Stranded with your computer with no access to Wi-Fi? Need to desperately send an email on the go? Pick up your phone and turn your cellular connection into a Wi-Fi connection for other devices. This is called creating a hotspot and if you connect your computer to that, you do something called tethering.
The number of Wi-Fi hotspots is thankfully growing and is allegedly around 17 million in the US. But let’s face it, you’re still going to end up at places where you need to create a hotspot.
Turn Your Phone into a Hotspot
Once you’ve set this up, your cell phone will show up as a Wi-Fi network, that others can join by entering a password.
- Go to Settings, then Personal Hotspot.
- You get asked to set a name and a password. Don’t make the password too obvious unless you want freeloaders, and always set a password. If not, it’s open for anyone to use.
- Slide the switch to On and follow the directions.
- Go to Settings, More, then Tethering and portable Hotspot.
- Set the name of your network and a password in Setup Wi-Fi Hotspot.
- Tap on Mobile Hotspot to turn it on.
If you’re on a computer, go to networks and select the phone’s network. Enter the password and connect!
Battery and Data Usage
Tethering uses your phone’s data plan so keep that in mind, especially if you’re sending and downloading big files. Also, if you have more than one device connected, the data usage will reflect the combined devices’ usage.
As you probably have figured out, hotspots use a lot of power so your phone’s battery can run out fast. If you’re planning on using a phone as a hotspot for a while, we recommend that you have your phone plugged into a charger. Turn it off when you’re done using it, both for the sake of safety and battery.
Find Wi-Fi Hotspots Near You
Since we want the data plans to last as long as possible, we recommend connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots whenever available. You can usually find them at libraries, restaurants, coffee shops, and sometimes parks and subways. If you want to know exactly where they are, there are a few options on how to check for Wi-Fi:
- Google Maps: simply type in “Wi-Fi Hotspots” in the search window (on your phone, tablet or computer) and you’ll see the Wi-Fi spots in reach.
- Wi-Fi Map: App which has maps covering hundreds of countries around the world. You can download it for free and it will locate Wi-Fi close to your location. It’s available both on iTunes and Google Store.
- Wi-Fi Finder: Another app that differentiates private networks and public hotspots. If you tap on a public hotspot, it will tell you if it’s free or not.
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