How to Use Your Smartphone as a Mobile Hotspot

Wi-Fi access is just a smartphone away...

mobile hotspot

Depending on your phone and service provider, you may be able to share your smartphone’s data by creating a mobile hotspot. When you do this, you create your own Wi-Fi network for other devices to connect to. This is an ideal alternative for public Wi-Fi or for when Wi-Fi isn’t available.

Reasons to Use a Mobile Hotspot

When everyone already has their own smartphone, it might seem pointless to create a mobile hotspot. In most cases, you’ll create one to get Wi-Fi access for your laptop or tablet. It’s also a good way to help out a friend if they’re low on data, but there isn’t any Wi-Fi available. If you’re traveling, having your own Wi-Fi hotspot in your pocket is useful.

Related Read: What to Know About Traveling with Mobile Devices

Creating a Mobile Hotspot With Android Phones

For Android smartphones, tap Settings and select More Networks under your wireless network settings. The next steps may vary slightly depending on your device. You may see Mobile Hotspot, Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot, or another variation. Click this option to see your mobile hotspot settings.

Turn on the hotspot option and make a note of any network password. You’ll need this to connect your other device(s) to the network.

Scan for available networks from your laptop or other device and connect as usual. You can view all connected devices from your phone’s settings. Verizon recommends charging your phone while using this feature as it may drain the battery quickly.

Repeat the process to turn the mobile hotspot option off.

Creating a Mobile Hotspot With iPhones

You can also create a mobile hotspot with your iPhone. You’ll need an iPhone 3G or later to do so. If you’re using an iPad, you’ll need a 3rd generation or later with Wi-Fi + Cellular or an iPad Mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular.

On your iPhone, tap Settings > Cellular. Tap Personal Hotspot and turn the option on. Use the randomly generated password to connect other devices to the new network or create your own to make it easier to remember.

Remember to turn off the Personal Hotspot option when you’re done.

Things to Remember Before Creating a Hotspot

Before you create a mobile hotspot, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as:

  • Ensure the option is supported by your mobile carrier. Some carriers may charge an additional fee for creating mobile hotspots. Other carriers may not allow it at all.
  • Ensure your device is compatible. Some devices, especially older devices, may not offer the option.
  • Monitor your data usage. Most users have a limited data plan. All connected devices will use your available mobile data. If you go over your plan, you could face overage charges.
  • Consider upgrading to a larger mobile data plan if you want to use the mobile hotspot feature often.
  • Use strong passwords for creating a network. Anyone with the right password can connect to your hotspot. You don’t want random users connecting and using your data.
  • Always turn off the mobile hotspot option after a session. Leaving it on could put you at risk of strangers connecting or rapidly drain your battery.

Try out the feature yourself. You never know when you might need a mobile Wi-Fi network.

Related Read: Think Before You Join: 4 Public Wi-Fi Security Risks to Know

Contribution by Crystal Crowder

About the Author

Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.