Tethering to your iOS Device

When I look at my device line-up, I see a laptop (MacBook Pro), cell phone (iPhone 5) and tablet (iPad with Retina). Between the three, I am 100% connected anywhere in the world (as long as their is, you know, network capabilities). They essentially do the same thing, but some are better than others for certain tasks. For example, I prefer doing calendaring and email on my iPad/iPhone, while the MacBook Pro is great for heavy-lifting (for example, I recently finished a major site overhaul... that was done on my laptop). When I travel, however, connectivity can become an issue for my laptop (of the three devices, it's the only one without built-in cellular connectivity capabilities). Hotel networks are notoriously flakey, and I simply don't trust public WiFis anyway. That's why I enlist the help of my iPhone or iPad... in the form of tethering.

First, you need to contact your carrier (AT&T, Verizon, etc) and make sure that you have the personal hotspot feature appropriately added to your account. Once that's on, we need to enable the service on your device (these steps will be the same for both iPhone and iPad).

The first time you use the tethering service, the on/off toggle switch it buried in the settings menu. To switch it on, go to Settling > General > Cellular > Personal Hotspot.:

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As you can see, this is where you can also set your own personal password. Mine happens to be set to "allgaier" (easy to remember).

Now that your personal hotspot is enabled, it's time to connect to it from your laptop. To do this, all you need to do is click on the Airport icon on the menu bar (or from your wireless utility on a PC), then select your personal hotspot:

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After you enter your password, you should be connected. It's that simple! You're now connected to the Internet on your laptop. You will see a visual reminder on your device indicating that you (and possibly others) are currently connected:

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A few things to keep in mind:

  1. You're sharing a data connection (either LTE or 4G, in most cases) with your iPhone or iPad, so speeds won't be as quick as you are normally used to.
  2. You can share your Internet connection with up to 5 devices, but keep in mind that the more devices are connected, the slower your connection will be.
  3. If you don't have wireless capabilities on your laptop, you can still tether to your iOS device via Bluetooth or USB.
  4. You will want to disable your personal hotspot when it's not in use to avoid draining your battery.

Now that you've used your personal hotspot once, you will now see a more direct way of accessing this same feature, right on the home screen of Settings.

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Posted on May 10, 2013 and filed under How To, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Mac.