Thursday, February 29, 2024
Daily TipsiPadiPhone

What to do if Personal Hotspot is not working on your iPad or iPhone

With Personal Hotspot, you can share the cellular data connection of your iPhone or iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular) with another device. But what if it’s not working?

Use these steps first

Try connecting again after each step.

  1. Check that Personal Hotspot is turned on in Settings > Personal Hotspot. If you can’t find or turn on Personal Hotspot, check that your wireless carrier enabled it and that your wireless plan supports it.
  2. Restart the iPhone or iPad that provides Personal Hotspot and the other device that needs to connect to Personal Hotspot. 
  3. Make sure that you have the latest version of iOS or iPadOS.
  4. On the iPhone or iPad that provides Personal Hotspot, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset [Device] > Reset, then tap Reset Network Settings.

Use the steps below for more help with Personal Hotspot over Wi-Fi, USB, or Bluetooth.

If you can’t connect to Personal Hotspot with Wi-Fi

On the device that provides Personal Hotspot, go to Settings > Personal Hotspot, then follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that Allow Others to Join is on. 
  2. Remember the device’s Wi-Fi network name and password that appear on this screen. If you want to change the Wi-Fi network name, learn how to change your device name.
  3. If you’re using an iPhone 12 model or later, turn on Maximize Compatibility. Then try connecting your devices again to your Personal Hotspot. (Note that when you turn on Maximize Compatibility, internet performance and Wi-Fi security might be reduced for devices connected to the hotspot.)
  4. Stay on this screen until you connect your other device to the Wi-Fi network. 

On the device that needs to connect to Personal Hotspot, follow these steps:

  1. Turn Wi-Fi off and back on.
  2. Make sure that you connect to the correct Wi-Fi network. The network name is the same as the iOS device that provides Personal Hotspot and the Personal Hotspot icon might appear next to it.
  3. If you see a password error when you try to join Personal Hotspot, check the Wi-Fi password: On the device that provides Personal Hotspot, go to Settings > Personal Hotspot to see the Wi-Fi password.

If you can’t connect to Personal Hotspot with USB

To avoid unnecessary data charges, turn off Personal Hotspot when you don’t need it. If you don’t, every time you plug your iOS device with Personal Hotspot into your computer to charge, your computer might connect to Personal Hotspot. 

Follow the steps below for your Mac.

Connect your Mac to Personal Hotspot with USB

  1. Update to the latest version of iTunes. 
  2. With a USB cable, connect your Mac to the iPhone or iPad that provides Personal Hotspot. If prompted, trust the device.
  3. Make sure that you can locate and view your iPhone or iPad in iTunes or the Finder. If your Mac doesn’t recognize your device, try a different USB cable. 
  4. Go to System Preferences > Network, then select iPhone USB. If you don’t see it, click the Add button and add it.
  5. Click the More button, choose Make Service Inactive, then click Apply.
  6. Click the More button, choose Make Service Active, then click Apply. If you already have a different network connection, your Personal Hotspot connection might not activate until you uncheck “Disable unless needed” and click Apply.

If you can’t connect to Personal Hotspot with Bluetooth

Use the steps below to pair your devices and connect to Personal Hotspot with Bluetooth.

Pair your devices

  1. On the device that provides Personal Hotspot, go to Settings > Personal Hotspot and make sure Allow Others to Join is on.
  2. Go to Settings > Bluetooth and make sure that Bluetooth is on.
  3. Keep this screen open, then follow the steps for the device that needs to connect:
    • On your iPad or iPod touch, tap Settings > Bluetooth and make sure Bluetooth is on. Tap the device that provides Personal Hotspot, confirm the code that appears, then tap Pair on both devices.
    • On your Mac, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Bluetooth and make sure Bluetooth is on. Select the device providing Personal Hotspot, click Connect, then follow the onscreen instructions.
    • On your Windows PC, click the Bluetooth icon in the Notification area and make sure Bluetooth is on. Choose Add a Bluetooth Device, then follow the onscreen instructions.

Connect to Personal Hotspot with Bluetooth

  • On your Mac, click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar or click Bluetooth in Control Center. Choose your iOS device that provides Personal Hotspot, then choose Connect to Network. If you can’t connect, skip to the next section.
  • On your Windows PC, click the Bluetooth icon  in the Notification area and choose Join A Personal Area Network. Right-click your device and hover your pointer over “Connect using,” then select “Access point.” If you still can’t connect, skip to the next section.

If you still can’t connect to Personal Hotspot with Bluetooth

 On your devices, turn Bluetooth off and back on:

  • On your iOS or iPadOS devices, go to Settings > Bluetooth and turn Bluetooth off and back on.
  • On your Mac, click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar or click Bluetooth in Control Center, then turn Bluetooth off and back on.
  • On your PC, choose Settings, click the Bluetooth icon, then turn Bluetooth off and back on.  

If you still can’t connect, follow these steps:

  1. Unpair your device:
    • On the iPad or iPod touch that needs to connect to Personal Hotspot, tap Settings > Bluetooth. Tap the Info icon next to the device that provides Personal Hotspot, then tap Forget this Device.
    • On your Mac, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Bluetooth. Select the device that provides Personal Hotspot, then click the Remove button.
    • On your Windows PC, click the Bluetooth icon in the Notification area. Select “Show Bluetooth devices” and select the device that provides Personal Hotspot. Click Remove, then click OK.
  • Restart all your devices.
  • Pair your devices and try again to connect to Personal Hotspot.
  • (This how-to is based on my experiences and info on Apple’s support pages — where the images sometimes come from.)

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.