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How to Use Your iPhone as a Hotspot

We've all been plagued by cruddy Wi-Fi, whether at the airport, our local coffee shop or even just a friend's house. And while you can always fall back to your cellular connection on your iPhone, the same isn't necessarily true for your laptop or your tablet. Fortunately, you can share your iPhone's cellular connection with your laptop and other electronic devices, turning it into an impromptu wireless hotspot.

(Note: While some cellular providers don't have any additional charges to use your iPhone as a hotspot, some may. It's best to check your provider's rules and regulations first, lest you incur extra fees.)

  • Protect yourself at home with a Mac VPN...
  • ...and stay safe on the go with an iPhone VPN

1. Open Settings.

2. Tap Personal Hotspot.

3. Slide the Personal Hotspot switch to the On position. Keep in mind you won't be able to connect to Wi-Fi networks on your iPhone while this is enabled, and certain features, such as AirDrop, might not function.

4. To set a password for the Wi-Fi network you're creating, tap Wi-Fi Password.

5. Enter a password of at least eight characters.

6. Tap Done.

7. Navigate to wherever you usually connect to Wi-Fi on your laptop, tablet or other connected device. (You also may be able to connect via the slower Bluetooth, or over USB by connecting your phone to your laptop.)

8. Select the network that has the same name as your iPhone. (On a Mac or iOS device, you may be able to easily identify it by the linked chain icon.)

9. When prompted, enter the password you chose in step 5. You should now be online. Your iPhone will tell you how many other devices are using your connection.

10. To disable the feature -- and avoid chewing up your data allowance -- tap the blue status bar to return to the Personal Hotspot settings and slide the Personal Hotspot switch to the Off position.

Got a question about your iPhone you want answered? Ask our experts in the Tom’s Guide iPhone forums.

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Dan Moren is the author of multiple sci-fi books including The Caledonian Gamibt and The Aleph Extraction. He's also a long-time Mac writer, having worked for Macworld and contributed to the Six Colors blog, where he writes about all things Apple. His work has also appeared in Popular Science, Fast Company, and more