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Internet Tethering on iPhone: What You Need To Know


iphone tethering

The blue bar means iPhone tethering is active

tethering on iphone

The blue bar means iPhone tethering is active

What Is Tethering?

Tethering is a way to share an iPhone's cellular data connection with other nearby computers and wireless devices. When tethering is enabled, the iPhone functions like a cellular modem or Wi-Fi hotspot and broadcasts its Internet connection to devices connected to it. All data send to and from those devices is routed through the iPhone to them. With tethering on the iPhone, your computer or other devices can get online anywhere you can access the web on your phone.

What is Personal Hotspot?

Personal Hotspot is the name that Apple uses for tethering on the iPhone. While the technologies are the same, when trying to using tethering on your iPhone, you'll want to look for the Personal Hotspot options and menus.

What Kind of Devices Can Connect Via iPhone Tethering?

Almost any kind of computing device can use iPhone tethering. Desktops, laptops, iPod touches, iPads, and other tablets are all compatible.

How Do Devices Connect to Use Tethering?

Devices can connect to the iPhone when it's in tethering mode in three ways:

  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • USB

USB is the default methods when using Personal Hotspot, but it's easy to enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth sharing, too.

What Versions of the iPhone Support Tethering?

iPhone 3GS and newer

What Version of the iOS Is Required To Use Tethering?

Tethering requires iOS 4 or higher.

How Do I Know if iPhone Tethering Is Enabled on My Account?

There are two ways to check this. First, you can log in to your wireless account online and check your plan. Tethering will appear if you've added it to your plan. Your iPhone will also tell you. To find out, tap the Settings icon, then General. Scroll down to the Personal Hotspot button. If it reads off or on, tethering is enabled. 


Setting Up And Using Tethering on iPhone

How Do You Know When You're Tethered?

When you've connected to the web via tethering, your iPhone will display a blue bar at the top of the screen that reads "Personal Hotspot." If your phone is locked, you'll see a big blue bar on the lock screen (in iOS 6 and lower; in iOS 7 and up it's the same . The images at the top of the page show what this looks like.

Can You Sync the iPhone While Tethered?

Yes. You can sync via Wi-Fi or USB without syncing the phone interfering with the Internet connection.

Can I Use Tethering If My iPhone Has Been Ejected?

Yes. After you connect your iPhone to your computer via USB, it will sync (unless you've disabled automatic syncing). If you prefer, you can then eject the iPhone by clicking the arrow buttons next to it in iTunes without losing your connection to the Internet.


What Does iPhone Tethering Cost?

The price of tethering depends on what carrier and data plan you have. Review the options from the major carriers to learn more.


Can I Keep Unlimited Data With a Tethering Plan?

Unfortunately, you cannot use an unlimited data plan with tethering.

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