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Surfing the web from your iPhone is great, but without question sometimes you just need to use your regular computer to access the Internet. Maybe you have a file you need to email from your computer. Maybe you need to write a long email and you want to use a real keyboard. Of course, you won't always be able to find Internet access for your computer, especially when you're on the road. If you need to be connected and online in a moment's notice, or just want the same convenience of being able to get online as your iPhone can over your cellular provider's data network, then you might want to look into the iPhone's Personal Hotspot capability. In a nutshell, creating a Personal Hotspot with your iPhone means you're sharing your phone's Internet connection with your computer.
This is also referred to as tethering. And obviously this is an iPhone only feature since the iPod touch does not connect to cellular networks. Once tethering is enabled you can share your iPhone's Internet connection via USB, Bluetooth, or over Wi-Fi. Let's take a look at how to enable the personal hotspot. Now on all US carriers the Personal Hotspot feature is going to be an additional cost. So you have to contact your service provider to get the service turned on. Also be aware that data transferred over your phone to your computer counts against whichever monthly data plan you've chosen.
So you probably don't want to start transferring tons of files or streaming lots of movies over your computer through your iPhone. In some countries tethering is built into the calling plan and you won't need to turn on the service or pay anything extra. If you're not sure if you have tethering or not contact your provider, but here in the US we have to tell our service providers to turn on the service and add it to our bill. You can go to Settings>General>Cellular. And if you haven't enabled the Personal Hotspot you'll see a button here to set up your personal hotspot.
And you can tap it to either call your provider or to go directly to their website. Once it's turned on, like it is on my phone, I can go to the main Settings page and here I'll find Personal Hotspot, and what you'll find here is a simple on off switch. Just tap the switch to turn on tethering. Now if you currently don't have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi turned on you'll see this message asking if you want to turn Bluetooth on or if you just want to use Wi-Fi and USB tethering. I'll tap turn on Bluetooth, And that's all there is to enabling tethering.
Now although you could connect your phone to your computer via Bluetooth or through the USB cable as we see here, Wi-Fi is definitely the easiest method because it doesn't involve any cables at all and you don't have to pair your phone with your computer as you have to do with Bluetooth. Also, over Wi-Fi you can connect up to five computers to share your phone's Internet connection. You're even provided with a random Wi-Fi password. If you want to change the password, you can tap it and enter a password of your own, but I'll leave this default random password. All I have to do now is find my iPhone's Wi-Fi network on my computer and then enter the password to connect.
So here on my computer I'll search for my wireless network and here I see Garrick's iPhone, which is my Wi-Fi network and here I'll enter the password to connect. Now I'm connected to the Internet through my iPhone cellular connection. That's all there is to it. In a few seconds you should see a blue bar appear at the top of your iPhone's screen indicating the tethering is in action. This blue bar will be here as long as your computer is tethered to your phone, but you can continue to use your phone as always by taking calls, playing games or checking email.
Back on your computer you can now surf the Internet, check your email and do any other web related activities you need to. Of course, since you're connected through your iPhone's network you'll be getting approximately the same speeds as your phone does. So don't expect blazing fast Internet speeds unless your phone is connected to an LTE network. Still it's pretty cool to be able to get online wirelessly through your phone like this. When you're done surfing you can tap the blue bar at the top of your screen to go back to the Personal Hotspot settings and turn Personal Hotspot Off again.
So that's how to tether your iPhone to your computer through Wi-Fi.
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