How to connect a Nintendo Switch to your phone's hotspot

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch and dock hero image
(Image credit: iMore)

The best thing about the Nintendo Switch is you can have all the same games with you on the go that you do at home. There's no reason to let a lack of Wi-Fi keep that from ever being the case.

Whether you're looking for a change of scenery while playing one of the best Nintendo Switch workout games, tackling one of the best Nintendo Switch racing games on the subway, or just relaxing on your own Animal Crossing tropical island paradise, you can have a good bit of fun while you're on the go.

That's even true of multiplayer games on your Nintendo Switch. Your smartphone has a great data connection it can share with nearby devices, although there may be some caveats. Here's how to connect a Nintendo Switch to your phone's hotspot!

A word on data usage

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Mobile plans often have data caps associated with them. Even if it's not a hard data cap, you'll likely have a situation where you get the first 10GB of data at 4G speeds, then anything after that will be at slower 3G speeds until your billing cycle resets. Even if you have an "unlimited" plan, you may be throttled if you connect to a high-congestion tower, or have a cap on how much tethering/mobile hotspot data you can use.

We tested out how much data Fortnite uses, and it's fortunately not enough to blow through a data cap: an hour's worth of playtime used about 19MB of data. If you have a truly unlimited plan — or you never get on a congested tower — gaming from your phone's hotspot may be great. The biggest issue will be keeping a consistent enough signal, so your gaming experience isn't awful.

We've done more testing if you're curious about how much data online gaming on the Nintendo Switch uses up, on average.

Connecting a Switch to your phone's hotspot: What to do on an iPhone

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You have three options for using the hotspot on your iPhone: WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB. For the Switch, your only real option is a Wi-Fi hotspot. Here's how to set that up on your iPhone. 

1. Open Settings

2. Select Cellular.

Enable Personal Hotspot on your iPhone by showing steps: Launch Settings, tap Cellular (Image credit: iMore)

3. Select Personal Hotspot

4. Tap the toggle for your Personal Hotspot to ON (green).

Enable Personal Hotspot on your iPhone by showing steps: Tap Personal Hotspot, tap the toggle for Personal Hotspot to ON (Image credit: iMore)

The phone will display your hotspot's network name and password. You'll need these when you turn on your Switch.

Connecting a Switch to your phone's hotspot: What to do on an Android phone

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Again, the only real option for Android users is to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot from their phone. Here's how to set it up!

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Network & Internet.
  3. Select Hotspot & tethering.
  4. Select Wi-Fi hotspot.
  5. Turn the hotspot on.

The phone will display your hotspot's network name and password. You'll need these when you turn on your Switch.

Connecting a Switch to your phone's hotspot: What to do on your Switch

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The next step is to make sure your Switch actually connects to the hotspot's network. Fortunately, it's no different than connecting to any other wireless network:

1. Select Settings from your Switch's home screen.

How to connect to a hotspot on your Nintendo Switch by showing steps: On the Switch Home Screen, select System Settings (Image credit: iMore)

2. Select Internet.

How to connect to a hotspot on your Nintendo Switch by showing steps: Select Internet in the side menu of System Settings (Image credit: iMore)

3. Select Internet Settings.

How to connect to a hotspot on your Nintendo Switch by showing steps: Under Internet, select Internet Settings (Image credit: iMore)

3. Let the Switch search for networks.

4. Select your hotspot from the Networks Found list.

How to connect to a hotspot on your Nintendo Switch by showing steps: Select your smartphone's hotspot from the WiFi list, then input the password to connect (Image credit: iMore)

5. Enter your hotspot's password and select OK.

Online wherever you go

As long as your cellular signal is strong enough for the Switch to maintain a reliable connection, you're good! If not, you'll have to wait until your back on your home Wi-Fi, or in an area with a stronger cell connection.

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Nintendo Switch eShop Gift Card

Grab a Nintendo Switch eShop gift card and you'll be good to go. Whenever you're on the go, you can still keep playing online games, as long as you're connected.

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