How to connect your phone’s hotspot to a laptop

If there’s no wifi to connect your laptop to in your area, then you’ll need to find another method to gain internet access. One of the most common ways that you can get the internet on your laptop without having typical wifi access is to set your phone up as a hotspot.

The good thing about this is that actually, it’s relatively straightforward for you to do. It’s a great way to send a few emails from your laptop, using the keyboard instead of trying to type it on your phone. Using a mobile hotspot and tethering it to your laptop is simple enough to do, and if there’s no wi-fi, then it’s the best way to get internet access.

How to connect your phone’s hotspot to a laptop

Before you get started with using your phone as a hotspot, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough data to do so.

The thing is that using your hotspot can use a lot of data. So, it’s definitely important that you sticking within your data limits if you have them. That means no streaming in 4K, no video calls and definitely no online gaming if you want to preserve your data.

Anyway, it’s actually pretty easy for you to use your phone as a hotspot when you need to. Here’s the best way for you to do this on both Android and iPhone devices.

How to set up your phone as a hotspot

So, the process for doing this on an Android device, and an iPhone actually uses a very similar step-by-step process. You should be able to follow along no matter the device and operating system you’re using.

First, we want to start by simply going into the Settings of our phone. Next step is to go into your Network and Internet options. This might change depending on the Android phone that you’re using. If you’re using an iPhone, then it’ll be in your Cellular settings.

network-settings

Then, you’ll be able to find the Hotspot or Hotspot and tethering option within your internet settings. You should make sure your phone isn’t in Airplane mode, and you can even track your overall data usage in here too.

You actually have three different methods that you can choose from when you’re connecting your laptop to your phone via hotspot. These are;

Wifi hotspot – The best way to connect the two devices together is by using a simple wifi hotspot connection. This uses WPA2 security, which gives you an 8 character password to use. This makes it very secure to use.
Bluetooth tethering – I’d only really use Bluetooth tethering when I don’t have much battery left, as it is less demanding than a wifi connection. They’re very similar to one another, though.
USB tethering – Use this one last, as it’s the slowest connection of all 3. It’s also not any more secure than a wifi connection, despite what you may think is logical.

Choose one of the different mobile hotspot methods and connect the two together. For this guide, we’re going to use a Wi-fi hotspot.

Once you’ve selected a Wi-fi hotspot, you’ll then be able to configure your settings. You can hide your device here, which can be a good idea if you don’t want to allow others to join your network. Rename the network name to something else, and only those that know the name will be able to join.

If you want to set up a password, go to Settings or Advanced. Here, you can create a hotspot password, which can add an extra layer of security (the longer, the better).

Then, you’ll be able to use your mobile data to browse on your laptop. You will use a lot more data browsing on your laptop than you would on a phone, so keep an eye on your usage.

What is a hotspot?

tethering

The thing with the word hotspot is that it can be pretty confusing. When most people think of a hotspot, they think of their mobile phone, and essentially using it as your gateway to the internet on another device.

In some circumstances though, you may hear the word hotspot used for a public wifi connection. This goes against what many of us think of when using a hotspot – our own personal device that we connect to.

However, it could also be the opposite to this too, as many years ago the term hotspot was almost synonymous with a public wifi connection that you’d get at your local fast food or coffee shop.

The truth is that a hotspot is simply a physical location where we can connect to the internet. So whether it’s your own phone you’re using as a hotspot, your home’s router or a public wifi setup, they can all be referred to as a hotspot.

We can separate them pretty easily by using public hotspot as the term for a location anyone can connect to, and a mobile or private hotspot for something that’s just for you.

Tethering vs hotspot

You may also see a mobile hotspot referred to as tethering, which is just the process of connecting the two devices up and “tethering” them together. Although you might have read otherwise, there’s actually no difference between tethering and a mobile hotspot.

You will often have the choice of either connecting to your hotspot via a wireless connection, or if you want to, you can also tether the two devices together using a USB or similar cable too.

In the past, a cable connection was much preferred, as it was definitely more reliable than a wireless connection. However in the modern day, the wifi quality of our mobile phones is good enough that you’re unlikely to notice the difference between the two.

Conclusion

It’s actually pretty simple for you to use your phone as a mobile hotspot when you know how to do so. Though the quality of your internet connection is unlikely to be as reliable as your home one, it can definitely come in handy if you need to use your laptop in a rush.

The truth is though that if you have an unlimited data plan, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t think about using it as a hotspot from time to time.

Just bear in mind that some companies may have maximum limits for tethering, and when you reach they, they’ll drastically reduce your internet speed (or kill it completely).

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve. I've worked for the past 8 years in a major furniture retailer in the UK, so I know my way around a desk or two. On the weekends, I spend time with my kids or I'm probably outside in the garden doing something or other!

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