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iOS: Understanding Personal Hotspot

Learn how to share your cellular data connection using Personal Hotspot, the Internet-sharing feature on iPhone, iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular or later, and iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular.

Personal Hotspot lets you connect your computers and devices to the Internet using the cellular data connection on your device.

To use this feature, enable Personal Hotspot on your cellular data plan. Contact your carrier for information and pricing.

Sharing your cellular data connection

Use the following steps to set up Personal Hotspot:

  1. Tap Settings > Cellular:
    Network settings
  2. Tap Personal Hotspot and turn it on:
    Turn on Personal Hotspot

After configuring Personal Hotspot, you can directly access the settings from Settings > Personal Hotspot.

Note: If you do not see the option for Personal Hotspot, confirm with your carrier that this feature is supported and your wireless plan is configured for Personal Hotspot. For additional troubleshooting, see this article.

Connecting other devices

You can connect your devices to your iPhone, iPad, or iPad mini in the following ways:

  Mac or PC iPhone, iPad, or
iPod touch
Other Wi-Fi
devices
Connection tips
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi hotspot turns off when no devices are connected. To automatically turn it back on, go to Settings > Personal Hotspot.
Bluetooth   Ensure that the other Bluetooth device is discoverable, and use Settings > Bluetooth to pair. 
USB     Connect your iPhone or iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular to your Mac or PC using the USB cable that came with your device.

The Wi-Fi network name or Bluetooth name is your device name. The Wi-Fi network is 802.11g/n capable using WPA2 encryption. 

iPhone 3GS can share a connection with USB or Bluetooth. iPhone 4 or later, iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular or later, and iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular can share a connection using Wi-Fi, USB, or Bluetooth.

While devices are connected to Personal Hotspot, the status bar will be blue and will indicate the number of connected users. The maximum number of supported connections may vary depending on your carrier or iPhone model.

You cannot use your Wi-Fi connection for Internet connectivity while other devices are using Wi-Fi for Personal Hotspot. You can share only a cellular data connection; you cannot share a Wi-Fi connection.

Disconnecting devices

You can disconnect users by turning off Personal Hotspot, unplugging your device, or turning off Bluetooth.

Learn more

Changing your Wi-Fi password

Personal Hotspot Wi-Fi networks require a password. You cannot disable this feature.

You can change your Wi-Fi password by tapping Settings > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot and then tapping the Wi-Fi password.

Wi-Fi Password

Note: Your Wi-Fi password must be at least eight characters long and use ASCII/Unicode characters. Use of non-ASCII characters (Japanese, Russian, Chinese, and so on) will prevent other devices from connecting.

Find information on troubleshooting Personal Hotspot.

Last Modified: Aug 26, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Aug 26, 2014
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