Have you ever been in a situation where you need an internet connection for an iPad or laptop, but there is no Wi-Fi available? If you have an iPhone with a mobile plan that has a large data allowance, then you have a solution to your problem at hand.
There are a couple of problems to keep in mind when using your iPhone as a portable hotspot but are solvable with some prior planning. Firstly, using your phone as a hotspot will eat through your battery life, so make sure to have a charger handy. Battery life is not a problem if you are at home or work and have an internet outage. If you are out in the field, you can easily pick up a car charger or power bank at many service stations.
Another problem is that many mobile plans come with low data limits. If you only need email or light browsing, then you should not need to worry too much about data. If you need a large volume of data, you should either upgrade your mobile service in advance or obtain a mobile plan with a large data volume.
To enable the hotspot feature on your iPhone, you need to enter Settings then navigate to Personal Hotspot. By default, anything sharing the same Apple iCloud account can connect to an iPhone’s mobile hotspot, but access for other devices must be manually enabled. To do this, select Allow others to join, and below is the password required to connect.
If you need to know the name of the network to connect to, you can find it under Settings > General > About. This menu can also tell you how many songs, videos, photos, and apps are stored on your phone, total storage, and free storage.
Your internet speeds will be determined by how many other mobile users are in the area and what sort of signal strength your phone receives. To get the best speeds using your phone as a hotspot, you need to place it in an area that receives a good signal. You can buy dedicated hotspot units that work with an external antenna if you are in a spot with inadequate coverage, for example, are on a farm or in a forest.
In a future article, I will talk about using a dedicated hotspot and external antenna to get coverage in more challenging or remote areas.