How to Fix Missing iPhone Personal Hotspot on iPhone

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

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

Normally, using Personal Hotspot is as simple as going into the Settings app and turning the feature on. But some users find that their Personal Hotspot has disappeared. This often happens after upgrading the OS or after unlocking or jailbreaking their phones. If your Personal Hotspot is missing, try these 10 steps, in this order, to fix it.

This article was written using iPhones running iOS 12 and iOS 13, but the basic ideas apply to earlier versions of the iOS, too. Some of the specific steps might be slightly different for older versions.

Turn Cellular Data On and Off

Personal Hotspot uses your iPhone's connection to 3G and 4G LTE cellular data networks. Because of that, sometimes resetting your cellular data connection is enough to bring a missing Hotspot back. Here's how:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Cellular.

  3. Move the Cellular Data slider to off/white.

  4. Move the Cellular Data slider back to on/green.

    Cellular, Data toggle ON, Data toggle OFF in iOS Settings
  5. Tap Settings in the top left corner and see if Personal Hotspot has re-appeared.

Restart Your iPhone

A restart often solves problems with your phone and gets you back on track. A restart may not work for most people with a missing Personal Hotspot, but it's simple and quick, so it's worth a try.

To restart your iPhone, hold down the home and sleep/wake buttons at the same time until the Apple logo appears on the screen and then let go.

If you have the iPhone 7, 8, X, XS, XR, or 11, the restart process is a bit different. Check out this article for more details on restarting those models and for other restart options.

Check Your Cellular Settings

Sometimes when the Personal Hotspot menu disappears from the main screen in the Settings app it's still present in another place. If so, you can get it back through a different path. Just follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Cellular.

  3. Tap Personal Hotspot.

  4. Move the Personal Hotspot slider to on/green.

    Three iOS screens showing where to find the Personal Hotspot toggle
  5. Go back to the main Settings screen and you may see Personal Hotspot listed right under Cellular. If so, the problem is solved.

Remove APN Certificates

This option only affects a small number of users, but it could be your culprit. If you've installed any Access Point Name (APN) certificates to make your phone work with certain phone companies, especially ones outside the U.S., that could lead to a missing Personal Hotspot.

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

Reset Network Settings

Personal Hotspot may be missing because of problems with the settings that control your phone's access to cellular and Wi-Fi networks (they may have accidentally been changed during an OS upgrade or jailbreaking). Resetting those settings and starting fresh should help. Just do this:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap General.

  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap Reset.

  4. Tap Reset Network Settings.

    3 iOS screens showing Reset, Reset Network Settings, and warning Reset Network Settings

    You may need to enter your passcode here. If prompted, do so and continue.

  5. In the pop-up warning, tap Reset Network Settings. This only resets settings. It won't delete any data. After the reset is finished, though, you may have to enter Wi-Fi network passwords or pair Bluetooth devices again.

Your iPhone will restart. When it's done booting up, check the main Settings screen for Personal Hotspot. If it's not there, continue on to the next step.

Check Your Phone's Name

Every iPhone has a name. For me, it's usually something along the line of "Sam's iPhone" or "Sam Costello's iPhone." That name doesn't get used for much, but believe it or not, sometimes it can affect whether or not Personal Hotspot is visible. If you've changed the name of your phone or have unlocked your phone:, follow these steps to change your phone back to its old name:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap General.

  3. Tap About.

  4. Look at the Name menu. If the name is different than what you were expecting, tap Name.

    Three iOS screens showing General, About, Name, and delete name buttons
  5. On the Name screen, tap the X to delete the current name and type in the old one.

If Personal Hotspot doesn't appear on the main Settings screen, move on to the next step.

Want more details about, and options for, changing your phone's name? Check out our article: How to Change the Name of Your iPhone.

Update Carrier Settings

While it doesn't happen as frequently as Apple releasing new versions of the iOS, every so often your phone company (aka your carrier) releases new versions of the settings that help your iPhone work with its network. Needing to update to the latest settings could be the cause of the missing Personal Hotspot. To check for new carrier settings:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap General.

  3. Tap About.

    Three iOS screens showing General, About, and Carrier Settings Update
  4. If updated settings are available, a prompt will appear on screen. Follow the instructions.

Learn a lot more about carrier settings and how to update them in How to Update Your iPhone Carrier Settings.

Update to the Latest Version of iOS

A missing Personal Hotspot could be caused by a bug in the iOS, the operating system that runs on the iPhone. If that's the case, there may be an update to the iOS that will fix things for you. Luckily, iOS updates are free and easy to install. Get step-by-step instructions on installing them in:

Restore From Backup

If nothing has worked so far, it's time for a more radical step: restoring from backup. This erases all of the data and settings on your iPhone and replaces them with an older version (make sure to pick one that you know works). Remember that anything that you don't have backed up will be lost during this process, so make sure to make a backup of your iPhone before starting this process.

For full instructions on how to do this, check out How to Restore iPhone From Backup.

Contact Apple For More Help

How to Make Apple Store Genius Bar Appointment
image credit: Artur Debat/Moment Mobile ED/Getty Images

If you've gotten this far and Personal Hotspot is still missing, you've got a more complicated problem than you can solve on your own. Your best at this point is to get help directly from Apple. Try going to your nearest Apple Store for expert help. Learn how to make an Apple Store appointment using this article.