How to use your Android phone or iPhone as a Wi-Fi hotspot (2021)
If you are somewhere and find that there is no wi-fi connection for your laptop or you donât want to run the risk of using a public wi-fi network, you can always put your phone into use as a as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Using your phone in this way is often referred to as tethering, and it’s usually quick and easy to set up, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Special offer for Gear readers: get a One year subscription to WIRED for $ 5 ($ 25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
What you should know about connection sharing
Different operators and plans have different rules regarding connection sharing. To avoid unexpected charges, always check before using your phone as a wireless access point. Connection sharing is usually included, but it will be deducted from your data allowance.
Even with so-called âunlimitedâ data plans, there are some limitations. Browsing the web shouldn’t be a problem, but if you want to stream video to your laptop using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, for example, you may run into some restrictions. Throttling is common when certain data limits are reached, so check the fine print of your plan.
For tethering to work properly, you will need a strong mobile data connection on your phone. When your phone acts as an access point, it works as a mini router and appears as a standard Wi-Fi network option, so setting a password is essential, or anyone can connect and use your data.
While it’s generally slower than regular Wi-Fi, a strong 4G or 5G signal will allow for relatively fast speeds. Using your phone as a hot spot will also quickly drain the battery, so it’s a good idea to hook up a portable charger and be aware that your phone can get quite hot.
How to set up your iPhone to become a Wi-Fi hotspot
Setting up tethering on your iPhone is a snap. Here’s how: