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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

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

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    The symbol also appears with bluetooth and USB hotspots.
    – bjb568
    Commented Aug 10, 2014 at 19:37
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    @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
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 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
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 19:31
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    It's not limited to iOS: I also get this icon when I use my Android device as a hotspot (Mi Mix 2).
    – Cristan
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 9:24
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    Not just iOS devices. I get it on a Xiaomi hotspot
    – Bangkokian
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 12:34

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