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How to turn on your iPhone's personal hotspot and use it as a portable internet hub

  • Every iPhone has a “hotspot” mode that lets other devices use it as an internet router.
  • Your iPhone’s personal hotspot is great to use when you have cellphone service, but not Wi-Fi.
  • While in hotspot mode, your iPhone won’t be able to connect to Wi-Fi itself.

The most amazing thing about your smartphone is how easily it connects to the internet. From anywhere that you have a cell signal, you can connect to email, apps, YouTube, and more.

And if you have an iPhone, you can share that internet connection with nearly any device.

Your iPhone has a “Personal Hotspot” feature that turns it into a makeshift internet router. While the hotspot is activated, other devices can link up with your phone and use your cellular data to connect to the internet.

Here’s how to turn on your iPhone’s hotspot and connect to it on another device.

Note: The personal hotspot on your iPhone can use a lot of internet data, so be wary if you only have a limited data plan.

How to turn on the personal hotspot on your iPhone

1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and tap Personal Hotspot.

Open the Personal Hotspot menu.

2. Tap the switch labeled Allow Others to Join. Your iPhone will start broadcasting the signal right away.

3. Tap Wi-Fi Password, and set a password for your hotspot. You’ll need to enter this on the devices that you connect to your phone’s hotspot. And if you ever want to kick people off of your hotspot, just change the password.

Turn on your hotspot and set the password.

How to connect to your iPhone’s personal hotspot from another device

There are three ways to connect to your iPhone’s hotspot once it’s activated.

Important: Your hotspot’s internet probably isn’t going to be as fast as a regular Wi-Fi router, or even as fast as using mobile internet on the iPhone itself. Expect low download and upload speeds, and for the service to occasionally drop out.

Via Wi-Fi

You can connect to your iPhone’s hotspot in exactly the same way you’d connect to any Wi-Fi network. This is the easiest method.

On your computer, tablet, another phone — whichever device you want to connect — open the menu that lets you connect to Wi-Fi. You should see the name of your iPhone beside either two interlocking rings or a regular Wi-Fi symbol.

Click this option and enter your password. In a few moments, your device will connect, and you’ll be online.

The Wi-Fi network’s name will be the name of your iPhone.
William Antonelli/Insider

Via Bluetooth

When you start broadcasting and have Bluetooth enabled, your iPhone will send out an internet signal via Bluetooth as well.

Like before, you can connect just by going into your device’s Bluetooth menu and tapping your phone’s name when it appears. But instead of entering a password, you’ll be given a six-digit code — check that the code is the same on both your iPhone and the other device, and then tap Pair on both screens.

Make sure that the code on both devices matches.

Via USB cable

This option is available for devices like computers that have USB ports.

Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB charging cable. It’ll appear in the list of internet devices you can connect to — click it, and you’ll connect.

Steven John contributed to a previous version of this article.