Turn your iPhone 5, iPad Mini or iPad 4G into a personal 4G-WiFi hotspot

Turn your iPhone 5, iPad Mini or iPad 4G into a personal 4G-WiFi hotspot

Need a quick hit of wireless Internet for your laptop when you're out and about? Here's how to set up a "personal WiFi hotspot" – also known as 'wireless tethering' – on your iPhone 5, 4 or 4S.

You can also create a personal hotspot on the 'new iPad' (aka iPad 3) if you're got a 3G iPad, thanks to a recent software update issued by Apple.

Sadly, the personal hotspot feature isn't available on the iPhone 3G or 3GS or the original iPad or iPad 2.

Want to win an iPad Mini? We're giving one away: click here to enter!

How it works

The personal hotspot feature turns your iDevice's 3G signal into a short-range wireless hotspot, just like you'd find a cafe or hotel lobby.

But unlike those open networks your iPad or iPhone hotspot comes with automatic password protection so that nobody else can hitch a free ride on your private wireless network.

Up to five devices can connect to the net via your iPhone at once. That makes it ideal for connecting your laptop and a Wi-Fi iPad at the same time, for example, when you're on the road.

Here's what you'll see on your iPad's screen when the new Apple software is made available over the 3G network.

How to set up your iPhone or iPad hotspot

These instrutions apply to the new iPad as well as the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Go to the settings menu:

In settings, you'll see a 'personal hotspot' menu item. Tap it. 

In the personal hotspot menu, slide the "personal hotspot" option to "on".

You'll note that Apple has allocated the connection a default password which is shown on this screen too. You can either use it (as each iPhone 4 gets a different random password) or change it to something you can more easily remember by tapping on it.

Then, on your computer's Wi-Fi menu, you should see your iPhone pop up in the list after a few seconds. The network name is the name of your iPhone in iTunes — in our case, "Dan's iPhone 4".

Once the network is selected and you've put in the password you selected in the last step (or Apple's default password), you'll be able to connect your tablet, laptop and any other Wi-Fi device to the net via your iPhone's data plan. 

Bear in mind that the feature does tend to use up a fair bit of battery power, so use it sparingly if the phone is already on low battery power. If you've got the iPhone's power adaptor handy and are near an AC powerpoint, plug in your iPhone to top up the battery while you work.

If you're travelling, you can marry this personal hotspot feature up beautifully with a cheap data SIM card. For the US and UK, Tru SIM is outstandingly cheap, and in Asia, Bridge Alliance DataRoam Unlimited offers unlimited data in many Asian countries for a flat daily fee.

Other Apple stories on Australian Business Traveller

Revealed: Apple’s secret iTravel app for the iPhone and iPad

Video & review: Qantas debuts the world's first wireless iPad in-flight entertainment system

Top 5 ways to boost your iPhone's battery life

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion: top 5 things business travellers need to know

10 best features of iOS 5 for business travellers

iMessage for business travellers: what you need to know

iCloud for business travellers: your essential guide

Apple MacBook Air: is this the ultimate travel notebook?



Dan is a tech enthusiast who frequently qualifies for enhanced airport security screening due to the number of cords and gadgets stuffed into his cabin bag.


  • AirportParty


    3 Feb, 2012 10:06 pm

    microsoft should make inbuilt, easy to use software like this ay

    No member give thanks

  • Phil Foster


    25 Mar, 2012 10:28 am

    I have an iphone 4s and certainly do not have the personal hotspot in my settings.

    How do you get that setting?

    No member give thanks

  • John Walton

    John Walton

    26 Mar, 2012 03:52 am

    You'll need to contact your mobile provider. Some of them don't allow access on specific plans or on a network-wide basis.

    No member give thanks

  • Yvan J Drake


    1 Aug, 2017 12:38 pm

    I love that I saw this post come up under "Popular News" under the news tab.
    No member give thanks

  • Stefan

    Too Technical

    25 Aug, 2017 09:37 pm

    I thought I was missing some of the latest AusBT articles! This happened to me too
    No member give thanks

  • Alan Guignon


    7 Oct, 2017 10:25 am

    whatever happened to Dan Warne. His knowledge of the tech stuff was valuable ...
    No member give thanks


18 Jul, 2019 09:15 am


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