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Tethering on the iPhone

Personal Hotspot / Tethering is a feature of iOS 4.3 and higher that lets an iPhone share its wireless data connection with other nearby devices via WiFi, Bluetooth, or USB. In that scenario, the iPhone acts like a wireless router for the other devices, transmitting and receiving data for them. An iPhone 4 or higher is required for WiFi connections, though an iPhone 3GS can offer Bluetooth and USB connections.

Using a Personal Hotspot is pretty easy once you’ve got it set up. It requires an iPhone with an active data plan, as well as the tethering option added to that plan. Adding Personal Hotspot can be a bit confusing because it’s not offered as a separate option for the iPhone’s data services. Instead, you’ll need to add tethering to your iPhone data plan, as it supplies both tethering and the Personal Hotspot service. You can do this by calling your cell phone carrier or adding the service via your web-based account if it is allowed via web by your carrier.

Enabling on iOS 6.* and below

  • To begin setting up your Personal Hotspot, tap on the Settings icon on your home screen (unless you’ve moved it elsewhere; if so, locate it and tap on it).

iPhone Settings icon

  • Then tap on General.
  • Then tap Network.

About halfway down the screen, you’ll see a button labeled Set Up Personal Hotspot (it will only read this before you’ve set one up the first time. Once you’ve done that, it will simply read Personal Hotspot). Tap it.

If you haven’t added the Personal Hotspot service to your iPhone’s data plan, or don’t already have tethering enabled, you’ll see this pop-up instructing you to add it. Once you’ve added the Personal Hotspot/tethering to your data plan, you’ll see this screen when you tap on the Personal Hotspot menu on the Network screen.

Activate Tethering Screen

To start up your Personal Hotspot, slide the Personal Hotspot slider to On.

iPhone Tethering Switch

The password is the one you’ll give to people connecting to your hotspot via WiFi to allow them access. If you want to change that password, tap the password field and edit it on the next screen. See our article Creating a secure password to ensure your connection is secure.

By default, Personal Hotspot is set to allow connections over USB only. When you turn it on, you’ll see this pop-up asking if you’d like to turn on WiFi and Bluetooth to allow for wireless connections to your Personal Hotspot. If you do (and you probably will, in most cases), tap the Turn on WiFi and Bluetooth button.

When other devices want to connect to your Personal Hotspot via WiFi, they’ll use their standard method of connecting to a new WiFi network.

Enabling on iOS7

Coming shortly

Internet Tethering on iPhone: What You Need To Know

What Is Tethering?

Tethering is a way to share an iPhone’s cellular data connection with other nearby computers and wireless devices. When tethering is enabled, the iPhone functions like a cellular modem or Wi-Fi hotspot and broadcasts its Internet connection to devices connected to it. All data send to and from those devices is routed through the iPhone to them. With tethering on the iPhone, your computer or other devices can get online anywhere you can access the web on your phone.

What is Personal Hotspot?

Personal Hotspot is the name that Apple uses for tethering on the iPhone. While the technologies are the same, when trying to using tethering on your iPhone, you’ll want to look for the Personal Hotspot options and menus.
What Kind of Devices Can Connect Via iPhone Tethering?

Almost any kind of computing device can use iPhone tethering. Desktops, laptops, iPod touches, iPads, and other tablets are all compatible.

How Do Devices Connect to Use Tethering?

Devices can connect to the iPhone when it’s in tethering mode in three ways:

  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • USB

USB is the default methods when using Personal Hotspot, but it’s easy to enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth sharing, too.

What Versions of the iPhone Support Tethering?

3GS and above

What Version of the iOS Is Required To Use Tethering?

Tethering requires iOS 4 or higher.

How Do I Know if iPhone Tethering Is Enabled on My Account?

There are two ways to check this. First, you can log in to your AT&T wireless account online and check your plan. Tethering will appear if you’ve added it to your plan. Your iPhone will also tell you. To find out, tap the Settings icon, then General -> Network. Scroll down to the Personal Hotspot button. If it reads off or on, tethering is enabled. If it’s not, the button will read “Set Up Personal Hotspot.”

Setting Up And Using Tethering on iPhone

How Do You Know When You’re Tethered?

When you’ve connected to the web via tethering, your iPhone will display a blue bar at the top of the screen that reads “Personal Hotspot.” If your phone is locked, you’ll see a big blue bar on the lock screen. The images at the top of the page show what this looks like.

Can You Sync the iPhone While Tethered?

Yes. If your iPhone is connected to your computer via USB, syncing the phone will not interfere with the Internet connection.

Can I Use Tethering If My iPhone Has Been Ejected?

Yes. After you connect your iPhone to your computer via USB, it will sync (unless you’ve disabled automatic syncing). If you prefer, you can then eject the iPhone by clicking the arrow buttons next to it in iTunes without losing your connection to the Internet.

Can I Keep Unlimited Data With a Tethering Plan?

Unfortunately, as far as we know, you cannot use an unlimited data plan with tethering but a quick call to your wireless provider will let you know for sure.



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