How to Fix It When iPhone's Personal Hotspot Is Not Working

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Here are the most common causes, and ways to fix, an iPhone Personal Hotspot that isn't working.

Causes of an iPhone Personal Hotspot Not Working

There's not just one thing that can cause your iPhone's Personal Hotspot to stop working. For each solution below, we'll also include some information about why Personal Hotspot might be having problems.

Young man sitting on the floor, with a laptop on his lap, looking at his phone
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How to Fix It When iPhone's Personal Hotspot Is Not Working

Follow these suggestions, in this order, to get it working again.

The instructions in this article apply to all iPhone models running iOS 13 and up. For older versions of the iOS, the basic ideas are the same, but the exact steps may be slightly different.

  1. Turn Personal Hotspot Off and On. Sometimes you just need to reset your Personal Hotspot to get it working again. Do that by turning it on and off this way: Tap Settings > Personal Hotspot > move the Allow Others to Join slider to off/white and then back to on/green

  2. Turn Cellular Data On and Off. The problem with Personal Hotspot might not be that feature itself, but rather your connection to cellular data networks. If your phone is having trouble connecting to those networks, Personal Hotspot might not work either. Reset your cellular data connection by turning it on and off by tapping Settings > Cellular Data > move the Cellular Data slider to off/white and then back to on/green.

  3. Restart iPhone to Fix Personal Hotspot. You'd be surprised how often a simple restart of your iPhone will fix all kinds of problems you may be facing. Consult our instructions on how to restart every model of iPhone, from the very first generation to the latest edition, in the link at the beginning of this section.

  4. Confirm Your Phone Plan Includes Personal Hotspot. Have you changed your phone plan recently or switched phone companies? Personal Hotspot might not be working because it might not be included with your current phone plan. Most data plans from most phone companies include Personal Hotspot these days, but some don't and you may also be able to remove it from your plan. So, before you do anything else, log into your phone company account and make sure Personal Hotspot is included with your plan. If it's not, add it.

  5. Update iOS. Every new version of the iOS—the operating system that runs on the iPhone—includes bug fixes. Your iPhone's Personal Hotspot might not be working due to a bug that's fixed by an iOS update. Install the latest version of the iOS to see if it fixes your problem.

  6. Update Carrier Settings to Fix Personal Hotspot. Every iPhone has a hidden set of carrier settings. These are the settings that help you iPhone work with the phone company you use. While it doesn't happen as often as iOS updates, phone companies issue carrier settings updates from time to time. If Personal Hotspot isn't working, check for and install available carrier settings updates.

  7. Reset Network Settings. The iPhone stores network settings that help control how you connect to Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth, and other networks. If a problem crops up in your Network Settings, it can cause Personal Hotspot to stop working. Reset your Network Settings to solve the problem.

    After doing this, you'll need to pair Bluetooth devices again and enter Wi-Fi passwords again.

  8. Make Sure There Are No Problems With Your Phone Company Account. Personal Hotspot not working could be due to a problem with your phone company account (think overdue bill or error on the company's part). If nothing else on the list has helped so far, check your online phone company account or call your phone company to see if they can help.

  9. Restore iPhone with DFU Mode. If you've gotten this far without a fix to a Personal Hotspot that's stopped working, it's time to take more drastic steps. One of those steps is to restore your iPhone using DFU Mode. DFU, or Disk Firmware Update, Mode lets your iPhone start up but doesn't boot up the iOS. Because of that, it lets you make fixes to the iOS at a lower level that can sometimes solve very tricky issues. Begin by making a backup of your iPhone so you don't lose any data. Then put your iPhone into DFU Mode and restore it to see if a fresh start fixes the problem.

Of course, these tips only work if your Personal Hotspot is visible. In some cases, the option can disappear entirely from your iPhone. We can also show you how to fix a missing Personal Hotspot.

What to Do If Personal Hotspot Still Isn't Working

At this point, if Personal Hotspot still doesn't work, it's time to bring in the experts. You can contact Apple for tech support over the phone or make an appointment for in-person support at your local Apple Store. If anyone can help with a problem this stubborn, it's definitely Apple.