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Personal Hotspot not Working: Troubleshooting

Using your iPhone as a Personal Hotspot allows you to pass on your mobile data connection (cellular data) to your laptop and other devices in the vicinity. Apple introduced this feature in iOS 4.3 as a means to share your internet connection with others and to keep your MacBook connected on the road. If your Personal Hotspot is not working properly, some troubleshooting is in order.

Here’s a guide on how to fix your Personal Hotspot.

Note: It might be necessary to restart your iPhone or the other device during the troubleshooting to make sure that all of the settings are actually carried over correctly. Please keep that in mind.

Typical issues with regards to the iOS Personal Hotspot:

  • Cannot connect to Personal Hotspot from the other device
  • iPhone not staying in Personal Hotspot mode
  • Can connect to Personal Hotspot but no internet connection
  • Personal Hotspot connection appears to die down after a few seconds of usage

First of all, make sure that your iPhone is running the latest version of iOS. Installing all of the current updates will make troubleshooting far easier, although this is clearly not something you can easily achieve while on the road.

Personal Hotspot troubleshooting: Checking the settings

Open up your “Settings” app on your iPhone. We need to make sure that everything is set up correctly in order for your Personal Hotspot to work correctly. Go to “Cellular”, then “Cellular Data Network” to view your detailed network settings. If those fields are all blank on your device, your network settings were either missing from the start or they have been corrupted for some reason. Either retrieve your details from the documentation your carrier gave you with the contract/phone, or better, hit the “Reset Settings” button at the bottom of the page. This will recreate the necessary details and allow you to reconnect to the cellular data network, be it 3G or 4G/LTE.

Another way to reset your network settings

If you feel that something is off with your internet connection on the iPhone, you can also wipe and recreate the network settings by going to your “Settings” app, the “General” section and (after scrolling down all the way) tapping “Reset”. Now select “Reset Network Settings” to restore the defaults.

Important: Note that you will have to re-enter all of your WiFi network passwords when resetting the network settings. Unfortunately, there is no way to specifically target only the cellular network settings.

Personal Hotspot stops working after a few seconds

An easy way to get your data connection “flowing” after it stalled while using the Personal Hotspot, is to briefly disconnect from the Personal Hotspot with the other device. Enable Airplane mode (if available) or simply disconnect and reconnect to the Personal Hotspot on your iPhone. This fixes a lot of intermittent issues and can be repeated if needed. Stalling typically occurs when the data allowance on the iPhone is nearing its depletion.

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