Can My iPad Use My iPhone's Data Connection?

Get your iPad online without public Wi-Fi

person using an iPad

 Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

While most of us have Wi-Fi in the home, and Wi-Fi in hotels and coffee shops have become commonplace, you may still have times when you're trapped without an internet connection for your iPad.

But so long as you have your iPhone, you can share its data connection with your iPad through a process called tethering.

Instructions in this article apply to devices running iOS 8 or later.

How to Set Up Your iPhone's Personal Hotspot

You'll have to adjust a couple of settings on your iPhone to get your tablet online.

  1. Open your iPhone's Settings app.

  2. Tap Personal Hotspot.

    Settings and Personal Hotspot on an iPhone
  3. In the next menu, tap the switch next to Personal Hotspot to on/green.

    Turn on Personal Hotspot on iPhone
  4. The Wi-Fi network will share its name with your phone, and the password is next to Wi-Fi Password on the same screen.

    To change the password, tap the existing one, enter a new code, and then tap Done.

    The Personal Hotspot and password change screens on an iPhone
  5. Connect your iPad to the hotspot the same way you connect it to any other Wi-Fi network. Look for the name of your phone in the list of networks and enter the password from the iPhone.

Does Tethering Cost Money?

Your telecom company may charge you a monthly fee for tethering your device, but most providers now offer the service for free on most limited plans. Since you are drawing from a fixed amount of data, providers don't tend to care how you use it.

On unlimited plans, some providers like AT&T charge an extra fee while other providers like T-Mobile will slow your Internet speed if tethering exceeds high limits.

It is best to check with your carrier to see if it charges any extra fees for tethering. In any case, tethering will use up some of your allotted bandwidth, so yes, it will cost money in the sense that you may need to buy extra if you go over the maximum.