How to set up a Personal Hotspot on your iPhone or iPad

Elroy Mariano

A Personal Hotspot lets you share the cellular data connection of your iPhone or iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular) when you don’t have access to a Wi-Fi network. Set up Personal Hotspot Go to Settings > Cellular or Settings > Personal Hotspot. Tap the slider next to Allow Others to Join. If […]

A Personal Hotspot lets you share the cellular data connection of your iPhone or iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular) when you don’t have access to a Wi-Fi network.

Set up Personal Hotspot

  1. Go to Settings > Cellular or Settings > Personal Hotspot.
  2. Tap the slider next to Allow Others to Join.

If you don’t see the option for Personal Hotspot, contact your carrier to make sure that you can use Personal Hotspot with your plan.

Connect to Personal Hotspot with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB

You can connect to a Personal Hotspot using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB. And with iOS 13, devices that are connected to a Personal Hotspot will stay connected, even if the screen is locked—so those devices will still get notifications and messages.

Here are some tips for using each method.

When you connect a device to your Personal Hotspot, the status bar turns blue and shows how many devices have joined. The number of devices that can join your Personal Hotspot at one time depends on your carrier and iPhone model. If other devices have joined your Personal Hotspot using Wi-Fi, you can use only cellular data to connect to the Internet from the host device. 

Use these steps to connect:

Wi-Fi

On the device that you want to connect to, go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Personal Hotspot and make sure that it’s on. Then verify the Wi-Fi password and name of the phone. Stay on this screen until you’ve connected your other device to the Wi-Fi network.

On the device that you want to connect, go to Settings > Wi-Fi and look for your iPhone or iPad in the list. Then tap the Wi-Fi network to join. If asked, enter the password for your Personal Hotspot.

Bluetooth

To make sure that your iPhone or iPad is discoverable, go to Settings > Bluetooth and stay on that screen. Then on your Mac or PC, follow the manufacturer directions to set up a Bluetooth network connection. Learn more about using Personal Hotspot with Bluetooth.

Personal Hotspot supports Bluetooth connections with Mac, PC, and other third-party devices. To connect another iOS device, use Wi-Fi.

Let your family join automatically

You can set up Family Sharing so that your family can join your Personal Hotspot automatically—without needing to enter the password. Here’s what to do: 

  1. On your device with Personal Hotspot, go to Settings > Personal Hotspot > Family Sharing.
  2. Turn on Family Sharing. If you don’t see the option, learn how to set up Family Sharing.
  3. Tap the name of each of your family members and set whether they need to ask for approval or join your Personal Hotspot automatically.

Disconnect devices

To disconnect a device, turn off Personal Hotspot, turn off Bluetooth, or unplug the USB cable from your device.

Set or change your Wi-Fi password

You need to set a Wi-Fi password in order to set up a Personal Hotspot. To change the Wi-Fi password, go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Personal Hotspot, then tap the Wi-Fi password.*

Choose a Wi-Fi password that’s at least eight characters long and use ASCII characters. If you use non-ASCII characters, other devices will be unable to join your Personal Hotspot. Non-ASCII characters include characters in Japanese, Russian, Chinese, and other languages. ASCII characters include:

  • All the letters in English, both lowercase and uppercase
  • The digits 0 through 9
  • Some punctuation marks

* When you change your password, any connected devices will be disconnected.

Learn more

  • Certain apps and features that require a Wi-Fi connection might not work while using a Personal Hotspot. For example, you might not be able to make an iCloud backup or upload photos to iCloud Photo Library or Photo Stream.
  • Learn how to use Instant Hotspot on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • Get help with Personal Hotspot on your iOS device.

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