Daily Tip: How to do FaceTime over 3G via iPhone personal hotspot

Daily Tip: How to do FaceTime over 3G via iPhone personal hotspot

Have an iPhone and and another iOS device like iPad 2 or iPod touch 4 and curious how to use personal hotspot to place a FaceTime video call over 3G? We showed off the feature in our TiPb TV iPad tourist video and mentioned it as a bonus in our how to connect your iPad to iPhone personal hotspot tip, but enough of you wrote in to ask about it we figured we better feature it in a tip of its own. And we're doing just that after the break!

While you can't do a FaceTime call on an iPhone 4 or iPad 2 over 3G, for some flummoxing reason you can turn on personal hotspot on iPhone 4, connect to it on another iPhone 4, iPad 2 or iPod touch 4, and make all the FaceTime calls you like. Here are the steps and each one is a link to previous step that gives you more info.

  1. Turn on personal hotspot on your iPhoneWireless Hotspot feature in iOS 4.3
  2. Connect your iPhone 4, iPad 2 or iPod touch 4 to the personal hotspotDaily Tip: How to connect your iPad to iPhone personal hotspot
  3. Launch FaceTime and start your video call!

The quality is good, better in fact than I remember it being with Jailbreak 3G enablers for whatever reason (though Jailbreak doesn't require a second device). Just remember to keep an eye on your iPhone's battery life and data cap!

Tips of the day will range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you'd like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it's especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we'll even give ya a reward...)

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

More Posts



← Previously

iPhone Live podcast tonight, 9pm ET. Bring a friend!

Next up →

Angry Birds HD updated with 15 new levels

Reader comments

Daily Tip: How to do FaceTime over 3G via iPhone personal hotspot


I just FaceTime with a lady friend that moved to Florida... Its way more conviemt then sitting at a desk and talking to a computer

I just got back from China and used Skype on my iPhone 4 every day to video chat with my wife and daughter back in the states. Even though my wife has an iPhone 4, FaceTime just didn't work as well as Skype did. (we both were on Wifi) Plus Skype works on 3G as well. Either way, both tools are excellent for getting around the huge international roaming fees that AT&T charges.

...and before I get blasted for the obvious I mean the days of old when multitasking wasn't possible. I know it is there now.

Only 1 more step, and so much more useful....
Step 1) Jailbreak your device
Step 2) Download 3G Unrestricter
Step 3) FaceTime whenever, wherever

step 1 should be jailbreak iphone so that you dont have to pay a ridiculous monthly charge for tethering =)

tethering is free on my carrier, i love the personal hotspot because i'm actually saving 11-15$ a month now.
great tip

thats awesome. here in the us, we have to pay for tethering, well, if we want to do it the "right" way.

I switched on Personal Hotspot on my verizon account and they immediately cancelled the new-every-two. Guess it's one way of finding a way ending that discount. Not that it was a great discount but I had already accrued 9 months including the roll over from their previous period that they added back in.
Not only the fact that they took it they took it before the confirmation and removed it even after I tried to back out of the option without confirming the change.
They said they were ending it and I guess ungrandfathering people when they switch on options on their accounts like mobile hotspot. Down and dirty but they are a telco!

Out of curiosity as I don't have 4.3 yet... can you enable personal hotspot and connect to yourself? Then FaceTime over this connection?

How is this face time over 3G? The personal hot spot feature is a Wi-Fi connection. So its still of Wi-Fi not 3G your not using the network to connect your using a the wi-fi to tether the devices together. So again how is this over 3G?

Because the connection for the Wifi is being provided through the data connection of the iPhone4, which is over 3G.

That's true but technically it is still over the Wi-Fi connection. Yes the actual wi-fi is piped through a 3g connected device but the ipad is connected through a hotspot and not 3g. If this is 3g then a Mi-Fi device from VZW would be the same thing. So why not sale it that way "Face time through the 3g network". I am not trying to start a fight or to come off as a troll but it is not over 3g it is still through a Wi-Fi connection.

That is probably more acceptable to them since "official" hotspot enabled iPhones are off the unlimited plans here in the US.

As far as I can tell it won't let you Facetime between the iPod and the iPhone that it is tethered to?