I’d like my iPad to talk to my MacBook Pro directly (not via cloud or router) sometimes, such as:

  • in a location where the “free WiFi” blocks https
  • when I suspect eavesdropping even though https isn’t blocked.
  • when I am on a Greyhound bus that falsely advertises WiFi. or an airport that falsely advertises “free.”
  • out and about with no router at all.

I know it can be done with a cat-5 cable. I think it can be done through the sync cable, though I don’t know how. But it would be nice to do it WiFi or Bluetooth. (Bluetooth may be too slow?). Shell via ssh, web server, VNC/X11/other display mirror, MySQL, etc.

Tutorial somewhere on MacOS/IOS communication without router between? Wireless preferred. Preferably simple, but I’m retired from software engineering and haven’t yet forgotten everything (though the skill is definitely fading).

  • Before any snarky comments about web search, the WiFi here is incredibly slow when it works at all, they scanned my passport to give me a password, and not only do they block https, they block tor and they block unencrypted connections to Google and DuckDuckGo.
    – WGroleau
    Mar 13, 2018 at 2:56

1 Answer 1


Create a computer-to-computer network

If you want to set up a temporary Wi-Fi connection between your Mac and another device, you can create your own network using the Wi-Fi menu.

  1. Click the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar and choose Create Network.

  2. Enter a name and choose a channel for your network.

  3. Click Create.

When you create a computer-to-computer network, the Wi-Fi menu icon changes to show a computer . When you’re done, click the Wi-Fi menu again and choose Disconnect to close the network you created.

Show Wi-Fi status in the menu bar

Use the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar to switch between Wi-Fi networks, turn Wi-Fi on or off, or open Network preferences.

  1. If the Wi-Fi status icon isn’t in the menu bar, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Network.

  2. Click Wi-Fi in the list at the left.

    If Wi-Fi isn’t in the list, click the Add button at the bottom of the list. Click the Interface pop-up menu, choose Wi-Fi, give the Wi-Fi service a name, then click Create.

  3. Select “Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar.”

Four signal bars appear in the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar. The more black bars you see, the higher the signal quality.


macOS Sierra: Create a computer-to-computer network

macOS Sierra: Show Wi-Fi status in the menu bar

  • Ironically, before I could read this, I had to dismiss the search results that I requested twelve hours earlier in China (but couldn’t receive there). Instead of blocking the requests, they block the responses, to make it look like the remote servers are down. But the browser saved the URI and re-submitted automatically as soon as I connected to SFO WiFi.
    – WGroleau
    Mar 13, 2018 at 19:32
  • Although I accept this as "the answer," it is not entirely satisfactory. No encryption, so apparently any Apple device could attach to it. In the case of my first three bullets, there well may be others around. Conversely, my own Android phone CAN'T find it!
    – WGroleau
    Mar 14, 2018 at 13:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .