How to Use iPhone As A Wi-Fi Hotspot

by David Weedmark

If you find yourself out of reach of a reliable Wi-Fi network, you can use your iPhone to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot, giving you Internet access on your computer or any other Wi-Fi device. This feature is built right into the iPhone network settings, but may have some limitations depending on your cell-phone plan. In addition to Wi-Fi, the iPhone Personal Hotspot can also be accessed via Bluetooth or by using the USB cable it shipped with.

Tap the "Settings" icon on your iPhone home screen. Tap "General," then "Network."

Tap the Personal Hotspot "Off" button to toggle it to the "On" position. A dialog box opens, explaining you can use Bluetooth in addition to Wi-Fi and a USB cable. Unless you need Bluetooth access, select "Wi-Fi and USB Only."

Make a note of the displayed "Wi-Fi Password." If you want to change this password to something you can easily remember, tap the password and type a new password in the text field.

Turn on your computer or any other Wi-Fi device and activate its Wi-Fi feature. On a computer with WIndows 7, for example, click the "Wi-Fi" icon on the desktop. Select your iPhone from the list of available Wi-Fi devices. It is usually listed as "Name's iPhone," with your name substituted for "Name."

Enter the iPhone's Hotspot password when prompted. You can now surf the Web, check your email or do any other Internet-based activities. A banner is displayed on the top of the iPhone home screen indicating the Wi-Fi hotspot is active.

Turn off the iPhone Hotspot by navigating through the Settings menu as you did in the steps above when you are finished using it. Don't worry about leaving it on when you don't need it for short time periods. The iPhone will put the feature into sleep mode if it's not used for several minutes.

Tip

  • If you can't turn on the Personal Hotspot on your iPhone, contact your cell-phone service provider to ensure this feature has been activated. You may be charged an additional monthly fee for this service, depending on your cell-phone contract. Additional charges may result from using this feature beyond the monthly bandwidth limits specified in your cell-phone contract. You may also be limited in the file sizes you are able to download over the cellular network, such as files of 20 MB maximum. Some service plans may limit the number of devices you can connect to the Personal Hotspot, but this is usually at least four or five.

Warning

  • Using the Personal Hotspot can significantly drain your iPhone battery. Keep an eye on the battery indicator, or plug your iPhone into a USB port or wall outlet while using this feature.

About the Author

A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images