How to Troubleshoot Your iPhone’s WiFi Hotspot

The hotspot feature on iPhone is far from seamless. That said, it is still a great option to get some work done and browse the web while on the go.

This article will cover steps to take when devices cannot connect, when a connection cannot be made because the hotspot is initiated from a device other than the iPhone, and when a Mac absolutely refuses to connect to the hotspot through WiFi or Bluetooth.

How to Activate the Hotspot

The Personal Hotspot is not tuned on by default, so you will need to activate it before you get started. This article covers how to do it on iOS in great detail as well as how to do it on a few other mobile operating systems.

Do take note that before this your hotspot must be activated through your carrier and it must be supported by your iPhone’s data plan.

General Connection Troubleshooting

After tapping the network name in device settings and waiting for connection only to see the failure notice, the first thing you should do is turn off the hotspot and turn it back on. If this does not work, “forget” the WiFi network within the system settings of the device you are trying to connect to and turn it off and back on. Try to reconnect. If neither of these methods work, restart both devices. As a last resort, try connecting through another method such as Bluetooth. You can Bluetooth tether your iPhone to your target device to connect it to the Internet.

Sometimes simply changing the hotspot’s password will be enough to mitigate any hiccups that may occur, preventing a connection.

Connection Drop Troubleshooting

iPhones are generally pretty good about maintaining a connection to a device, though sometimes drops do occur. In this case make sure both devices are close together and away from any points of interference. For the best possible connection, connect over Bluetooth or connect a lightning-to-USB cable to the iPhone and target device, should it have a USB port (such as a laptop or desktop).

Mac Connection Troubleshooting

When connecting to your iPhone’s WiFi hotspot from a Mac there are a couple of ways to do so. If one way does not seem to work, try another method before continuing with further troubleshooting.

To initiate the Hotspot from Your Mac:

  • Click the WiFi icon in the status bar
  • Verify that your Hotspot is turned on on your iPhone
  • Under “Personal Hotspot” on the Mac click your iPhone
  • A connection will now be attempted


Select it from WiFi Networks:

  • Choose the WiFi icon in the status bar
  • Verify that your Hotspot is turned on on your iPhone
  • Click your iPhone’s WiFi network under the list of regular networks, not from under “Personal Hotspot.” Do note that you may need to turn your hotspot or WiFi on or off on your Mac to have this option appear
  • A connection will now be attempted

Connect Via Bluetooth:

  • Choose the Bluetooth icon located in the status bar
  • Select your iPhone from the drop-down menu of devices
  • Click “Connect”
  • A connection will now be attempted.


If none of these methods are able to secure a connection, first navigate to your iPhone settings and change the name of your iPhone:

  • Tap “Settings” from the home screen
  • Tap “General”
  • Tap “About”
  • Following this tap “Name”
  • Rename the iPhone
  • Your network will automatically be renamed

Now attempt changing your network’s password:

  • Tap “Settings” from the home screen
  • Now, tap “Personal Hotspot”
  • Select WiFi Password
  • Change the password

With a fresh new name and password, try to regain connection to the hotspot. If all else fails and your iPhone can connect just fine to a device that is not a Mac, you may want to try adjusting your Mac’s WiFi settings.


Hopefully these troubleshooting steps were able to regain connection. If not, do leave a comment down below so that we can get back to you and help you out!

Corbin Telligman Corbin Telligman

I'm a junior at UT Dallas, a tech enthusiast, an adreneline junkie, and a coffee fanatic.