Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have an iPhone 4 and a MacBook Pro. If I turn 'Personal Hotspot' on my iPhone to on, then I can connect with my laptop fine and everything is great.

If on the other hand I then disconnect the laptop and leave 'Personal Hotspot' switched on, the signal appears to vannish after a while. So if I come back later and try to connect my Mac to the network again, the Mac can't even see the network.
If I open up the settings on the iPhone and switch 'Personal Hotspot' off and then on again (good old technical training) the signal reappears and everything is fine.

I'd like to be able to just leave the 'Personal Hotspot' available at all times because it's a extra bit of bother to switch it off and on again. Can anyone suggest a fix or tell me what's happening here...?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Actually, this is what happens for hotspot.

If there is no active WiFi connection, and you're not in the screen that says "Personal Hotspot", it turns off WiFi hotspot feature completely.

To connect your FIRST device, you MUST be in that Personal Hotspot settings page.

After that, it won't turn off until the last device is disconnected.

share|improve this answer
Um, then why wouldn't the toggle turn off? It's still showing 'on'... – Joe Jan 22 '13 at 20:33
You're not turning off the feature, just it's not broadcasting WiFi anymore. Bluetooth and USB will still work. – Shane Hsu Jan 22 '13 at 23:36
(Accepted with clarification in comment) – Joe Jul 30 '13 at 9:31

If your wireless client is a windows machine, try going to wireless settings , select your iphone's SSID and check off "connect even if the network is not broadcasting its name (SSID)" I've noticed this same problem and oddly, If i have one device connected, I still have to open the hotspot screen on my phone in order to find the access point with a second device. This would indicate that the hotspot is indeed still active, but not broadcasting its SSID.

share|improve this answer

The iPhone turns off its wifi after some inactivity. After you disconnect the laptop and the iPhone see no activity, the wifi connection is turned off and therefore you can't find the hotspot anymore.

You should be able to see the connection again once you unlock the iPhone from lockscreen.

share|improve this answer
Unfortunately unlocking doesn't appear to work on my device :( – Joe Mar 11 '12 at 11:44

Two years later I can report that the only decent thing I found was the 'tether me' app for Cylia. It has exactly the 'keep broadcasting' option I was looking for (although in practice it's generally worth tethering with a cable because it keeps the phone battery in a good state.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.