How to turn your smartphone into a Wi-Fi hotspot

We’ve all been there… you want to use your laptop but are unable to access any secure public Wi-Fi. Or, maybe your friend has run of data and needs to find an urgent online booking reference – and there are no public Wi-Fi networks in sight.

Well, luckily, many smartphones today allow you to use your phone’s mobile data to connect another phone, tablet or computer to the Internet. Sharing a connection this way is called tethering or using a hotspot. When you use a Personal Hotspot, your smartphone acts like a wireless router for the other devices, transmitting and receiving data for these devices.

To find your hotspot on an iPhone:

  1. Open your phone’s Settings app.
  2. Tap Personal Hotspot.
  3. On the Personal Hotspot screen, turn on the Personal Hotspot toggle switch.
  4. Take note of the Wi-Fi Password. You’ll use this to connect other devices to this hotspot.

To find your hotspot on an Android:

  1. Open your phone’s Settings app.
  2. Tap Network and Internet > Hotspot and tethering > Wi-Fi hotspot.
  3. Turn on Wi-Fi hotspot.
  4. To see or change a hotspot setting, such as the name or password, tap it. If needed, first tap Set up Wi-Fi hotspot.

Please note that to use a personal hotspot on an iPhone your phone must be running iOS 4.3 or higher and you will need to have an iPhone 4 or later model.

Once you have turned on your mobile hotspot the next step is to connect the other device. This is done in a very similar way on both iOS and Android devices.

To connect an iPad, iPod touch, or another iPhone to your hotspot:

  1. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi, then tap the name of the iPhone or iPad providing the Personal Hotspot.
  2. If you have created a password for your hotspot, which we highly recommend, the other device will be asked to type in this password to their device.
  3. Typing in the correct password should then connect the two devices.

To connect your laptop simply go straight to the Wi-Fi symbol and follow the steps above.

When other devices are connected to your iPhone hotspot, a blue bar will appear at the top of the iPhone screen and on the lock screen. On models running iOS 7 and above, the blue bar shows a number next to a lock or an interlocking loops icon – this indicates how many devices are connected to the phone.


To connect an Android to your hotspot:

  1. On the device, open that device’s list of Wi-Fi options.
  2. Pick your phone’s hotspot name.
  3. Enter your phone’s hotspot password.
  4. Click Connect.

You can share your phone’s mobile data with up to 10 other devices via a Wi-Fi hotspot but don’t forget to turn it off once you are finished to avoid using unnecessary data. As you need to be able to access your network data to use your hotspot, you should also be aware that you cannot use this feature when your phone is in airplane mode.

All data used by devices connected to your hotspot counts against your data plan, so be careful if your data plan is small. It is also worth noting that in many cases you will not be able to use your mobile hotspot abroad even if you have international data roaming as part of your plan. This is to prevent multiple people in a group using the hotspot instead of buying an international roaming plan.

Why is it important to create a secure password for your hotspot?

Using a password to protect your portable hotspot saves you from situations where your internet bandwidth gets stolen by other devices and users. You don’t want to find that all your data for the month has run out because someone was streaming videos using your hotspot. It also restricts the users who can use this hotspot. Once you have given a friend of family member the password it is also a good idea to change it, as once they have the hotspot password, they will be able to connect to your hotspot anytime (as long as you have the toggle set to on).

We hope you found this post useful. If you would like more information on similar topics, you can read some other helpful posts here: