How to Use Your iPhone's Internet Connection on Your iPad

You can tether your iPad to your iPhone by setting it up as a hotspot.

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The only thing better than carrying the Internet around with you in your pocket is using that Internet connection on a bigger screen device. While Apple sells iPads capable of signing on to 4G LTE networks, it's actually quite easy to simply use your iPhone's data connection. After all, you have Wi-Fi while at home, and almost always have your iPhone on you when you leave the house.

And the ability to use your iPhone's data connection is actually more secure than using a Guest Wi-Fi service, which puts you on the same Wi-Fi network as other 'guests' using the service.

How much does it cost? That will depend on your service provider. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon all have packages that include using your smartphone as a hotspot. Most give you a bucket of bandwidth that you can use for a hotspot before either slowing the speed or stopping it altogether. Don't worry, the amount is usually enough unless you are doing a lot of video streaming, which will eat into it fairly quickly. You can check with your service provider to get more details on hotspot fees and services. As we all know, service plans seem to change almost daily.

Let's get to the good stuff: tethering your iPad to your iPhone. This is basically a two step process: setting your iPhone up as a hotspot and then connecting your iPad to that hotspot.

How to Turn On Your iPhone's Hotspot

  1. Launch your iPhone's Settings app. (If you don't know how, just ask Siri to 'Open Settings.')
  2. Choose "Personal Hotspot".
  3. On the hotspot page, flip the top switch from Off to On. If the hotspot feature is already set up on your account, this should turn tethering on. If it is not set up on your account, you may be asked to call a number or visit a website to set it up on your account.
  4. Next, you will want to set a password. Tap "Wi-Fi Password" and enter an alphanumeric password that has at least eight letters. Ideally, it should contain at least one capitalized letter and one or more numbers. (This isn't a requirement, but it is good practice to keep your connection secure.)
  5. Your password will remain even if you turn the hotspot feature off, so you don't need to set it again each time you turn it on. It is a good idea to turn on the hotspot when you need it and then turn it off again when you are done.

How to Connect to a Hotspot on Your iPad

You may be pleasantly surprised to find out connecting your iPad to a hotspot is almost identical to connecting it to any other Wi-Fi network.

  1. Go into your iPad's settings.
  2. Choose Wi-Fi from the top.
  3. If your iPhone's hotspot is turned on and your iPhone is near your iPad, you should see the device name under where it says "Choose a Network..." The device name usually shows up as your name. Example: Daniel's iPhone.
  4. Tap the name of your hotspot and type in the password.
  5. Tip: If your hotspot doesn't show up, turn Wi-Fi off and then on again on your iPad. Sometimes it simply needs to refresh the list of available connections.

And that's it. Your iPad should now be connected to your iPhone and using its data plan for Internet access.

Remember, using a hotspot is still using your data. If you have a maximum data cap, streaming movies over the hotspot may not be a good idea. The average HD movie can take over 1 GB to stream, which can quickly burn through your data cap.

Even unlimited plans usually cap the amount of data that can be streamed through hotspots, although this cap is usually higher.