When I click on the WiFi symbol in the menu bar on my Mac I get a list of wireless networks, most of them with little lock icons next to them. But some of them show what looks like a pair of chain links instead (see image below). What does this mean? That these networks are personal hotspots?

WiFi icons


It's a personal hotspot created by an iOS device to share the cellular data connection that the phone has over Wi-Fi.

  • 2
    The symbol also appears with bluetooth and USB hotspots. – bjb568 Aug 10 '14 at 19:37
  • 1
    @grgarside, agreed, but can you explain what it means technically? Are there capabilities that it offers that a standard wireless hotspot or access point does not? – tresf Apr 24 '18 at 19:24
  • From what I can gather, it's a designated icon to tell users that the device is running an Apple OS (OSX, MacOS, iOS) which offers a broader-use hotspot feature which may range from Bluetooth, USB and Wifi hotspot capabilities. It appears to be a brand-specific designation to help the person connecting know the tether capabilities are NOT limited to only wifi. – tresf Apr 24 '18 at 19:31
  • It's not limited to iOS: I also get this icon when I use my Android device as a hotspot (Mi Mix 2). – Cristan Mar 18 at 9:24

You must log in to answer this question.

protected by Community Oct 10 '17 at 18:08

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .