How to Use Your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot to Tether on Windows and macOS
First of all: not every cellular carrier includes this feature in every plan. If your cellular data plan doesn’t allow for tethering, you may not see the Personal Hotspot option at all on your iPhone’s settings screen. You may have to pay extra to gain access to it.
Second, it’s important to remember that when you use your iPhone as a data connection, you are using your mobile data plan and as such, if you have a data cap, then it will count towards that. If you have unlimited data or a large cap, then this might not trouble you, but you’ll otherwise want to be mindful of what you’re using you computer for when connected to your iPhone as a hotspot.
Even if you have unlimited data, there’s a good chance you have a limited amount of tethering data — or, at least, high-speed tethering data. Your carrier may charge you extra if you need more tethering data. Check your cellular plan for more details about your plan’s hotspot, or tethering, capabilities.
Lastly, Wi-Fi tethering will also drain your phone’s battery more quickly. I recommend connecting your iPhone to a power source–or plug it into your laptop via USB cable–while tethering. Be sure to disable the hotspot when you’re not using it, too.
How to Turn On Your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot
As the wireless hardware in your laptop has stopped working, there are two ways to connect to your iPhone and use its data connection: Bluetooth, and USB. When you turn Personal Hotspot on, it will allow you to use any of these three options–you don’t need to alter any settings.
- Open the Settings app and tap Personal Hotspot to access the
Personal Hotspot settings.
- Turn Personal Hotspot on using the switch along the top of the
Personal Hotspot settings.
Next, it’s time to connect to your hotspot on your laptop using Bluetooth, or USB.
Connect to Your Hotspot via Bluetooth
USB is faster than Bluetooth, but if you’d prefer to use Bluetooth to connect to your hotspot, you can do that too.
To connect via Bluetooth from a Windows computer:
- Click on the Bluetooth icon in the system tray and select Join
a Personal Area Network.
- Click “Add a Device” in the upper-left corner.
- Choose your iPhone from the resulting screen and click Next to
continue. (Like any other Bluetooth connection, you’ll be shown a pair code on your computer and your iPhone.)
- Compare the two passcodes, and if they are the same, tap Pair on your iPhone’s screen and Yes on the Windows pair screen. (Allow your Windows machine to install the necessary files on your system.)
- Right-click on your iPhone to connect it as an access point. You’re
ready to surf the Internet, check e-mail, chat, and so on.
Head to System Preferences > Bluetooth, find your iPhone in the
list, and click Pair next to your iPhone. (You’ll be shown a pair code on your Mac’s screen and on your iPhone.)
If the codes match, tap the Pair button to confirm the connection.
From your Mac’s menu bar, click the Bluetooth symbol, then highlight your iPhone in the list, and click Connect to Network.
You’ll now be able to access the Internet through your iPhone’s Bluetooth connection.
When you want to disconnect, click the Bluetooth symbol once more,
highlight your iPhone, and then Disconnect from Network.
Connect to Your Hotspot with a USB Cable
Connecting via USB is by far the easiest method to tether your phone. As long as you have your Personal Hotspot turned on, all you need to do is:
- Plug your phone in with a USB cable and you should be good to go.
On our Windows’ network adapters, we can see we’re connected via Apple Mobile Device Ethernet.
On our Mac, we can see in the Network settings that our iPhone is connected through our USB connection.
Which Method Is Best?
USB is the fastest but most inconvenient, requiring your iPhone to be physically connected to the computer. Still, it’s super simple to set up, requiring zero configuration.
Bluetooth is the slowest of the two, also requiring the most configuration, though once it’s done, you don’t have to worry about it again.