I have a MacBook Pro that's Continuity-connected to an iPhone 6+ running iOS 10, and when they share a Wifi connection provided by a third device, making and receiving iPhone cellular calls from the laptop works fine.

Now my intent is to provide the MacBook Pro's internet connection via the iPhone's Instant Hotspot, using Wifi, while still being able to make and receive cellular calls from the Mac.

Is this setup possible?

I fear it is not (but I cannot verify it myself, unfortunately), because an Apple support article states states as one of the prerequisites:

Each device is connected to the same network using Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

While the iPhone and the Mac are clearly connected in my scenario, the iPhone itself provides the Wifi network, but isn't itself connected to it.

Is there any way to make this work?

1 Answer 1



No, unfortunately it is not possible to make or receive cellular calls from Mac that is connected to an iPhone using Personal Hotspot.

You can avoid this limitation using a dedicated mobile hotspot.

What happens if you try it

Trying to do so will result in a message like this ("iPhone Not Available", "Your iPhone and Mac must be on the same Wi-Fi network.").

Error message: iPhone Not Available


As you already pointed out, it is only possible to handoff a cellular call to another Mac/iOS device, if Each device is connected to the same network using Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

If you connect your Mac to your iPhone's Personal Hotspot, your devices do not use the same Wi-Fi network. In fact, only your Mac is connected to a Wi-Fi network created by your iPhone. Your iPhone isn't connected to a Wi-Fi network at all. It connects using GPRS/Edge/3G/LTE using its cellular modem.

In order for some handoff (including cellular phone calls) features to work on a Mac, your iPhone and your Mac need a Wi-Fi network to stream the phone call's voice data reliably. While this may result in some negligible lag, it's much more reliable than Bluetooth. You don't need to be in your phone's proximity for this to work as long as both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network.

Futher details

This is technical limitation.

The iPhone has two built-in network adapters; en0 (Wi-Fi) and pdp_ip0 (cellular data). When you turn on the Personal Hotspot and a device connects to it, your iPhone transfers the cellular data connection (pdp_ip0) to another network adapter. It's very similar to the macOS's built-in Internet Sharing (System Preferences > Sharing > Internet Sharing). Now the name of this network adapter is not en0 (Wi-Fi), but instead ap1 (Wi-Fi Access Point). This is the Wi-Fi module running in a different mode.

  • Thanks. That's good to know. So there's no workaround (without involving additional devices)?
    – mklement0
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 21:47
  • @mklement0 Correct. Using a dedicated mobile hotspot is my solution of choice.
    – oa-
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 22:19
  • This is a technical limitation and not one of the known software limitation within macOS and iOS.
    – oa-
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 22:43

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