How to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot on your mobile phone
Share your mobile data with any device using our easy-to-follow guide.
The ability to turn your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot is one of those incredibly useful features, letting you share a mobile data connection between multiple devices.
Of course, you can share that connectivity via Bluetooth or even tether a mobile via USB to a laptop, but it's Wi-Fi sharing that'll let you connect the broadest array of devices, and it's also super-simple to set up.
But before we do, there are a few general security principles you should consider before enabling data sharing from your mobile phone:
Important caveats and security notes
- How much data do you have to share? Just to be utterly clear, anything you connect will be using data from your regular telco allocation. Because you live in Australia, that will likely not be a lot of data. You need to watch this carefully so you don't burn through your limit and out the other side.
- Never use the default name. Always rename the hotspot from the default name. It means you'll be able to find it and other people won't be accidentally connecting to it thinking it's their default-named hotspot.
- Pick a good password! This is the same for any wireless network, but you don't want random devices using your data because you think "password1" is easy to remember.
- Change the password often. Sure, you let a friend connect to your mobile hotspot because they desperately needed to get online and you're a good friend. Now change that password so they're not automatically connecting anytime you hang out together and you've got your hotspot activated.
Here's how to do it on your phone.
iOS (iPhones, LTE-enabled iPads)
Apple calls this feature Personal Hotspot if you get lost looking for it. Depending on the version of iOS you're using, you'll find it either under Cellular (or Mobile) or directly as an option under newer iterations of iOS such as iOS 11.
In the Settings app go to the relevant location and then tap Personal Hotspot. Use the slider to turn this feature on. It's honestly that simple to enable the Hotspot feature and start sharing your mobile data.
You'll see the name of the Personal Hotspot network, which is typically in the format of Your Name's iPhone, and the password.
So if you happen to be Jane, it'd be "Jane's iPhone", and so on. As noted, it's probably a good idea to change this to something unique to you, if only because otherwise every other device looking for a Wi-Fi network will know you're nearby!
On the device you're connecting to the hotspot, just choose that network and connect like any other Wi-Fi network, using the password from your iOS device.
Android (phones and LTE-enabled tablets)
Each Android phone manufacturer likes to put its own spin on the layout of the interface, so unless you're using a "pure" Android device like the Pixel, you might find a few differences on your phone, but the broad strokes will be identical.
Go to Settings and find the Wireless and Networks section. Tap on More and hunt down Tethering and Personal Hotspot and then tap on Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot.
In this section, you can specify your own network name and password. Depending on your device, you may also be able to set data limits, see how much data has already been used and even check out which devices are connected.
Once set up, and again depending on your Android phone, you may well be able to turn the hotspot on and off using the quick settings menu accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen.
On the devices you want to connect, it's just like jumping onto any other Wi-Fi network, with the password as set within your Android device.
Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile
Are you one of Australia's Windows Phone users? You are? Hey – not judging at all. You do you, ok? Anyway, if you want to share that sweet, sweet mobile data, here's how.
Go to Settings, look for Network & Wireless and tap on Mobile Hotspot. From there you'll see "Share my cellular data connection over" and you want to choose the option that reads Wi-Fi.
Select Edit to name the network and create a password, then Save. Turn on "Share my cellular data connection with other devices" and you are good to go.
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