Is there a recommended process for reliably connecting a Mac to an iPhone Personal Hotspot network via Wi-Fi?

Here is the method that I have been trying:

  1. turn on WiFi and Personal Hotspot on iPhone
  2. turn on WiFi on Mac

This works maybe 25% of the time, and the other 75% of the time the Mac scans the Wi-Fi networks but does not see my iPhone hotstpot network. I keep repeating the above process until it connects.

If I connect instead via "Join other Network..." and input my network name, security, and password, that sometimes works, and other times says "No network found."

If I connect via USB cable or Bluetooth, that reliably works every time.

I tried dropping the network and re-adding it on the Mac, but that didn't help:
System Preferences > Network > Wi-Fi > Advanced > Wi-Fi (tab) > Preferred Networks > (select my hotspot network) > ("-")

Also, is there a way to force the Mac to rescan the Wi-Fi networks?

iPhone: iPhone 6
iOS: 8.3 (up to date as of 11 May 2015)

Mac: MacBook Pro Retina 15" (Mid 2012)
OS X: Mavericks 10.9.5 (13F1066) (kernel: Darwin 13.4.0)

  • How good is the phone's 3/4G connection at the time you try to connect? I've noticed if it's not fully up & running, it doesn't hand out the hotspot.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 17:28
  • 2
    Note that for the network to be visible to other devices, you MUST be on the Settings > Personal Hotspot page on iPhone. If not, it cannot be connected to.
    – tubedogg
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 16:56

1 Answer 1


@tubedogg's suggestion fixed my problem: make sure the iPhone has the Settings > Personal Hotspot screen visible when I attempt to connect with the Mac. I've done that now the last 5 or so times and it's worked every time.

  • 1
    But you are fundamentally right there is no official documentation on how to set the location configuration for this to work and the order of the operations to achieve on the iPhone and the Mac. The combinations number is huge. Apple should have done a clear documentation on this topic.
    – dan
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 16:25

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