There are times when you need to access the Internet on a laptop but there’s no public Wi-Fi, or perhaps when your home connection isn’t working (which occurs all too frequently in Thailand).
For anyone that has a data plan for their smartphone (for example on DTAC, AIS or True), a convenient alternative is to simply use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot and share your mobile phone’s Internet connection. If you pay for 3G data, you can typically expect to see around 10 – 15 Mbps speeds, but this obviously depends on your location and the cellular network you are using.
Almost every smartphone these days allows you to create a Wi-Fi hotspot that can be used by other devices such as computers, phones and tablets to get online. If you have an Apple iPhone, the feature is extremely simple to setup and use – Apple calls it ‘Personal Hotspot’ but it’s exactly the same thing.
Furthermore, if you are using Apple’s latest desktop operating system called OS X Yosemite, it’s even easier because you don’t need to enter a Wi-Fi password as long as you are signed into iCloud on both your Mac and iPhone.
Here’s our brief guide on how to get started.
Create a Wi-Fi hotspot on your iPhone
Go to Settings -> Personal Hotspot and turn the Personal Hotspot slider to the on position. If you have never used Personal Hotspot before, a default password will have been chosen for you in the Wi-Fi Password section but you can change that if you prefer.
To change the default password, just tap Wi-Fi Password and enter a new one on the next screen then choose Done. There are a few restrictions on the password, i.e. it has to be at least 8 characters in length.
Connect to the iPhone using your computer’s Wi-Fi
Now that you’ve enabled the Wi-Fi hotspot on your iPhone, you need to turn on Wi-Fi on your computer (in this example, we’ll use a Mac, mainly because that’s what we have to hand but the concept applies equally to a Windows PC).
In your Mac’s menu bar, select the Wi-Fi icon and then click the name of your iPhone. In this example, our phone is called Big Cheese’s iPhone, so choose that and when prompted enter the Wi-Fi password you setup on your iPhone earlier.
If you are running OS X Yosemite on a Mac, you may instead see your iPhone appear under the Personal Hotspot section of the Wi-Fi menu, along with the network type (such as 3G or LTE) and battery status. This is a special type of hotspot that doesn’t require a password if you’re trying to connect from a computer that is signed into the same iCloud account as your iPhone. Either way, it’s essentially the same thing, but just a little easier to connect.
That is really all there is to using your iPhone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. There are a several other ways to connect a computer to your iPhone – such as a USB cable or using Bluetooth, but since everything has Wi-Fi built in these days, it is by far the simplest option.
If you have any connection problems, you can also find detailed troubleshooting tips on Apple’s Personal Hotspot support page.
Let us know if you have any similar tips for using a smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot.