How to Tether an iPad to an iPhone

Make your own Wi-Fi network to get your iPad online

Every iPhone can connect to the internet anywhere it can get a network signal, but most iPads need Wi-Fi to get online. Wi-Fi-only iPads can get online using an iPhone with a technology called tethering, which Apple calls Personal Hotspot on the iPhone. This feature allows the iPhone to function as a Wi-Fi hotspot and share its cellular network connection with nearby devices using Wi-Fi. Here's how to tether your iPhone and iPad.

These instructions apply to iPhones and iPads with iOS 7 or later.

Check your cellular data plan to see if it includes mobile hotspots.

How to Tether an iPad to an iPhone

To share your iPhone's cellular data connection with any nearby iPad so it can get online, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Select Personal Hotspot.

    Settings and Personal Hotspot on an iPhone
  3. Move the Personal Hotspot toggle switch to on/green.

    Turn on Personal Hotspot on iPhone
  4. Note the Personal Hotspot password listed on this screen. If the default password is too hard to remember, you can change it by tapping it and entering a new one on the next screen. Tap Done to save the new password.

    Hotspot passwords must be at least eight characters.

    The Personal Hotspot and password change screens on an iPhone
  5. Your iPhone is now ready to connect to your iPad.

Now follow these steps to connect your iPad to your iPhone hotspot:

  1. Tap Settings.

    The iPad Settings app
  2. Tap Wi-Fi.

    Wi-Fi setting on an iPad
  3. In the Personal Hotspots section, tap the name of your phone.

    Wi-Fi settings on iPad with Personal Hotspots highlighted
  4. Enter the password for the hotspot, if prompted. The password can be found in the menu on your iPhone.

When the iPad connects to the iPhone, a blue bar appears at the top of the iPhone screen (on some models, it's a blue bubble around the time in the upper-left corner). This indicates that a device is connected to the Personal Hotspot. The iPad can access the internet through the iPhone as long as the Personal Hotspot is turned on and the iPad is in Wi-Fi range of the iPhone.

You can use the iPhone as you normally would even while the iPad is tethered to it. Personal Hotspot doesn't interfere with it. The only difference you might notice is that the iPhone's internet connection may be a little slower than normal since the iPad is sharing it.

How Data Use Works When Tethering

Any data that devices use while tethered to the iPhone counts against the iPhone's monthly data plan. If you have a plan that charges you for overages or slows your speeds after you use a certain amount, you'll want to be aware of this. It's usually best to let other devices tether for limited periods of time and for relatively low-data-use functions. For example, don't tether an iPad to the iPhone's cellular connection to download a 4 GB game.

Connecting Multiple Devices to One iPhone

Multiple devices can be connected to a single iPhone Personal Hotspot. These could be other iPads, iPod touches, computers, or other Wi-Fi-equipped devices. Follow the steps to connect the device to Wi-Fi, enter the iPhone Personal Hotspot password, and you'll have everyone online in no time.

How to Disconnect Tethered Devices

When you're done, turn off Personal Hotspot on your iPhone by returning to Settings > Personal Hotspot and turning the toggle switch to off/white.

Turning off the Personal Hotspot automatically disconnects any devices that are using it.

Keep Personal Hotspot off except when you're using it to conserve battery life.

While not required, the iPad user should probably also turn off their Wi-Fi to save battery. Open Control Center and tap the Wi-Fi icon (second from the left in the top bar) so that it's not highlighted.

It's possible, in some situations, for Personal Hotspot to disappear from your iPhone, preventing you from tethering an iPad to it. In other cases, Personal Hotspot may stop working.

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