How to use your iPhone as an internet hotspot with your Mac, and other Apple devices

Learn how to transform your iPhone into a convenient internet hotspot, enabling you to share its internet connection with other devices effortlessly.

Instant Hotspot between iPhone and Mac

Instant Hotspot is a Continuity feature on iPhone and cellular iPad that allows you to use that device as an internet hotspot with your Mac, other iPhone, or iPad, without typing the Wi-Fi Hotspot password.

This tutorial shows you how to use this handy feature that involves almost zero extra configuration.

Supported devices

These devices can share their cellular data as Instant Hotspot as long as they are on iOS 8.1 or later:

  • iPhone 5 or newer
  • Cellular models of iPad mini or later, iPad Air or later, iPad (4th generation) or later, and all models of iPad Pro

You can connect to Instant Hotspot and use it on:

  • All the iPhone and iPad models mentioned above if they are on iOS 8 or later
  • Most Macs introduced in 2012 or later running OS X Yosemite or later

Set up Instant Hotspot

  • Make sure your iPhone or cellular iPad and the device where you want to use Instant Hotspot (Mac or other iOS devices) are nearby (within ~33 feet or ~10 meters).
  • You must have a working cellular data plan on your iPhone or iPad. Also, your mobile carrier should not restrict you from using Personal Hotspot. Most carriers don’t.
  • Turn on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on both devices (the one sharing its internet via Hotspot and the one that will connect to the Hotspot).
  • Make sure both devices are using the same Apple ID. If they are not, learn how to sign out of Apple ID and sign back in.

How to use Instant Hotspot

With everything set up, you can connect your Apple devices to your iPhone’s or cellular iPad’s Instant Hotspot by following these simple steps:

Connect Mac to Instant Hotspot

  1. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the top menu bar or Control Center. You can also go to System Settings > Wi-Fi.
  2. You will see your iPhone or cellular iPad appear under the Personal Hotspot heading. Click to join its Hotspot. You will not have to enter the Personal Hotspot password.
Instant Hotspot from iPhone and cellular iPad on Mac

Connect iOS devices to Instant Hotspot

  1. Open the Settings app on your other iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi.
  3. Tap your iPhone or cellular iPad’s name under the Personal Hotspots heading. This device will latch onto the Hotspot without the need to enter the password.
Instant Hotspot from iPhone to iPad

Did it still ask for the Hotspot password?

If you were prompted to enter the password, make sure you meet the requirements shared above.

Additionally, you can go to iPhone/iPad Settings > Personal Hotspot and enable Allow Others to Join.

Stop your Mac or other iOS devices from auto-joining Instant Hotspot

You may notice that your Mac or another iPhone/iPad automatically joins the Instant Hotspot when other known Wi-Fi networks are unavailable. You can follow these steps if you want to stop that.

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