I have a question regarding the setup of a hotspot on my Mac. I have a wired ethernet connection, which I connect to the computer. I would then like to be able to connect to that same connection (and the LAN) on my iPhone over wifi. I followed the steps on How to Create a Wi-Fi Hotspot in macOS which worked, however, there is a problem. Whenever I do this, the Macbook acts as a router, not allowing me to access any devices on the original LAN the Mac is connected to. I would instead prefer if it acted more like an AP, allowing communication to flow between my iPhone and everything on the LAN.

To clarify, the important thing here is that I can't access any devices that are already present on my LAN. I have an IKEA Tradfri hub connected via ethernet to my router. Also connected to my router is a powerline adapter. The second powerline adapter is connected to the Macbook I was talking about. So now, when I connect to the Macbook's wifi, I can't access the hub. (This is, however, possible from the Macbook - I checked via a ping request, and there is no app available for Mac as far as I know.) My Macbook is therefore acting as a router, where the ethernet cable is plugged into the port that says Internet. I need it to act like an AP or a router where the ethernet cable is plugged into a normal LAN port. I hope this clarifies the difference.

  • Welcome to Ask Different! :) It'd be good if you could edit your question to clarify exactly what it is you want to be able to do that you can't at the moment, otherwise you may risk it being closed as being unclear. Maybe providing an actual example of something you want to do will clarify this. I ask because your MacBook acting as a router is what you would expect it to do if it was creating a hotspot, and it's not clear why behaving as a router would be causing you a problem?
    – Monomeeth
    Aug 27, 2017 at 10:07
  • Also, many routers can also be an AP, while a dedicated AP is not a router as another device is already doing the routing. My point is, you are going to need something to be a router unless all you need is a direct connection between two devices.
    – Monomeeth
    Aug 27, 2017 at 10:07
  • Thanks for the feedback Monomeeth! I hope it is now clear what I meant.
    – user253239
    Aug 27, 2017 at 10:36
  • I don't think MacOS offers this ability natively. It's called "Internet sharing" because it allows you to share the connection to the Internet, it's not for sharing the entire LAN.
    – Barmar
    Oct 13, 2023 at 18:34

2 Answers 2


Go to system preferences then click on internet sharing and select share your internet connection from your Ethernet then select (to devices using WIFI)

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I think what you are looking for is described as a "Bridge" instead of the routing functions that come by default when using Apple's "Internet Sharing" capabilities. While it is possible to bridge together network adapters, there is a limitation pointed out in Apple's Support article

Note: You can’t use bridging if the physical network device used for bridging is a wireless device.

It may not be the answer you were looking or hoping for, but it seems there is a limitation in the OS that doesn't allow for what you are asking for...

I haven't been able to test with an external Wifi USB adapter, but if you have to purchase hardware anyway, it may be better to purchase an AP like you proposed.

  • That article describes using a virtual interface to connect to the Internet from the Mac. It's not about turning the Mac into a bridge.
    – Barmar
    Oct 13, 2023 at 18:32
  • @Barmar, can you clarify how it should be described? Given that we try to create a "bridge" between the Ethernet port and WiFi, it seems like this is not possible without a Virtual bridge as we are not physically bridging them together. If your concern is with the word "bridge", I'd be happy to learn about the more accurate term if you can provide that.
    – Glenn
    Nov 21, 2023 at 18:11
  • I think I misunderstood your answer. You're not saying the article contains a solution, you're saying that it clearly says you can't do what the OP wants.
    – Barmar
    Nov 21, 2023 at 19:45

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