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How to Use Personal Hotspot on iOS 7

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iOS 7 offers fast access to the iPhone personal hotspot feature that lets users share the iPhone’s cellular connection with other WiFi devices like an iPad, laptop or gaming system.

While the iOS 7 personal hotspot is similar to earlier versions, there are some small enhancements that users will appreciate, including a new indication of how many users are on the hotspot and fast access to turning the iPhone personal hotspot on in iOS 7.

In order to use the iPhone or iPad personal hotspot users will need a device that supports it, such as the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPhone 4 or an iPad with 3G or LTE connectivity. Users will also need a plan that supports using the iPhone 5s as a personal hotspot. Most shared data plans include iPhone personal hotspot support in the base price, users on individual and unlimited data plans will need to pay extra for the features.

Read: How to Use Control Center on iOS 7

Users who use the iPhone as a personal hotspot on iOS 7 can now see how much data they have used on the iPhone as a personal hotspot, which is important because it is easier to use data faster while connecting a laptop to the iPhone 5s or iPad.

One issue that remains with the iOS 7 hotspot is that sometimes a computer will not see the iPhone’s hotspot in the list of network options. If this is the case try turning WiFi on and off or plugging by USB.

How to Turn on Personal Hotspot on iOS 7

1. Tap on Settings app on the iPhone home screen.

2. If you see the Personal Hotspot Option as the 5th line item, tap on it. If there is no option there, tap on Cellular and then on Personal Hotspot.

iOS 7 personal hotspot guide.

iOS 7 personal hotspot guide.

3. Once you have used the iPhone personal hotspot once, it will show up on the main Settings screen for faster access.

4. Tap the switch to the On position, which will show green in the slider area to the left.

Change personal hotspot settings on iOS.

Change personal hotspot settings on iOS.

5. On the iOS 7 personal hotspot settings page you can also change the WiFi password to something that is easier to remember. This is also where you can change it if you want to share it with friends on one trip, but not every time you get together. Tap on the password to change it.

iOS 7 shows how many devices are connected on the lock screen.

iOS 7 shows how many devices are connected on the lock screen.

6. Now look for your iPhone’s name in the WiFi listing on a laptop or other device and click connect. If you plan to connect over Bluetooth or USB, there may be some configuration needed.

While using the iPhone as a personal hotspot on iOS 7 a small indicator bar will show up below the status bar, and when locked the status bar will show blue. On the lock screen the status bar now shows a small number next to a link icon that tells users how many devices are connected to the iPhone. The iPhone can connect up to five devices to the hotspot.

Users on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad 3 and iPad mini 2 can enjoy faster LTE speeds, which rival home internet connections.

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]

25 Comments

  1. Joao Oliveira

    09/18/2013 at 1:53 pm

    Seriously?! What the hell happened to this blog?! Oh my god!

  2. Ron

    09/21/2013 at 9:10 am

    I was warned by the folks at Verizon that if I used my iPhone 5s as a mobile hotspot, it would burn through my battery and shorten the useful life of the battery. Do you think this is true? They were trying to sell me a dedicated mobile hot spot device, so I wonder if it was just a hard sell.

    • Alan Mascall

      09/22/2013 at 3:04 am

      Ron – yes it does eat battery, but I don’t know if it will shorten battery life over time, it certainly does over the course of the day. If I use my phone with my laptop, I always put the phone on charge, or it will just run flat in a few hours.

      • Ron

        09/23/2013 at 12:17 pm

        Thanks. The Verizon folks also told me that the mobile hotspot would cause the iPhone to overheat. It felt like a hard sell, but I admit that they made me nervous to do any damage to my precious new iPhone 5S! :-)

        • Josh W

          04/04/2014 at 9:56 am

          All devices will get hot after continuous use. The chance of damaging your device from normal use however is unlikely. I’ve never heard of using hotspot to shorten the life of your batter, however it definitely will cause your battery to die quicker, but that’s because it’s constantly being used to share your data with other devices.

          The only thing to be mindful of is keeping an eye on the temperature of your phone. with any type of electronics, a lot of heat for a long period of time can damage the device. This is true with any device though, including the mobile hotspot. The ways this is prevented in devices is with proper cooling and/or ventalation. Taking off a case if one is on can help with ventalation. Be careful because the device can become very hot to the touch so beware not to burn yourself if you are more sensitive to heat.

    • Kris

      09/27/2013 at 7:19 am

      The other thing to consider is that if it is eating through a charge you will have to charge more often, and while batteries have improved there are only so many times that it can be recharged, running it as a hotspot will not shorten how many recharge cycles a battery will use but it will make you charge more often. That said by the time a standard user, who is using a mobile hotspot occasionally runs through that cycle they will normally be looking for a new iPhone. Is it in the realm of possibility that it can, in some situations, cause an iPhone to overheat or shorten the batteries life? Yes, but it is incredibly unlikely and they are giving you the worst case scenario without telling you that it is a worst case scenario, as a side note any app that your run can do this but 99.998% of the time won’t, also sometimes you get a faulty battery, just a luck of the draw kind of thing.

      • Ron

        09/27/2013 at 12:05 pm

        Thanks, So far, I’ve been using the Mobile Hotspot with no problems at all. It runs through about 10% of my battery life per hour of hotspot usage, which really isn’t so bad. I have been quite pleased with the battery life of my iPhone overall, and can get one or two days’ usage from a single charge. (I switched from a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which required 2 or 3 charges per day for the same level of usage.)

  3. Alan Mascall

    09/22/2013 at 3:01 am

    I’m with Joao – where’s the rest of this article please?

  4. Alex

    09/22/2013 at 4:01 pm

    I have a iphon 4 and the blue line does not come on I can see my hotspot on my laptop but it won’t connect help

  5. Jack

    09/26/2013 at 2:54 am

    You may see a troubleshooting of personal hotspot at http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2756

  6. youssef

    09/29/2013 at 1:15 pm

    i have iphone 5,i try to connect on hotspot to black berry bold 3 but it’s not working..why ??

  7. Alesia

    09/30/2013 at 3:04 pm

    The hotspot is on but the internet is not working. On the phone, instead of saying Russ’s iPhone it as something that looks like another language

  8. Scott S.

    10/11/2013 at 11:03 am

    I am reading about a lot of issues with the iPhone hotspots so i have a question. When you all are making the connection to the hotspot, is the hotspot screen open on your iphone or is something else open. I am curious if those who are having problems connecting do not have the Personal Hotspot screen open. I have found that I CANNOT see the hotspot connection unless the screen is open and active. Once its connected I can do whatever I want, short of turning the power off or going out of range. If it disconnects, I have to go back to that Personal Hotspot screen until my other devices reconnect. Anyone else notice this, I think it may be the root of alot of the connection problems, but i don’t see anything mentioning this. ANYONE!!

  9. Scott S.

    10/11/2013 at 11:07 am

    Additionally, as a follow up to my previous comment. When you open the screen it takes a second or two to reconnect. My devices will reconnect automatically, IF I have the screen open and provided that I have previously made the connection and satisfied the security controls.

  10. Stefan N

    10/18/2013 at 4:56 am

    I can not get a mobile hotspot on my line. My wifes works perfect. mine says “Call” or ‘Go on line” very frustrating

    • Virginia Roach

      11/20/2013 at 6:40 am

      Mine says the same thing. I called My carrier they said they just needed to turn in on and then said it is On.. But I still see the same thing Call etc…

  11. crystalbolduc

    11/01/2013 at 3:39 pm

    I have the new iphone 5S and there is no HOTSPOT link anywhere in the settings menu. I have searched every single link and it does not show up anywhere! Please help!

    • Ron

      11/01/2013 at 3:42 pm

      In my iPhone 5S, it is the fifth row in the Settings menu (immediately below “Cellular”). It is called “Personal Hotspot.”

  12. Bob

    11/03/2013 at 9:54 am

    On my iPhone 5 I have to touch Cellular in the Settings menu and it pops up there. And refers you to ATT where they will tell you how much it will cost to use.

  13. Johnny

    11/04/2013 at 10:55 pm

    Your ISP has the ability to remove Personal Hotspot from your phone via the Carrier Settings, in that case it won’t show in the menu. You have to contact your ISP to enable it (and probably pay a monthly fee).

    As for battery life, I say bulls*it. I have an unlimited data plan (no hard limit; soft limit @ 10 GB/month where speed is reduced to the ISP’s standard wired tier speed) and when I got my iPhone4 two years ago, I cut my hard line internet and have used the Personal Hotspot as my internet link on my desktop ever since. So, 2+ years of daily connection via the phone. Battery is fine, seems as good as day one.

  14. Joan Ballantyne

    11/23/2013 at 12:14 pm

    I am frustrated I have Iphone 5 ios7. and when I communicated to chat person on ATT they then said I would have to pay 35 month. ?????

  15. David H.

    12/02/2013 at 2:47 am

    Yes

    Thais happens to me and your post is the first time I have found out anything that says this!!

  16. Maryam

    12/22/2013 at 5:19 pm

    My laptop can connect to my iPhone 5s but it can’t open any pages. I tried with internet explore and also with mozilla fire fox

  17. Jonathan

    12/23/2013 at 3:39 pm

    mine says to call or go online to activate hotspot on verizon with iphone 5s.

  18. Rapidoodle

    03/29/2014 at 9:47 pm

    Mine said, for to enable hotspot you need to contact globe

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