Can a phone be used as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot?

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

Yes, a smartphone can be used as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. The process used to accomplish this, called tethering, is where you establish a connection between the mobile phone and any other Wi-Fi-enabled device.

Warning: Some mobile carriers charge a one-time fee to activate tethering. If you're concerned about charges, check with your mobile service provider before proceeding.

Apple iPhone hotspot setup

  1. Open the Settings menu and then select Personal Hotspot.
  2. In the Personal Hotspot section, toggle the switch to the ON position.
  3. Set up a Wi-Fi Password and distribute it to the appropriate users.

Android hotspot setup

Unlike the iPhone, Android-based phones have many different manufacturers. The following instructions are a general guideline, but with a little intuition should be adaptable to your situation:

  1. From the home screen, place your finger near the top and swipe down.
  2. Enter your Settings menu.
  3. Look for Tethering or Mobile Hotspot and tap to open it.
  4. Toggle the switch in this menu to the ON position.
  5. Within the Hotspot settings menus, setup a hotspot password and distribute it to the appropriate users.

Can't find hotspot in settings

Most, but certainly not all, mobile phones have tethering capability. Whether or not your phone can become a hotspot is mostly dependant on its version. Smartphone systems, such as Android (from version 2.2 and on), Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Phone 7, and iOS 3.0 or later, allow tethering via USB or Bluetooth. Wireless tethering from a mobile phone to another device is available on iOS 4.2.5 and later, some Windows 6.5 and Windows 7 mobile devices, and certain Android devices.

Additional information

  • See our mobile device definition for further information and related links.