I have an iPhone 4 and a MacBook Pro. If I turn 'Personal Hotspot' on my iPhone to on, then I can connect with my laptop fine and everything is great.

If on the other hand I then disconnect the laptop and leave 'Personal Hotspot' switched on, the signal appears to vannish after a while. So if I come back later and try to connect my Mac to the network again, the Mac can't even see the network.
If I open up the settings on the iPhone and switch 'Personal Hotspot' off and then on again (good old technical training) the signal reappears and everything is fine.

I'd like to be able to just leave the 'Personal Hotspot' available at all times because it's a extra bit of bother to switch it off and on again. Can anyone suggest a fix or tell me what's happening here...?

4 Answers 4


Actually, this is what happens for hotspot.

If there is no active WiFi connection, and you're not in the screen that says "Personal Hotspot", it turns off WiFi hotspot feature completely.

To connect your FIRST device, you MUST be in that Personal Hotspot settings page.

After that, it won't turn off until the last device is disconnected.

  • 3
    Um, then why wouldn't the toggle turn off? It's still showing 'on'...
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 20:33
  • 3
    You're not turning off the feature, just it's not broadcasting WiFi anymore. Bluetooth and USB will still work.
    – Shane Hsu
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 23:36
  • (Accepted with clarification in comment)
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 9:31
  • This actually works! Do you have a source for this or did you found out by yourself? Commented Apr 28, 2018 at 12:32
  • Not true. Here is the thing. I have the same issue. Now what's surprising is that my wife's iPhone's personal hotspot always shows in the network list but not mine, even though my Macbook and iPhone are logged in with the same Apple ID and iCloud. (Wife's iPhone 11, My MacBook Pro M1 and iPhone 12)
    – Rabindra
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 8:51

If your wireless client is a windows machine, try going to wireless settings , select your iphone's SSID and check off "connect even if the network is not broadcasting its name (SSID)" I've noticed this same problem and oddly, If i have one device connected, I still have to open the hotspot screen on my phone in order to find the access point with a second device. This would indicate that the hotspot is indeed still active, but not broadcasting its SSID.

  • 1
    You have to change this settings in the "old" control panel.
    – Heiner
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 16:33
  • Do you know whether such a setting also exists on an Android phone? (I have the same problem but with an android phone.)
    – Kvothe
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 11:37

The iPhone turns off its wifi after some inactivity. After you disconnect the laptop and the iPhone see no activity, the wifi connection is turned off and therefore you can't find the hotspot anymore.

You should be able to see the connection again once you unlock the iPhone from lockscreen.

  • Unfortunately unlocking doesn't appear to work on my device :(
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 11:44

Two years later I can report that the only decent thing I found was the 'tether me' app for Cylia. It has exactly the 'keep broadcasting' option I was looking for (although in practice it's generally worth tethering with a cable because it keeps the phone battery in a good state.

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