How to Fix iPhone Personal Hotspot That's Not Working

Find out why you can't tether your iPhone

Many things can cause your iPhone Personal Hotspot to stop working. We include information about why Personal Hotspot might be having problems and each solution below. These are the most common causes and ways to fix an iPhone Personal Hotspot that isn't working.

How to Fix an iPhone Personal Hotspot

If your iPhone Personal Hotspot isn't working, follow these suggestions—in this order—to get it working again.

These instructions apply to all iPhone models running iOS 13 and up. For older versions of iOS, the basic ideas are the same, but the exact steps may differ.

  1. Turn Personal Hotspot Off and On. Sometimes you need to reset your Personal Hotspot to get it working again. Do that by turning it on and off: 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 be related to your iPhone's 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: Tap Settings > Cellular > move the Cellular Data slider to off/white and 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. Consult our instructions on how to restart every iPhone, from the first generation to the latest model, in the link above.

  4. 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 iOS to see if it fixes your problem.

  5. Enable Maximize Compatibility on iPhone 12 Series. The iPhone 12 series phones have some different networking features and options than earlier devices, including 5G. These options can sometimes cause a problem for older models connecting to them. Solve this by going to Settings > Personal Hotspot > move the Maximize Compatibility slider to on/green.

  6. Update Carrier Settings to Fix Personal Hotspot. Every iPhone has a hidden set of carrier settings. These settings help your iPhone work with your phone company. Carriers issue updates from time to time, though not as often as iOS updates. If Personal Hotspot isn't working, check for and install available carrier settings updates.

  7. 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 your plan doesn't include it. Most phone companies' data plans include Personal Hotspot these days, but some don't. You may also be able to remove the feature. So, before you do anything else, log into your phone company account and make sure your plan includes Personal Hotspot. If it doesn't, add it.

  8. 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 the 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.

  9. 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 (such as an 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.

  10. Restore iPhone with DFU Mode. If you've gotten this far without a fix to a Personal Hotspot that's not working, it's time for more drastic steps. One of those 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 enables you to fix 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 isn't working, 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 Apple.

  • How do I make my iPhone hotspot faster?

    Turn on Maximize Compatibility and move your other devices closer to your iPhone. If necessary, update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.

  • How do I check my hotspot usage on iPhone?

    To check your iPhone hotspot's data usage, go to Settings > Personal Hotspot. Tap a connected device to see how much data it has used.

  • How do I change the hotspot name on my iPhone?

    To change your hotspot's name, you must change the name of your iPhone. Go to Settings > General > About > Name. Tap X next to the current name, then enter a new one.

  • How do I change my iPhone hotspot password?

    To change your iPhone hotspot password, go to Settings > Personal Hotspot > Wi-Fi Password and tap the X to delete the current password. Enter a new password and tap Done.

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