How to Use Your Phone as a WiFi Hotspot

Long gone are the days when we needed to scour the App Store and Play Store in search of dubious third-party apps that let us turn our iPhones and Androids into WiFi hotspots.

The process is a whole lot simpler these days, thanks to both Apple and Google baking WiFi hotspot support into their respective operating systems. So come together, ye users of iPhones and Androids, to see how to switch on this excellent feature, and let devices all around leech off your phone’s mobile data.

Let’s start with the privileged iOS lot first.

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Tap “Settings -> Mobile Data,” then tap the slider next to “Personal Hotspot” to make it green. If your WiFi or Bluetooth is switched off, you’ll be asked to turn them back on. (Yes, you can also share your connection via Bluetooth, but WiFi generally works better.)

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Select the appropriate wireless connection, then enter a password for your hotspot when prompted.

Your hotspot is now active. Go to the WiFi settings on your computer, and connect to the network corresponding with your iPhone. (By default, it’s [your name’s] iPhone.)

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Things may vary slightly here depending on what Android phone you have, but so long as it’s running on a relatively recent version of Android (5.0 and later), the same general rules apply between phones. I’m doing this on the stock version of Android 7.1 Nougat.

Go to Settings, “More” under “Wireless & networks,” then “Tethering & portable hotspot,” and tap the “Portable Wi-Fi hotspot” slider to turn it on.

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Once you’ve done that, go to “Set up Wi-Fi hotspot” to take a look at (or change) your network name, password, and even AP band between 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

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When you’re done, tap “Save,” make sure your mobile data is switched on, then go to the wireless network settings on the device you want to connect to your phone and select your Android network name.

Hotspots are a fantastic way to get your computers, tablets, other phones, etc. to take advantage of your iPhone or Android’s Internet. But be careful because your other devices may be set to automatically download updates when connected to Wi-Fi (Windows 10 in particular) and could quickly destroy your data allowance.

You can avoid this by setting up a metered connection in Windows 10, and you should make sure automatic app updates are switched off on other phones using your hotspot.

Image credit: Hand holding smartphone with wi-fi connection in cafe

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