How to connect to Instant Hotspot on your Mac

Instant Hotspot is part of Continuity, and lets you share the data connection from your iPhone or cellular iPad with your Mac or other devices. It's different from Personal Hotspot, which requires a password and connects like a standard Wi-Fi router, in that it uses your Apple ID for authentication, Bluetooth Low Energy (BT LE) for rapid connection, and Wi-Fi for data transfer. So it's much faster and more convenient, but it's really only meant for your devices.

Instant Hotspot requirements

Instant Hotspot broadcasts availability using Bluetooth Low Energy, authenticates by Apple ID, and transfers data using Wi-Fi. In order for Instant Hotspot to work, your iPhone(s), iPad(s), and Macs need to be:

  • Signed up on a data plan that includes tethering (cellular device only).
  • Running iOS 8 or later on the iPhone or iPad, OS X Yosemite or later on the Mac.
  • Equipped with Bluetooth LE (2012 Mac or later, iPhone 5 or later, iPad 4 or later, any iPad mini, iPod touch 5)
  • Logged into the same Apple ID on all your devices.

How to enable Instant Hotspot on your iPhone or cellular iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Personal Hotspot.
  3. Tap the Personal Hotspot On/Off switch, you want it to be green.

    Launch the Settings app on your iPhone, tap on Personal Hotspot, and tap the Personal Hotspot On/Off Switch

If you don't see Personal Hotspot in the main Settings menu:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on Cellular.
  3. Tap on Personal Hotspot.
  4. Tap the Personal Hotspot On/Off switch, you want it to be green.

    Launch the Settings app on your iPhone, tap on Cellular,  tap on Personal Hotspot, and tap the Personal Hotspot On/Off Switch

If you still don't see Personal Hotspot, make sure your data plan supports tethering.

How to use Instant Hotspot to tether your Mac to your iPhone or cellular iPad

  1. Click on the Wi-Fi icon in your Mac's menu bar.
  2. Click on the Device you want to use as a hotspot.

    Click on the Wi-Fi icon in your Mac's menu bar and then click on the device you want to use as a personal hotspot.

Note: If your device doesn't meet the requirements, or you want to connect to or with someone else's device, you can still use the regular personal hotspot feature by entering in the password.

Enhance your Mac with these solutions

Your Mac could be even more useful with one of our favorite accessories.

Apple Magic Keyboard ($89 at Amazon)

Apple's official Bluetooth keyboard is a great basic option that provides a consistently solid typing experience and pairs easily with your Mac or iPad.

Bose Companion 20 ($250 at Amazon)

These beautiful speakers offer a balanced sound in a stylish package. With no knobs on the front, the volume is controlled through a small pod attached to the right speaker, which also holds the ports for your headphones or other audio devices.

Apple Magic Mouse 2 ($67 at Amazon)

Just connect the Magic Mouse 2 to your Mac by a USB-to-Lightning cable once and it'll be paired. This rechargeable mouse has a multitouch surface that lets you customize exactly how it works, from what one- and two-finger swipes do to which side works as "left" and "right" click. Available in Silver or Space Gray to match your Mac.

Any Questions?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Updated August 2019: These are still all the same steps for iOS 13 and macOS Catalina.

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