Get Connected with Personal Hotspot

May 20, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Getting online can prove to be tricky in some cases, particularly those that involve you, your laptop and no wireless connection. However if you have your iPhone to hand you can set this up as a wired and wireless hotspot using Bluetooth, USB or Wi-Fi.

Tethering has been available for some time on the iPhone, but with iPhone 4 it has been renamed as Personal Hotspot and offers a far more rounded experience than any of the previous iterations.

Thanks to the machinations of mobile networks, using tethering often involves an extra charge (although this depends on your location) so you should investigate the potential costs of this before configuring your iPhone has a mobile hotspot.

Get connected with Personal Hotspot!

With Personal Hotspot you can connect up to five devices: one via USB, up to three on Wi-Fi and up to three on Bluetooth. The mini network that is created is password-protected to prevent “drive-by” Wi-Fi-jacking, but don’t forget that running wireless connectivity for any period of time can lead to your battery running down faster.

Updating to iOS 4.3

Before getting started with Personal Hotspot, you will need to update to iOS 4.3. When iTunes has loaded, select your phone and click Check for Updates, and agree to any carrier updates that are offered.

Once the update is complete, go to Settings > General > Network > (Set Up) Personal Hotspot on the iPhone to begin sharing your iPhone’s Internet connection with other devices (if this option isn’t available you will need to contact your mobile network to have it enabled).

Browsing the Web with Personal Hotspot

Before sharing your Personal Hotspot with friends, it is easier to check that everything works OK by using the USB cable connection. Remember that with Wi-Fi disabled, you can keep Personal Hotspot from being hijacked by other users in the vicinity.

Once connected, open System Preferences and click Network, where you should see iPhone USB listed in the left-hand side. With a red spot beside the iPhone entry, you won’t be able to take advantage of the connection, so try reconnecting or restarting your Mac. When the spot is green, you’re ready to browse the web.

Configuring wireless tethering is simple – simply activate Wi-Fi on your iPhone 4 and then click the AirPort icon to display a list of connectable items on your Mac, where you should find your phone listed. Click this, and enter the password, which is displayed in Personal Hotspot in the Settings screen. You should now be ready to browse the web wirelessly via your iPhone modem!

Setting up Bluetooth is just as simple, but involves opening Settings > General > Bluetooth on your iPhone to activate the connection, while on your Mac you should open System Preferences > Bluetooth and click On. New Bluetooth devices can be added by clicking the Set Up New Device… option.

Connecting via Bluetooth requires establishing a secure PAN, which you can do by selecting your iPhone in the list of available Bluetooth devices on your Mac and pairing them by positioning both devices close together and tapping Pair on your iPhone.

On your Mac you will need to continue onto the Network Preferences… screen to find a Bluetooth entry that you can connect to, establishing contact between your Mac and your iPhone as a wirelessly tethered modem via Personal Hotspot!

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