How To Connect Your Laptop To Your iPhone’s WiFi Hotspot

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You can easily share the internet signal you get on your iPhone with your laptop. The fancy word for it is tethering which simply means attached.

Knowing how to do this means you won't be stuck trying to connect to a random WiFi signal that belongs to….someone random.

The last thing I want you to do is to use your laptop out in the world for sensitive tasks like banking or personal communication and inadvertently connect to someone's WiFi signal who would love to check your interesting data out.

It happens.

I'm going to show you how to avoid that and how you can use your own private WiFi hotspot from your iPhone that's dedicated just for your laptop.

There are a few ways to connect them together and i'll show you them all so you can pick whichever method works best for you.

One thing, a hotspot is a wifi access point.

It's not quite as smart as a router, but it performs the same general task of managing an internet connection and what devices may access it.

Which Service Providers Allow Mobile Hotspot Tethering

Lets make sure your cellular provider actually offers tethering and what cost it might be.

 

 T-MobileAT&TVerizonSprint
Allows tetheringYesYesYesYes
Need to change plans?Yes. Magenta or magenta plus plans.NoNoYes
Add-on cost?No, have to change plans.$50/monthDepends on your existing plan.No, have to change plans.
Cost of cheapest plan that allows tetheringMagenta – $35/mo.

Magenta Plus

– $43/mo
Only add-on packagePlay More – $45/moUnlimited Basic –

$60/mo
Data LimitsMagenta – 3GB

Magenta Plus –

20GB 4G LTE
5GB15GB, then unlimited
at slower speed
500MB LTE
Link to pageLinkLinkLinkLink

 

T-Mobile

AT & T

Verizon

Sprint

Allows Tethering?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Need to change plans?

Yes. Magenta or

Magenta Plus plans

No

No

Yes

Add-on cost?

No. Have to

change plans

$50 / mo

Depends on your

existing plan

No. Have to change

 plans.

Cost of cheapest plan 

that allows tethering?

Magenta – $35/mo.

Magenta Plus

– $43/mo

Only add-on package Play More – $45/mo

Unlimited Basic –

$60/mo

Data Limits?

Magenta – 3GB

Magenta Plus –

20GB 4G LTE

5GB

15GB, then unlimited

 at slower speed

500MB LTE

Link To Page

Link

Link

Link

Link

Something to be cautious and aware of – once you exceed the monthly quota of data, you might not even get a notice that you will be paying a premium price.

It can quickly get costly for any data you further use and you won't find out until your next bill.

Verizon has the best deal with its Play More plan offering 15GB of high speed mobile data that you can share with other devices.

If you go over the 15GB, Verizon will still allow mobile tethering. but will automatically slow the speed down to 600kb (0.6MB/s).

It's still a usable speed for simple web page browsing and email, but don't expect to stream HD movies or Netflix with the slower speed.

15GB is a decent amount of data bandwidth, you might be surprised at how little you actually use when everything is added up.

Three Ways To Connect Your Laptop And Use Your iPhone As An Internet Connection

  1. Create a wifi hotspot on your iPhone and connect your laptop to it. [link]
  2. Use the USB charging cable for your iPhone and connect it directly to your laptop [link]
  3. Connect to your iPhone with Bluetooth [link]

Which Method Is The Best?

It boils down to this.

  • A WiFi connection will provide a faster internet speed.
  • A Bluetooth connection will provide a slower internet speed but be more secure.

If you're out and about in the world with your laptop, chances are good that you'll have your iPhone charging cable with you.

It you don't mind the cable, you'll get the best balance of security and internet speed.

But don't underestimate WiFi. As long as you use a strong password it's pretty safe. Safer than public WiFi for sure.

So let's see what you need to do to connect in all these different ways.

Creating a WiFi Hot Spot On Your iPhone

Step 1

Open the “Settings” app located on a home screen or folder on your iPhone.

Can't find it? No worries, just swipe down when you're on a home screen and type settings into the search bar like this:

Step 2

Tap Personal Hotspot near the top of the settings menu

Step 4

Turn on the “allow others to join” toggle button and tap the WiFi password option.

Enter in a strong password here. Use characters like $?! and a mixture of upper and lowercase letters.

Step 5

You've just activated your iPhone's WiFi hotspot!

Step 6

Now let's connect your laptop to your iPhone to use it's internet signal.

To connect we'll have to find your iPhone on the list of WiFi access points your laptop detects nearby.  The name of your iPhone will be the name of the access point.

If you aren't sure the name of your iPhone, find general on the settings app menu, tap about and you'll see the name at the top of the list like this.

Step 7

On your laptop, press or click the windows button, type WiFi and select Wifi settings.

Step 9

Make sure your wifi button is toggled on and select show available networks

Step 10

Find the name of your iPhone on the list of WiFi access points. Depending on where you are, you could have quite a few to scroll through before you see your iPhone.

The name of the access point will be the same as the name of your iPhone.

Step 11

Finally, select the connect button, enter the password you created earlier and you should be in business.

To confirm you are really connected to your iPhone, you can check by looking back on the WiFi settings page like this:

After you've made the first connection with your iPhone and entered in the WiFi password, you shouldn't have to do that in future. Keep in mind though that you should change it every so often for security.

Summary

  • Open the settings app on your iPhone.
  • Select Personal Hotspot
  • Toggle allow others to join to ON and enter a strong WiFi password
  • Find and connect to your iPhone's WiFi hotspot on your laptop
  • Enter in the password you entered earlier and press connect.
  • Confirm you are really connected to your iPhone via WiFi settings

Create a Bluetooth Connection Between Your iPhone and Laptop To Share Internet

Step 1

To allow your laptop to use the internet on your iPhone, you'll have to do something called “pairing”. It just means introducing your laptop and iPhone to each other so they become a “pair” of connected things.

On your iPhone, tap settings then Bluetooth

Step 2

Next you could see a ton of different Bluetooth devices or none at all. It doesn't matter either way, so don't worry.

Make sure the Bluetooth toggle button is on.

Step 3

We'll have to make your laptop and iPhone discoverable so they can “see” each other and connect.

Your iPhone will be discoverable as soon as your turn Bluetooth on. If it's already on, your iPhone is already discoverable.

Your laptop is a bit more involved but it's easy.

Press the Windows key or button on your laptop and type Bluetooth

Step 4

Once you've opened Bluetooth Settings on your laptop you'll see a screen like this (below). You're going to add a new Bluetooth device – your iPhone – so select that.

Step 5

Select Bluetooth.

Step 6

Your laptop will start to search for nearby Bluetooth devices. Depending where you are you might have several devices show up or just your iPhone.

Step 7

Before your iPhone and laptop make a connection, you'll be asked to confirm if a code that you see on your laptop is the same code displayed on your iPhone.

It's just a security measure.

Here's what your iPhone will look like when it asks you to confirm the pin number

Step 7

Your iPhone should now be connected to your laptop via Bluetooth. To check, just go into your settings app and select Bluetooth. You should see “connected” next to your laptop's computer name like this

Step 8

Now your iPhone and laptop are paired (connected) to each other, you'll have to setup one or two more things before you can use the internet connection from your iPhone on your laptop.

Press the windows button / start key and type “network connections” into the search box

Step 9

Once inside the network connections window, right click on Bluetooth Network Devices and select View Bluetooth Network Devices.

Step 10

Right click on your iPhone and select connect to and then access point

You should be connected to your iPhone at this point and be able to browse the internet.

Note: If you have a bad WiFi connection and you switch over to using your iPhone and Bluetooth, make sure to disable your laptop's WiFi first.

Summary

  • Go into the settings app and turn Bluetooth on
  • Enable Bluetooth on your laptop and make it discoverable
  • Confirm the pin code matches on your iPhone and Laptop
  • On your laptop – View Network Connections
  • Right click Bluetooth Network Devices -> View Bluetooth Network Devices
  • Right click on your iPhone -> Connect Using -> Access Point
  • You should be able to browse the web on your laptop via your iPhone's cell signal.

Connect Your Laptop To Your iPhone And Share Internet Via A USB Charging Cable

Here's the third and last method of using your iPhone as an internet access point for your laptop to share.

All you need is the charging  cable for your iPhone and connect it directly to your laptop.

I didn't find much good information out there on the steps you need to do to hook up your iPhone to your laptop with just a USB cable.

I figured it out for you!

Step 1

You must download and install iTunes for this to work! (get it here)

Step 2

Once you have it installed, enable your iPhone's personal hotspot by going to settings and then personal hotspot.

Step 3

Make sure the personal hotspot button is toggled on.

Step 4

Connect your iPhone to your laptop using the USB charging cable. If you get any prompts on your iPhone to “trust this computer” select yes.

Step 5

Press the windows key, then type network connections. You should see a connection called Apple Mobile Device Ethernet​​​​

Step 6

At this point you should have internet access on your laptop via the USB charge cable. Make sure WiFi is off if you are having any problems.

Magic!

Summary

  • Download iTunes to your laptop
  • In the settings app on your iPhone, go to Personal Hotspot and make sure the toggle switch is on
  • Connect your iPhone to your laptop with the USB charging cable
  • Go to start menu -> search for network connections
  • Make sure your iPhone is listed as one of the new network connections

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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