How to Share Your Internet Connection on a Mac via Wi-Fi

Get all of your devices online with a single Ethernet cord

Older man wearing headphones looking at phone while sitting in front of desktop computer and a tablet.

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Many hotels, virtual offices, and other locations only provide a single, wired Ethernet connection. If you have several devices that you need to get online with, you can use your Mac as a sort of Wi-Fi hotspot or access point for your phone and tablet to connect to.

You can share the connection with even non-Mac computers and mobile devices through your Mac. The way it works is very similar to the built-in Internet Connection Sharing feature in Windows.

This process shares your internet connection with your other computers and mobile devices, so you need both an Ethernet network adapter and a wireless adapter on your Mac. You can use a wireless USB adapter to add Wi-Fi capabilities to your Mac if you need to.

How to Share a Mac Internet Connection

  1. Open System Preferences and choose Sharing.

    The Sharing option in Mac System Preferences
  2. Select Internet Sharing from the list on the left.

    Internet Sharing option on a Mac
  3. Use the drop-down menu next to Share your connection from to pick your internet source, such as Ethernet to share a wired connection.

    Internet sources for sharing on a Mac
  4. Below that, choose how other devices will connect to your Mac.

    Options for a shared connection on a Mac
  5. In the left pane, put a check in the box next to Internet Sharing.

    The box to turn Internet Sharing on on a Mac
  6. When you see the prompt about sharing your Mac's internet connection, click Start.

    Confirmation dialog box for sharing internet connection on a Mac
  7. Read any "warning" prompts if you get them, and click through with an OK if you agree to them.

Tips on Sharing Internet From a Mac

  • If you're using AirPort, enable wireless encryption by clicking on the AirPort Options button and checking the option to allow encryption. Although it only uses the inferior WEP protocol, the WEP encryption (choose 128-bit key length) is better than nothing.
  • You can change the channel to minimize conflicts with other networks and also choose a unique name for your system.
  • If your host Mac computer goes to sleep or shuts down, any connected clients will be disconnected, and no new clients will be able to find the connection until the computer turns on again.
  • Stop sharing your internet connection by removing the check in the box next to Internet Sharing at Step 5.