How to Set up and Use IPhone Tethering

 ​Tethering allows you to use your iPhone or Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad as a wireless modem for a computer when it is not in range of a Wi-Fi signal. When you use tethering to set up a Personal Hotspot, anywhere your iPhone or iPad can access a cellular signal, your computer can get online too.

Before you can set up a Personal Hotspot, contact your cellular provider to add this service to your account. There is usually a fee for the service. Some cellular providers do not support tethering, but AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Cricket, US Cellular and T-Mobile, among others, do support it.

It is possible to set up the Personal Hotspot account from the iOS device. Go to Settings > Cellular and tap on Set Up Personal Hotspot. Depending on your cellular carrier, you are directed to call the provider or go to the provider's website.

You'll be prompted to set up a Wi-Fi Password on the Personal Hotspot screen of your iOS device.

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Turn on Personal Hotspot

Phone and computer
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 You'll need an iPhone 3G or later, 3rd generation Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad or later, or a Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad mini. On the iPhone or iPad:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Select Cellular.
  3. Tap Personal Hotspot and turn it on.

When you aren't using your Personal Hotspot, turn it off to avoid running up high cellular charges. Go back to Settings > Cellular > Hotspot to turn it off.

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You can connect to the computer or other iOS device via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB. To connect by Bluetooth, the other device must be discoverable. On your iOS device, go to Settings and turn on Bluetooth. Select the device you want to tether to the iOS device from the list of discoverable devices.

To connect by USB, plug in your iOS device to your computer using the cable that came with the device.

To disconnect, turn off Personal Hotspot, unplug the USB cable or turn off Bluetooth, depending on the method you use.

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Using Instant Hotspot

If your mobile device is running iOS 8.1 or later and your Mac is running OS X Yosemite or later, you can use Instant Hotspot. It works when your two devices are near each other. 

  • The iOS device must have Personal Hotspot turned on it Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot.
  • You must have a cellular plan for Personal Hotspot.
  • Both devices must be signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID.
  • Both devices must have Bluetooth turned on.
  • Both devices must have Wi-Fi turned on.

To connect to your Personal Hotspot:

On a Mac, choose the name of the iOS device providing the Personal Hotspot from the Wi-Fi status menu at the top of the screen.

On another iOS device, go to Settings > Wi-Fi and select the name of the iOS device providing the Personal Hotspot.

The devices disconnect automatically when you are not using the hotspot.

Instant Hotspot requires iPhone 5 or newer, iPad Pro, iPad 5th generation, iPad Air or newer or iPad mini or newer. They can connect with Macs dated 2012 or newer, with the exception of the Mac Pro, which must be late 2013 or newer.