This is a common scenario: You’re away from a stable wifi connection and need to get work done on a screen that’s larger than your iPhone. You have a tablet or a laptop at the ready, but no cellular connectivity on those devices—which means no way to connect to the internet. Or so you thought.
If your phone’s cellular data plan includes mobile hotspot support, you can easily let your larger device siphon internet data from your iPhone. There are a couple of caveats: Using up iPhone data will drain your phone’s battery life, and your plan may only support up to a certain amount of hotspot data per month, so make sure you watch your usage and plan to charge up your phone once you’re done working.
Here’s how to set up your hotspot: From the Settings app on your iPhone, tap Cellular, then Personal Hotspot. Toggle on Allow others to join. You can connect to your iPhone’s data using wifi, Bluetooth, or USB.
If you choose wifi, open your laptop or tablet’s wifi settings, then choose the name of your iPhone from the list of available networks. Your iPhone has a mobile hotspot wifi password, which you may need to type in to connect to the network. If both your iPhone and your laptop or tablet are signed into your iCloud account, you won’t have to enter a password to connect.
Apple turned the iPhone 12 into a faster mobile hotspot, with the ability to connect to devices over 5GHz wifi instead of the 2.4GHz on previous iPhones. In your Personal Hotspot settings, you can toggle on a Maximize compatibility option to revert back to 2.4GHz wifi, which is useful if you’re trying to tether a device that only supports 2.4GHz wifi to your iPhone.
If you choose Bluetooth, pair your iPhone to your computer and then either tap the Pair prompt that pops up or enter a code displayed on your computer. You can also connect your computer via USB—just plug the iPhone in, then choose your device from the list of network services in your settings.