When I turn on the personal hotspot, I cannot get a DHCP network address on my computer. I've tried with 2 different computers and an Android phone. They can connect to the network router but not my iPhone, which won't give out an IP address.


It just says "the connection is limited" and I get a 169.* address on my computer.

Wireless LAN adapter Wi-Fi:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::5c88:c538:f588:efe%4
Autoconfiguration IPv4 Address. . :
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

When I connect via USB cable, it does not work either:


After I reset network settings (Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings), I was able to briefly get an IP address, but I was not able to ping any servers, like Google's public DNS server. I received a phone call while the hot spot was turned on, and I believe that is what allowed me to get an IP address, but I'm not sure why. Subsequent disable/enable cycles failed to get an IP address.

$ ipconfig
Windows IP Configuration
Wireless LAN adapter Wi-Fi:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
   Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::5c88:c538:f588:efe%4
   IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . :
   Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

$ ping
Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
Request timed out.

I even tried to connect via Bluetooth, but that didn't work either.

$ ipconfig    
Windows IP Configuration
Ethernet adapter Bluetooth Network Connection:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
   Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::b09b:4eb7:6091:ac17%5
   Autoconfiguration IPv4 Address. . :
   Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

I have an unlocked iPhone 5 with latest iOS on MetroPCS.


http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2756. I have not restored/reset the entire phone. Would rather not have to.

  • Two ways to narrow this down. 1. Connect other devices (android, iOS, computer) to the hotspot to see if it's not handing out DHCP properly. 2. Debug your computer(s) to make sure no firewall is blocking DHCP and or other network configuration issues. That would need more details since there's not a log on iOS that shows easily what's happening with hotspot operation.
    – bmike
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 18:52
  • 1. I already mentioned I tried connecting two different computers to the phone. 2. There is no firewall on the wireless network. Plus I can connect to the wireless router.
    – Chloe
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 18:59
  • Hope you have already done the restart phone basic step. If yes, try creating hotspot again.
    – iDev
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 19:10
  • @Chloe I know, but you still need to keep changing one thing until you arrive at a workable setup.
    – bmike
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 19:59
  • @iDev Yes I've tried over several weeks and I've reset the phone several times between that time, mainly because the Siri keyboard microphone key was grayed out.
    – Chloe
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 21:54

7 Answers 7


This one drove me nuts but I believe this will work for most of you:

Basically the APN settings for the Hotspot were missing.

If you can browse the internet on your phone and you can activate your Hotspot but you get the yellow exclamation mark on the computer's wifi or the 'Network cable unplugged" with USB tethering, try the following:

  1. Open Settings -> Mobile Data -> Mobile Data Network
  2. Check the APN/Username/Password settings under "Mobile Data" (most of the time username and password - if used - are identical, if not search APN settings on your provider's homepage)
  3. Enter the same settings under "Personal Hotspot" further down on the same settings page
  4. Return to Settings Menu
  5. Switch Mobile Hotspot off and on
  6. Connect to your Hotspot -> Internet on your computer should be working now

The problem appeared for me while roaming/after changing sims, basically every time the network settings get reconfigured and the APN settings automatically change for the roaming network/new network.

Hope it works for you too!

  • this actually works ! i had this problem for weeks and i went nuts because it took me so long and every time i ran into the problem i didn't find anything relative to the issue! the APN settings absence actually prevents your computer from receiving the internet and you dont get the blue bar on the hotspot page of the iPhone after the pc connects to it. if thats your issue, this is the solution.
    – Virgil
    Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 4:41
  • This was my case! It's really strange why dhcp behave like this on iphone...
    – bersam
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 21:24
  • also, it sometimes automatically disconnects connections and reconnects, i.e unstable hotspot network. Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 15:29

Found it! I went to a MetroPCS store and they looked at the phone. They enabled hotspot for my account, but it still would not help. They gave me a phone number to call, I called tech support, and was told:

  • Turn off LTE. Settings > Cellular > Enable LTE (Off)
  • Turn off/on Personal Hotspot.

Now it works! It only works on 4G.

I don't know if having the hotspot feature ($5/m) enabled on your account is relevant or not. I thought all data was combined, and since it is an unlocked phone, how could they know?

  • 1
    It turns out having the $5/m hotspot feature is unnecessary. It works with LTE with version 10.2 of iOS now. I just tested it. There must have been a bug in iOS.
    – Chloe
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 16:27
  • This worked for me too, my iOS 10.3 or provider won't allow LTE tethering via USB but works through WI-Fi...
    – malix
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 17:05
  • I intermittently got "Failed to get IP address" when trying to hotspot my Samsung mobile to my iPad. Turning off the LTE network on my iPad and using 4G /3G fixed the problem for me. Finally!!! Thanks for the tip above ... I had tried static IP addresses and fiddling with the APN to no avail. Turns out whenever I had really good signal (LTE) hotspotting wouldn't work ... the times I was only picking up 3G it worked. Now I know how to get it to work whenever I want ... 👍👍
    – Natasha
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 21:44
  • Wait… wha… why????? This worked for me. Edit - nah, just for seconds. Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 14:24

i had the same problem earlier on and it was soo frustrating!

Anyway i got it fixed (posting here using my revived laptop!) and the following was what worked for me:

Start > Control Panel > Windows Firewall > Allow a program or feature > remove Bonjour > reboot computer and watch the magic unfold.

P.S This was a solution posted by kind humans in another forum but it took me long to find it..Just thought i could share it on this forum as well to hopefully make the search easier for others.

cheers, hope this would solve your problem too! :)

  • 2
    That doesn't explain why the Android phone would not get an IP address from the iPhone. Android doesn't run Bonjour.
    – Chloe
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 16:23

I am going to take some time to do a summary of networking and troubleshooting to try to help you out.

When your phone is running a Personal Hotspot it starts up a couple services on the phone's OS one being a DHCP service. DHCP might seem familiar two you because it is what is the part of every network that gives out the IP address.

A network has two sides to it, internal and external. In our modern day there are external IPs that look like this 2001:0db8:85a3:0042:1000:8a2e:0370:7334 and internal IPs that look like this: or maybe you have seen

If you see a IP address on your computer(s) with 169.... this usually means that the DHCP service is not reachable. This could have several reasons and in this case I am going to assume that your Windows computer does not have the correct driver to speak with the iPhone's DHCP service. If you connect your iPhone via USB the driver is different than Bluetooth or WiFi.

We should be able to assume that the iPhone's network is fine if you can surf the web on your iPhone. Now getting that network over to your Windows computer is a matter of connecting the iPhone via USB (or WiFi or Bluetooth) and making sure that the driver is installed correctly. This should be the case as long as you have the latest version of iTunes installed on the computer and the iPhone shows up in iTunes as an available device.

The error message you get of "Connection in limited" is to my understanding the Windows version of "self-assigned IP address" which results from the computer not understanding the DHCP and/or DNS settings from the device it is getting network activity from.

Please verify all of these things and if you notice anything else out of the ordinary and I'll update my guide to help more.

  • I showed in the question that I already tried USB and Bluetooth PAN, and that I tried on multiple computers (different Windows versions) plus Android.
    – Chloe
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 18:00
  • I wasn't just trying to tell you how to fix it but to give you clues and the process that is usually invisible. On the other computers, was the latest iTunes installed? On the other hand your question is "How do I troubleshoot..." and that is what I am trying to answer. Seeing as how I spent just as much time writing my responses as you did yours I would appreciate a bit more cooperation
    – Andrew U.
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 14:02
  • @Chloe with all the troubles we have gone through to try to help you out, it might be time to restore the phone. But the last thing that comes to my mind is double checking with your provider that your contract supports Personal Hotspot
    – Andrew U.
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 14:02
  • That's my next step: take phone & laptop to MetroPCS store and make them fix it.
    – Chloe
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 14:44
  • That's not my suggestion but that will hopefully get a resolution. Best of luck, we are here for you if you still have troubles
    – Andrew U.
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 14:45

I had this same issue. Turns out that when traveling to another country and using a SIM card, I was required to enable a profile on my iPhone. This profile set the APN, which in turn was blocking me from tethering. To check on your iPhone, this go to:

Settings app → Cellular → Cellular Data Options → Cellular Data Network

In my case, the APN was pointed at the network in the country I had used the SIM card in. Even with this APN I was still able to use my phone on my current network with little troubles, but I was not able to tether.

If you see that the APN settings are wrong, and resetting them does not work (my profile prevented them from being reset), go to:

Settings app → General → Profile (if this does not exist, then you don't have any profiles installed). Delete the profile you do not need and this may solve your problem.


Bug in iOS: DHCP on iPhone stops working at some point.

I am always able to connect to iPhone's hotspot, but none of the clients receive an IP address. If I configure static IP configuration on any of the clients, it is able to access the Internet. That means the DHCP server on my iPhone 7 Plus isn't running. The rest of the functionality: Wi-Fi hotspot and USB LAN adapter function properly and show as connected. After powering-off and restarting my iPhone7 Plus, all clients are automatically configured using DHCP. This means that the DHCP server initially works, but stops after a few hours, and is never restarted.

Tested clients: MacBook Pro 2018, Windows 10 1909, iPhone 4s, Samsung A5.

Please contact Apple support and tell them you also experience the symptoms from case 100955127642.

  • Hi! was this bug confirmed in any updates ? or are you suggesting filing a report at bugreport.apple.com ?
    – anki
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 14:42
  • This bug is still present in iOS 13.2.3, which is the latest available today. Regarding the confirmation, Apple never confirm bugs. They lie, hide, and conceal, but never admit their faults, unless something big is made public by people with huge influence on the media. I've spent about an year on many support requests regarding bugs in the firmware of MacBook 2018, many other issues. If you are connected to a network, but the DHCP server is down, obviously you won't get auto-assigned IP, but you can still set it manually and use the network. That's the case here. Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 22:10

I tried everything above, but did not fix the problem, I made the pc "discoverable" on my private network, then the dropped gateway problem went away. Do this:

  1. Open Settings.

    The Settings window appears.
  2. Click Network & Internet.

    Your network and Internet related settings are shown.
  3. In the panel on the left, click either Wi-Fi (if you’re connected to a wireless network) or Ethernet (if you’re connected to a network using a network cable).

    A window with settings for your network appears.
  4. Find the Related setting section on the right, then click Change Advanced Sharing Settings.

    The Advanced Sharing Settings window appears. 
  5. Expand the network profile currently assigned to your network connection.

    It is marked with the words “current profile” on the right side of its name.
  6. In the Network discover section, select “Turn on network discovery”. Also, check the box that says “Turn on automatic setup of network connected devices.”

    Turning on network discovery.
  7. Click Save changes.

  8. Close the Settings window

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