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How to Use Personal Hotspot on iOS 6 and the iPhone 5

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The new version of iOS 6 offers faster access to the personal hotspot feature, and slightly changes the steps to turn on the personal hotspot.

On iOS 6 and on the iPhone 5 with iOS 6 there is a new Personal Hotspot shortcut on the main menu screen that lets users turn on the hotspot without diving deep into the menus.

These steps will only work with plans that support a personal hotspot. The new Mobile Share plans on AT&T and the Share Everything plans on Verizon include the personal hotspot feature at no additional charge.

Read: iOS 6 Tips and Tricks

A personal hotspot turns the iPhone into a WiFi router that allows users to connect WiFi devices to the Internet through the iPhone. This includes notebooks, tablets, portable game consoles and more. Be careful as tethering, as this is often called, can use data much faster than on the iPhone.

If the computer cannot see the iPhone as a hotspot, users may be better off connecting by USB, but if that fails, try turning the laptop’s WiFi on and off to find the iPhone hotspot.

How to Turn on the iPhone Hotspot in iOS 6

Tap on Settings.

Tap on General.

How to use personal hotspot in iOS - iPhone 5 - new iPhone- 2

Turn on hotspot iPhone on iOS 6.

Tap on Cellular.

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Turn on tethering iPhone 5 and iOS 6.

Tap on Personal Hotspot.

How to use personal hotspot in iOS - iPhone 5 - new iPhone- 5

Personal Hotspot On and password setup.

Tap the Toggle to the On position.

Users that wish to change the password can tap on the password field and type a new password.

The iPhone personal hotspot feature shares the Internet connection over WiFi with no additional setup needed on most devices, It also shares the connection over USB or Bluetooth, though some computers may need to install drivers or perform setup options to make this work.

How to use personal hotspot in iOS - iPhone 5 - new iPhone- 1

iOS 6 offers a shortcut to the Personal Hotspot feature.

How-to-use-personal-hotspot-in-iOS-iPhone-5-new-iPhone-7-200x300

This shows the number of devices connected to the iPhone hotspot.

After using the iPhone hotspot once, the iPhone places a shortcut to the Personal Hotspot on the general settings screen, right below the Bluetooth setting. This doesn’t turn the hotspot on in one tap, but it is a quick shortcut to the Personal Hotspot settings.

The home screen and a small notification while in other apps displays the number of connected devices, which is an easy way to figure out how many devices are using your connection.

The iPhone 5 includes 4G LTE connectivity which is up to 10 times faster than 3G service found on the iPhone 4S, and faster than many home connections.

This increased speed makes tethering more attractive, even for multimedia intense activities like streaming movies or TV, but without unlimited data users should be sure to check their data usage to keep it in check.

iPhone Hotspot Problems in iOS 6

Using the iPhone hotspot is pretty straightforward, but there are some iOS 6 hotspot problems users commonly run into. Here are some common iPhone 5 hotspot problems.

There is no Personal Hotspot Option on iOS 6

If you upgraded to iOS 6 or made another change and there is no Personal Hotspot option on your iPhone, the device may have a bug preventing it from showing. This can happen on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile or other carriers. If there is no Personal Hotspot option in iOS 6 you will need to follow these steps to reset iOS 6 hotspot settings.

Straight Talk Doesn’t Offer a Personal Hotspot Option

If you have a Straight Talk iPhone 5 with no personal hotspot option in cellular it’s because Straight Talk doesn’t support using the iPhone 5 as a personal hotspot. There is no fix for this issue without jailbreaking and using a third-party personal hotspot app, but this is against Straight Talk’s terms of use and excessive data usage could result in warnings or getting disconnected.

Change the iPhone 5 Hotspot Password

The default iPhone 5 personal hotspot password is a jumble of letters and numbers that is hard to remember and is also easy for someone to crack, even if it looks like a secure password. Tap on Settings -> Personal Hotspot -> Password to pick a new password that is easier to remember and more secure.

How to Manage the iOS 6 Hotspot

Many users want to be able to manage the iOS 6 hotspot to see who is connected and information about the devices. Apple shows a blue bar that announces how many devices are connected, but there is no way to see which devices are connected to an iPhone personal hotspot or to individually manage them.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

55 Comments

  1. Phil

    09/19/2012 at 6:28 pm

    I was really hoping they’d done away with the distracting, screen-eating banner advising of the number of personal hotspot connections and gone for the more elegant solution of a small item in the notification bar (like TetherStatus for jailbroken devices).
    Looks like I’ll be holding off from iOS 6 for a while yet.

    • Chuck Dick

      11/09/2012 at 9:10 am

      That’s like saying you hated a movie because you didn’t like the font used in the end credits.

      • Danny

        12/05/2012 at 9:38 am

        No – that’s like saying you hated watching a movie because the idiot projectionist decided to steal half the screen with irrelevant info.

    • Kris

      06/01/2013 at 2:00 am

      Man, some people, your not going to use iOS 6 because of the banners ads or woteva you said. Take a chill pill man.

    • Barbie

      06/06/2013 at 7:41 pm

      Hello…..I am still learning how to use the I Phone 5 Verizon. Is there a charge for using personal hotspot to be connected with my I Pad mini in order to get Internet on the I Pad mini where I’m at a no wifi area???? What is your advice???

      • Donna

        06/11/2013 at 6:57 pm

        Barbie your cellular carrier will charge you based on your data usage. If you download 10 meg, then they will “charge” you 10 meg. You need to check your data plan to see how much meg you are signed up for in a given month. 500 meg is a good amount for many.

    • GREGORY EDWARDS

      07/11/2013 at 4:51 am

      ????? If you are using the tether, then you are online with another device, what are you worried about the banner for? Even if you get a phone call that banner minimises.

  2. karen

    09/20/2012 at 5:19 am

    I am so upset they didn’t detach the personal hot spot option from the carrier. This was the main ios 6 update I wanted.

  3. Michael

    09/20/2012 at 8:53 am

    How many devices can access the Hotspot on the IPhone 5? The 4S only allowed one device at a time and would disconnect when a call came in while the Samsung galaxy 3 allows 10 devices at a time. This is a big issue for me as I need to use multiple devices concurrently sometimes. Also when someone else is using the hotspot can the person continue with regular online access on the phone?

    • Vic

      09/22/2012 at 11:14 pm

      Michael what carrier do u have?

    • TheTruthSpeaker

      09/25/2012 at 8:09 am

      I never had an issue connecting multiple devices to my 4S at one time. The most I ever did was two, but that is obviously still more than one.

  4. comicy

    09/23/2012 at 3:38 am

    @Michael, mine can support more than one for sure. I have used up to 4 before, including one USB share. You probably need to check with your carrier to follow up.

  5. David

    09/23/2012 at 12:29 pm

    My banner says “Personal Hotspot: 2 Connections”. Both may be my Mac…I may have connected twice…but I can’t find anyway to see what the connections are on the phone and see only the connections under the wifi icon on the Mac. Since the hotspot is password protected I assume (THERE’S my problem) that it’s not someone else on this train! comments?

    • Pedro

      06/30/2013 at 10:09 am

      Your laptops connects through wifi AND USB to you iPhone making it 2 connections. You can easily check it by turning off the wifi, making it 1 connection, after which you should still be connected to the internet.

  6. Ronaldus Swanson

    09/25/2012 at 7:58 am

    I am used to android rooting so that I can use it to tether as a hotspot to my ipad and other devices. I have an unlimited data pkg from Verizon.. if I switch to the iphone 5, can I still do a free hotspot to other devices?

    • deb

      06/23/2013 at 8:13 pm

      If u have trully unlimted when u up grade u will lose it or have to pay full boat for the phone

  7. Tick

    09/27/2012 at 3:55 am

    Ios6 on Iphone4s verybad in thailand many problems.

  8. Fee

    09/29/2012 at 1:51 am

    Since updating my 4s to IOS 6 ( which crashed my phone initially) I can’t find the hotspot. On the settings screen where it should say cellular data I have mobile data and then no hotspot option… Before I could connect with several. Devices.

    • TJ

      11/09/2012 at 12:54 pm

      I had the same thing happen and found it was carrier related.
      Settings>>General>>Cellular
      In there you will see Personal HotSpot and when you try to turn it on you will probably get told you are not allowed on this network or cellular plan or similar

  9. Leanne Speers

    10/02/2012 at 8:06 am

    Hi there Josh, hoping you can help. I just upgraded to OS 6 on iphone. I see and have clicked ‘on’ for the personal hotspot settings, except it’s not picking anything up. I used to get a blue banner at the top stating my connections, but now nothing – even though it’s on. What should I do since I need this service on my phone…

  10. Deepak

    10/03/2012 at 9:27 pm

    I have an 4GS and since the IOS 6 upgrade, I am not able to use tethering… I am using a cable to connect and tried using Bluetooth too. For Bluetooth it asks me for a driver, which it can’t find for the phone.
    Ofcourse I have turned on the Personal Hotspot.

  11. D.J.

    10/05/2012 at 4:34 pm

    does anyone know what the connection speed is for devices? i realize that connection to 4g and 3g matters, but lets say for this purpose, you have 3-4 bars of 4g coverage. what is the connection speed for mb/s or kb/s for devices attached? i got to wander if its anything that you could like run, for example, an xbox360 at decent connection speed, or if it would be slower than dialup.

  12. Steve

    10/17/2012 at 10:53 am

    I’m angry, now since upgrading my 4s to ios 6 my hotspot isn’t working. It will connect via bluetooth but not with USB like before, and it seems to cut out via bluetooth when i do get connection. Very disappointing. Can i revert back to iso 5?

  13. chris

    10/25/2012 at 12:56 pm

    i not got the personal hotspot setting on my iphone 5, i tried reseting networks but nothing i’m on orange or the new EE network as they call it now

  14. Gerorge

    10/27/2012 at 1:25 pm

    I have unlimited ATT $30.00 data plan. When i choose to set up personal hotspot, it prompt’s me to call att. When i called att, they said i need to changed my plan from unlimited to limited plus tethering. Sucks! Is there a way to set personal hot spot without att getting involve? I want to keep my unlimited data plan.

    • Myself

      10/30/2012 at 10:41 pm

      Unfortunately even if you do find a “work around” AT&T still has methods to find if your tethering or not.

  15. KPow

    10/30/2012 at 1:20 pm

    George. I am in the same position. I don’t want to give up my unlimited, and frankly it will be even more useful with multiple devices. I only want to have my iPad be able to use it, I should have purchased the wifi version but I did not. Any help you fine please share!

  16. Greg Neutra

    10/31/2012 at 9:38 am

    I’m clear that a Verizon iPhone 5 can’t do voice and data at the same time but can I be using the personal hotspot and make a call simultaneously?

  17. Toe

    11/04/2012 at 11:39 pm

    Virgin mobile in Australia do not allow wifi hotspot on lte mode, only on 3G connection.

  18. Jennie morton

    11/07/2012 at 2:26 pm

    I just bought a new ipad but can’t connect via home wireless Internet (router too old). This has forced me to look into using hotspot on my iPhone 4 – it works brilliantly! Simple to connect through Bluetooth and I have plenty of data which was otherwise not being used up each month. I will now cancel old Internet and save $40/mth! Great technology.

  19. Gary Martin

    11/09/2012 at 11:10 am

    after talking to AT&T, Apple Iphone, and Microsoft support, still no resolution to my goofy problem. That problem being that I use personal hotspot on my Iphone 4 via usb to my Windows 7, on AT&T.net which has worked well for months. Recently developed a strange problem, that being I am able to get on the internet to AT&T and surf the net with the exception of getting to my AT&T email account, just keeps asking for Yahoo password each time I try to access email. If I go to a direct attachment at the office everything works as it is supposed to. Any help appreciated

  20. Jupiter

    11/19/2012 at 2:41 pm

    Why does the carrier get to decide ? Oh that’s right, it’s an Apple TM

  21. Angi

    11/29/2012 at 9:29 am

    “It also shares the connection over USB or Bluetooth, though some computers may need to install drivers or perform setup options to make this work.”

    I can’t get my Windows 7 or Mac version 10.6.8 to connect to the hotspot. It connects, but no access to internet. Any suggestions?

  22. Marion Hutchison (@MarionHutchison)

    12/07/2012 at 6:19 am

    Yet another reason Josh Smith is awesome! I really get value out of his articles. I manage so many phones types for different people at work and when I forgot how to do this and a quick search for the answer and there it is. Keep up the great work Josh and thanks again for helping me out!

  23. kristen

    12/25/2012 at 9:54 am

    Is there any way I can get the “1 connection” blue bar of my phone? It looks kind of weird.

  24. Sally

    12/26/2012 at 12:22 pm

    I am currently with Verizon, unlimited data. Where I live I can not get internet through any other carrier, but verizon. I pay 50.00 a month for 2 gb.hot spot . My question is If I move up to the Iphone 5, can I link my pc to the phone with out needing the extra hot spot that I am paying for? So, Can I use the phones hot spot for my Computer?
    Thank you

  25. Bob Brainard

    01/15/2013 at 2:36 pm

    Does anyone know how to manage the hotspot connections? Is there a way to see who is connected, disconnect a particular user, etc.? All I can see is the blue bar announcing the number of of connections.

  26. Jin

    02/03/2013 at 5:13 pm

    Wow your so right I was trying to update my iPhone 5 via connected to iPhone 4 hotspot iTunes was saying 90+ mins to download the update I fought forget that today I manged to get my hands on a iPhone 5 unlocked and I’m updating my iPhone 5 while connected to iPhone 5 hotspot it’s saying ten mins this is crazy it’s like super fast Internet in hand iPhone 5 rocks!!!!!

  27. Mike

    02/06/2013 at 2:37 am

    Awesome. Thanks for the great post. All fixed

  28. Rod Hirsch (@rodhirschwriter)

    02/07/2013 at 5:39 am

    Thanks Josh – worked like a charm.

  29. marypopsrina

    02/11/2013 at 3:21 am

    Hello there!! Can someone give me a help please

    I have an Iphone 5 and I got it specially because of the hotspot. Everything seems works fine on my phone, my internet data, my wifi but once that I wanted the others devices find my phone on wifi (like my computer or my tv) they don’t find it!

    I can see all the devices and conect to anything using the wifi on my Iphone but not the opposite. So unless I have a usb cable I can use my hotspot, but I would like to connect more than one devices and be able to connect without using the usb cable.

    Does anyone have the same problem and know how to fix it please

    I contact Virgin mobile and Apple and still haven’t got it fixed!!

    I appreciate

    Cheers
    Marina

  30. MJWalters

    02/23/2013 at 7:14 pm

    Just picked up an iPhone 5 this weekend for my Mother-In-Law specifically because of the Personal Hotspot Feature. She had an iPhone 4.
    Found out tonight that it can only handle one device at a time. My droid was connected to her hotspot when we got to her apartment. I turned on her laptop and it did not find the network connection. When I dropped the connection on my droid, her laptop found the network right away and automatically connected.
    From this experience I would say that it is only one device.

    • MJWalters

      02/23/2013 at 7:19 pm

      She has AT&T with a 5GB data plan.

  31. Rich

    02/25/2013 at 6:48 pm

    Thank you for this.

  32. USER

    03/15/2013 at 6:25 pm

    Jailbreak w evasion then buy the 3G unrestrictor or the mywi6 if you have the unlimited plan to use the hotspot

  33. shihabudheen

    03/17/2013 at 11:52 pm

    i already change the hotspot wifi password so now i cant share wifi frm my iphone to another mobile so …how i can get the old password…? pls help me

  34. Daniel

    03/23/2013 at 10:40 am

    Does anyone know how to manage the hotspot connections? Is there a way to see who is connected, disconnect a particular user, etc.? All I can see is the blue bar announcing the number of of connections.

  35. Hanna

    04/13/2013 at 9:39 am

    Why is it so slow. Before iOS 6 my personal hotspot was so fast now it’s slower than ever even with untethered jail break

  36. Tracy

    06/15/2013 at 11:38 am

    Just bought thru AT&T iphone5. I have an ipad2 and I can not get it to connect to my hotspot? I have my iPhone’s wifi password protected and when entering the password it says “unable to join network” suggestions?

  37. Jessie

    06/26/2013 at 7:11 pm

    I use Straight Talk. My iPhone 5 doesn’t have the Personal Hotspot option on my screen in Cellular, what now?

  38. O Muller

    07/12/2013 at 8:38 pm

    thank you for this tip…
    I have T-Mobile, activated the option and will try it out.
    Thank you again. O Muller

  39. Satya

    08/01/2013 at 2:01 pm

    I have a question… Is it possible to use Personal Hotspot through USB and such that data is received through WIFI and not throught Cellular (3G oder LTE) ? Samsung galaxy provides such functionality !

  40. Vincent Levesque

    08/12/2013 at 11:54 pm

    Nice Job! Works great. Thumbs up

  41. Jasaon S.

    08/28/2013 at 11:41 am

    My devices cannot find the hotspot. I am no AT&T, iphone 5. Any word of advice?

  42. iphone 6 release date

    10/06/2013 at 10:56 am

    Even though this tip is typical, I didn’t know how to create personal hotspot on my iPhone.

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