Turning your iPhone or iPad (with cellular capabilities) into a personal hotspot is a simple and easy way to get Wi-Fi capable or Bluetooth device connected to the internet when no other Wi-Fi access is available. Using a personal hotspot turns your iPhone or iPad into a portable Wi-Fi station, fully equipped with password protection so only the people you want to allow to connect can connect.
There are 3 ways to connect to an iOS devices personal hotspot; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB. Connecting via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are ideal for mobile devices like other iOS devices, Android devices, Microsoft devices; basically any other mobile device that can connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
While your computer can connect wirelessly to the personal hotspot, a USB connection is the ideal way for any computer. I wired connection avoids any possible WiFi interference issues, and charges your iOS device at the same time.
To turn your iOS device into a personal hotspot, your cellular network has to support tethering. Some cellular companies change extra for tethering capabilities; all cellular companies charge for data usage (if you know of one that doesn’t let me know so I can switch haha).
A good way to see if you already have tethering capabilities is to simply check to see if you can turn tethering on. Go to Settings -> Personal Hotspot -> Turn it on. If it doesn’t work contact your service provider to get the service added.
After you’ve created a Wi-Fi personal hotspot, your iOS device will automatically create a password. When any device tries to connect to your personal hotspot it will require this password to connect. The password of course can be changed to whatever you want by just clicking the Wi-Fi Password and changing it.
Bluetooth uses WPA2 just like Wi-Fi so it has the same security level, however unlike a Wi-Fi connection the security is automatically handled and does not require a password once it has been successfully paired.
Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth
- Faster – Gives a much faster data rate
- Better speed when multiple devices are connected
- Consumes more power
- Need to connect manually almost every time
- You have to remember/use passwords
- Time Limit – After enabling personal hotspot a device only has around 1 minute to connect or you have to manually enable it again
- Security is automatically handled, no need for passwords
- Once paired it will automatically connect to the device again whenever it is nearby, no need to manually enable
- Considerably slower speed compared to Wi-Fi
Important: Watch your Data usage! Most cellular companies put a limit on how much data you are allowed to use before they start charging extra for any amount over the set limit for your account. To check how much data has been used go to Setting -> General -> Usage -> Cellular Usage. This will show you a log of the Call Time, Cellular Network Data and Tether Data.