How to Fix Missing Personal Hotspot on iPhone

Personal Hotspot not working on your iPhone? Here's what to do

The iPhone Personal Hotspot feature transforms your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot that can share its internet connection with other nearby devices. However, that can't happen if Personal Hotspot is missing.

The information in this article applies to iPhones running iOS 12 and up. The basic ideas work for earlier versions of iOS, as well. Some steps may be slightly different for older versions.

Person using hotspot on iPhone
Poike / iStock

Reasons Why the iPhone Personal Hotspot Feature Disappears

Normally, using Personal Hotspot is as simple as turning on the feature. However, some users find that their Personal Hotspot disappears. This often happens after upgrading the OS or after jailbreaking an iPhone.

How to Fix a Missing iPhone Personal Hotspot on iPhone

If your Personal Hotspot is missing, try these 10 steps, in this order, to fix the problem.

  1. Turn cellular data on and off. Personal Hotspot requires a connection to a cellular data network, such as 4G. Resetting the cellular data connection may bring back a missing Hotspot.

  2. Check the Personal Hotspot settings. Sometimes when Personal Hotspot is missing from the Settings app, it's still present in another place. If so, you can get it back through a different path.

    1. Open the Settings app and select Cellular > Personal Hotspot.
    2. Move the Personal Hotspot toggle to On (green).
    3. Next, go back to the main Settings screen. If you see Personal Hotspot listed under Cellular, the problem is solved.
  3. Restart your iPhone. Restarting an iPhone is a simple troubleshooting tip that, while not guaranteed to work, is easy to perform. To restart an iPhone, hold down the home and sleep/wake buttons at the same time until the Apple logo appears on the screen and then release the buttons.

  4. Update the carrier settings. While it doesn't happen as frequently as Apple releasing new versions of iOS, every so often, your phone company (also called your carrier) releases new versions of the settings that help your iPhone work on its network. Updating to the latest settings could be the cause of the missing Personal Hotspot.

  5. Update to the latest version of iOS. The Personal Hotspot feature not showing could be caused by a bug in iOS, the operating system installed on the iPhone. If that's the case, there may be an iOS update available that fixes the issue. iOS updates are free and easy to install. You can install updates wirelessly or through iTunes.

  6. Remove APN certificates. This option only affects a small number of users, but it could be the culprit. If you installed any Access Point Name (APN) certificates to make your phone work with certain phone companies, especially ones outside of the U.S., it could cause a Personal Hotspot not to show up.

    In that case, delete the APN certificate. Select Settings > General > Profiles, and tap the profile you want to delete. Then, tap Delete Profile and, in the confirmation pop-up, tap Delete.

    If you don't see Profile listed under the General settings, it means there is nothing to delete. The APN certificates are not the problem.

  7. Reset the network settings. A missing Personal Hotspot can be caused by problems with the settings that control the phone's access to cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Resetting those settings and starting fresh may help solve the problem.

    Select Settings > General > Reset > Reset > Network Settings.

    After the reset is finished, you may have to enter Wi-Fi network passwords or pair Bluetooth devices again.

  8. Change your iPhone's name. Every iPhone has a name, such as Sam's iPhone. That name doesn't get used for much, but it can cause the Personal Hotspot to go missing. If you changed the name of your phone or unlocked your phone, change your phone back to its original name.

  9. Restore from a backup. If nothing has worked so far, it's time for a more radical step: restoring from a backup. This erases all the data and settings on the iPhone and replaces the data with an older version. Anything that you don't back up is lost during this process, so make a backup of your iPhone before beginning this process.

  10. Contact Apple or schedule an appointment at a Genius Bar. If you've come this far and the Personal Hotspot feature is still missing, you have a more complicated problem than you can't solve. At this point, get help from Apple. Go to your nearest Apple Store for expert help.

Got your Personal Hotspot back again and devices still can't connect to it? Check out the tips in How to Fix It If iPhone Personal Hotspot Is Not Working.

  • How do I set up a personal hotspot on the iPhone?

    To set up an iPhone personal hotspot, go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot, turn on the switch, and (optionally) tap the slider next to Allow Others to Join. Or, you may see Set Up Personal Hotspot. If you tap it, you'll be prompted to contact your carrier and check your plan for hotspot availability.

  • How do I remove a personal hotspot from an iPhone?

    To turn off your personal hotspot on the iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot and tap the switch to turn off the hotspot. You may be prompted to enter your iPhone's passcode.

  • How do I change the personal hotspot name on an iPhone?

    To change the name of your personal hotspot, you'll have to change your iPhone's name. Go to Settings > General > About > Name, and change the name to your new preference. Your mobile hotspot's name is publicly viewable but only accessible via your password.

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