How to create a mobile hotspot

Turn your smartphone into a Wi-Fi hotspot for your laptop, tablet and other smartphones

There will be times when you need a Wi-Fi connection, but it’s just not available or spotty and slow.

You could be on a long car ride with the family, or the power goes out at your home or office while you’re working on a project. Maybe you have access to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, but you don’t trust its security. You could be in a situation where you have Internet access on your smartphone, but your friends or colleagues don’t, and you want to help them out.

When faced with these situations, you can use your smartphone to set up a mobile hotspot, which is also known as a Wi-Fi hotspot. This will enable you to access the internet through your laptop, tablet and other smartphones. 

The process is relatively simple on all devices. Most major cellphone carriers offer tethering services, enabling you to connect devices to your smartphone’s mobile hotspot. The main determining factors for creating a mobile spot are your service plan and data allowance. 

There is one thing to keep in mind: Creating a mobile spot by tethering to your smartphone will drain your battery and data more quickly. If you plan to use the mobile hotspot option frequently, purchasing a backup charger pack or a charging case will help address the battery issue. Purchasing an unlimited data plan will solve your data issue. 

If you need continuous internet access all the time while travelling, you might want to consider a dedicated Wi-Fi hotspot. These are standalone devices that provide internet access without having to drain your phone’s data allowance or battery. These devices tend to have better range than smartphone-based mobile hotspots and support more devices.

Using a mobile hotspot

Connecting a laptop, tablet or other smartphones to your mobile hotspot works the same as connecting to any other Wi-Fi network:

  1. Select the Wi-Fi menu of your device
  2. Find the name of the mobile hotspot you’d like to connect to in the list of available Internet sources
  3. Tap on the name of the mobile hotspot
  4. Type in the password
  5. Connect

Some smartphones enable you to connect a device to the mobile hotspot through a physical connection (i.e., USB cable) or Bluetooth.

Creating a mobile hotspot on an iOS device

To set up a mobile hotspot on your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Tap “Settings” or “Cellular”
  2. Tap “Personal Hotspot”
  3. Toggle on “Personal Hotspot” (In some cases, also tap the slider next to “Allow Others to Join”)
  4. Tap “Wi-Fi Password”
  5. Type in a new password, if needed.
  6. Tap “Done”

To turn off the mobile hotspot, follow steps 1 and 2 above, and toggle off Personal Hotspot.

Creating a mobile hotspot on an Android device

The process of creating a mobile hotspot on an Android device will vary depending on the device and version of Android you’re running. You must use Android 2.2 or later, and your smartphone and carrier must support tethering. 

The most basic way to set up a mobile hotspot on an Android phone is as follows:

  1. Tap “Settings”
  2. Tap “Mobile Hotspot & Tethering” 
  3. Toggle on “Mobile Hotspot”
  4. Create a name for the network or choose the default network name
  5. Set your password 

To turn off the mobile hotspot, follow steps 1 and 2 above, and toggle off “Mobile Hotspot”

Use the following instructions to create a mobile hotspot for specific Android devices.

Google Pixel

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen. 
  2. Tap “Settings” 
  3. Tap “Network & Internet” 
  4. Tap “Hotspot & Tethering” 
  5. Tap “Wi-Fi Hotspot”
  6. Toggle on “Wi-Fi Hotspot.” The hotspot name and password will become visible.

Huawei

  1. Tap “Settings” 
  2. Tap “Wireless & Networks” 
  3. Tap “Tethering & Portable Hotspot” 
  4. Tap “Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot” 
  5. Tap “Configure Wi-Fi Hotspot” 
  6. Enter a name, security setting and password for the hotspot
  7. Tap “Save”

LG

  1. Pull down from the top of the screen 
  2. Tap “Settings”
  3. Tap “Tethering” 
  4. Toggle on “Wi-Fi Hotspot Switch”

Motorola Moto

  1. Tap “Settings” 
  2. Tap “Network & Internet” 
  3. Tap “Hotspot & Tethering” 
  4. Tap “Wi-Fi Hotspot”
  5. Toggle on
  6. Tap “Advanced” 
  7. Go to “Hotspot Password” and note the password.

OnePlus

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen
  2. Tap “Settings” 
  3. Tap “Wi-Fi & Internet” 
  4. Tap “Hotspot & Tethering” 
  5. Toggle the switch to “On”

Samsung

  1. Tap “Settings”
  2. Tap “Connections” 
  3. Tap “Mobile Hotspot and Tethering” 
  4. Toggle on “Mobile Hotspot” 
  5. A pop-up window will appear; note the Wi-Fi password for devices to connect.

Things to remember

  • Check with your service provider to see if you’re allowed to create a mobile hotspot on your service plan 
  • Verify your smartphone can create a mobile hotspot.
  • Creating a mobile hotspot with your smartphone means sharing your monthly data allotment with whoever is using the hotspot
  • If you have unlimited data, your service provider might throttle the speed of your Internet connection if you use too much data
  • When you connect multiple devices to your mobile hotspot, you will use your data more quickly
  • Connecting to international networks may cause you to incur high data charges
  • Create a strong password for your mobile hotspot
  • Plug your smartphone in when creating a mobile hotspot, as tethering uses a lot of battery power
  • You need a cell signal to create a mobile hotspot — no cell service means no Wi-Fi or internet
  • Turn off the mobile hotspot when you’re done using it.
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