Almost any modern smartphone can also work as a Wi-Fi hotspot, sharing its 4G LTE connection to anywhere from five to 10 devices, whether they be laptops, tablets, or other phones. You just have to have the right service plan and tap a few buttons.
The most complex part of using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, nowadays, is making sure you’re on the right service plan. Not all plans allow “tethering,” which is what the carriers call hotspot use. If you try to set up a hotspot and get bounced out, you may need to upgrade your service plan.
Be aware that your tethering allowance isn’t the same as your data plan. For instance, T-Mobile’s unlimited data plans come with a 5GB tethering allowance. You can use as much data as you want on your phone, but once you attach a laptop, it’s 5GB for the month.
There are third-party Android tethering apps such as FoxFi which you can use to get around your carrier’s tethering limits, but we really don’t recommend violating your service plan, since it’s an easy way to get kicked off your network. To tether without a service plan on an iPhone, you’d need to jailbreak your phone, which we also don’t recommend as it exposes you to malware.
There’s one other big down side to turning your phone into a hotspot: It eats up battery life. Many phones can only run for about four hours or so in Hotspot mode. An additional battery, or a battery case is a good idea if you intend to use Hotspot mode frequently.
If you’re a business traveler, for instance, and you need to use a hotspot all day long, your best bet is to get a dedicated Wi-Fi hotspot. Check out our guide to the best mobile hotspots on every carrier for that.
So how do you turn your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot if you have the right plan? Read on.
- Go to Settings.
- Choose Cellular.
- Tap on Set Up Personal Hotspot.
- Go to Settings.
- Choose Personal Hotspot.
- Tap the button to turn your personal hotspot on.
- Agree to Wi-Fi and USB Only.
- Your hotspot is now active. The password is on your iPhone’s screen. Make sure to turn the hotspot off when you’re done using it!
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