should allow one network interface to receive the Wi-Fi connection while the other re-broadcasts it. Once the Wi-Fi adapter has been plugged in and installed, follow the above instructions and select one of your two Wi-Fi adapters instead of the Ethernet connection in step 3.
But what about if you don’t want to fork out for a Wi-Fi network adapter? There is another option, although it won’t be as fast as Wi-Fi and may not be compatible with as many devices.
Why? Instead of using Wi-Fi to share the internet connection with your other devices, it’ll be using Bluetooth; or, more specifically, Bluetooth PAN (Personal Area Network). The initial connection to devices will take longer due to the Bluetooth pairing process, but is a free alternative when looking to share your internet connection from Wi-Fi and it should work with most smartphones and tablets.
The setup is the same as if you were sharing via Wi-Fi, but make sure you select Bluetooth PAN in the “To computers using” box in step 3.
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