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

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Many hotels, virtual offices, and other locations only provide a single wired Ethernet connection. If you need to share that one internet connection with multiple devices, you can use your Mac as a sort of Wi-Fi hotspot or access point for your other devices to connect to.

This will let other devices, even non-Mac computers and mobile devices, access the internet through your Mac. The way it works is very similar to the built-in Internet Connection Sharing feature in Windows.

Note that 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.
  2. Select Internet Sharing from the list on the left.
  3. Use the drop-down menu to pick where to share your connection from, like Ethernet to share your wired connection.
  4. Below that, choose how other devices will connect to your Mac, like AirPort (or even Ethernet).
  5. From the left pane, put a check in the box next to Internet Sharing.
  6. When you see the prompt about sharing your Mac's internet connection, just hit Start.

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 enable encryption. Although it only uses the very poor WEP protocol, the WEP encryption (choose 128-bit key length) is better than nothing.
  • You can change the channel for your wireless network to minimize conflicts with other networks, and also choose a unique name for your network.
  • 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 is turned on again.
  • You can easily stop sharing your internet connection by removing the check in the box next to Internet Sharing at Step 5.