iPhone Hotspot Not Working? How to Fix iPhone Tethering

Is your iPhone hotspot not working? You’re not alone. Sadly, networking issues are a common problem in the world of smartphone tethering.

If your iPhone has failed to enable your personal hotspot, your iPhone hotspot is not showing, or you simply can’t connect to your iPhone hotspot, keep reading. We’re going to look at all the different fixes you can use when your iPhone personal hotspot is not working.


1. Make Sure Tethering Is Enabled

It sounds obvious, but are you sure that you’ve turned on tethering in your iPhone’s settings? Even if it was previously enabled, you might have deactivated it by accident via the Control Center, or perhaps an iOS update turned it off without your knowledge. If it’s not turned on, your iPhone hotspot will not show up.

To check whether your personal hotspot is enabled, head to Settings > Cellular Data (or Mobile Data). The Personal Hotspot option will be grayed out if it’s not turned on.

To enable it, you need to toggle on Cellular Data (or Mobile Data). Then tap on Personal Hotspot, toggle Allow Others to Join.

The hotspot’s name exactly mirrors the name of your device. To change the name, you need to head to Settings > General > About > Name.

While you’re in the hotspot settings, it’s also worth making sure that your hotspot password is strong and secure. You can change the hotspot password by tapping on Wi-Fi Password.

2. Check if Tethering Settings Are Unavailable

For reasons that aren’t always entirely clear, some carriers disable tethering on their devices. The problem is most prevalent on locked devices that you’ve bought directly via a carrier’s shop, but it can happen on unlocked phones and tablets too.

This issue manifests itself in a number of ways. You might find that the tethering option is entirely grayed out in the Settings menu, or you might see an onscreen message that reads To enable personal hotspot on this account, contact [carrier]. Often, there will also be a spinning wheel alongside it.

Sometimes, a quick search on your carrier’s FAQs will solve the problem. The solution might be as simple as sending an SMS to your carrier to enable the setting.

Missing APN data can also cause your iPhone hotspot to not work. If your carrier has this feature and you know the codes, you can add them yourself by going to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Cellular Network or Settings > Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options > Mobile Data Network.

However, on some occasions, the carrier might have permanently disabled the option for your account. For more information, you will need to contact your carrier’s support team and raise the issue with them.

3. Check Your Mobile Data Plan

If you have personal hotspot enabled and you’re sure your carrier allows tethering, your iPhone hotspot may not be working because of your data plan.

For some carriers, you need to subscribe to additional internet plans so that you have the mobile data to use hotspot. But if your plan already has internet data, check that you still have any left. Otherwise your iPhone hotspot won’t work until you reload your phone or top up the data.

4. Restart Your Device

It’s always worth following the age-old advice of turning your device off and on again if your iPhone hotspot isn’t working. For a quicker solution, you can try turning on Airplane Mode instead. Enable it, wait 10 seconds, then disable it again. You can also apply similar steps to the Personal Hotspot feature itself: disable it, wait several seconds, then enable it once again.

You should also try to restart the device you’re trying to connect to your iPhone hotspot. Remember, the issue might be with the other device, rather than with your iPhone.

5. Try a Different Connection Method

Most people assume that in order to use a personal hotspot, you need to use a Wi-Fi connection. That’s not true. When your iPhone hotspot isn’t working normally, you can use Bluetooth or even a trusty USB cable to make the connection instead.

By trying alternative hotspot connection methods, you can rule out (or establish) a problem with your phone’s Wi-Fi hardware. To use a different connection method, you’ll still need to enable your personal hotspot as described earlier.

If you’re attempting to use Bluetooth, you need to pair your iPhone with the computer or mobile device you’re trying to share the hotspot with. On an iPhone, that means you need to go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap on the name of the device in question.

The process on your other device will be specific to the operating system. Refer to the manual, or see our guide on connecting your mobile device to a PC with Bluetooth for more guidance. If this is the first time that you’ve connected to the other device, you may need to go through a PIN verification process.

For the USB cable method, connect your iPhone to a computer. If a popup that asks Trust this Computer? appears on your iPhone screen, tap Trust. Then, go to your computer’s network settings to select the hotspot from the list of available networks. USB benefits from being the fastest type of connection. If speed is important to you, this is the best solution.

6. Update Your iPhone’s iOS

As iOS updates come with bug fixes, updating your iPhone to the latest version may help solve the problem when your iPhone hotspot isn’t working.

To update iOS, head to Settings > General > Software Update. If an update is available, you’ll be asked to download and install it.

For a complete update of your iPhone, you can check out our guide on how to update iOS and apps.

7. Reset the Network Settings

iOS offers a built-in way to erase user data and restore settings to the factory defaults. However, you can also take a more granular approach by only removing certain kinds of data.

In the case of your iPhone’s personal hotspot not working, you only need to delete the network settings. To do so, head to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings. You will need to enter your passcode before the phone lets you proceed.

The reset process will remove all your Wi-Fi and carrier settings and passwords and delete your custom iPhone name. This will give you a blank slate to make sure there wasn’t an erroneous network setting causing the hotspot problem.

8. Sign Out of iCloud

Some people have also claimed that logging out of your iCloud account can resolve a personal hotspot that doesn’t work. It’s not clear why doing do so would fix a network issue, but it’s worth a shot if nothing else has solved it.

To sign out of your iCloud account, go to Settings > [Your Name] > Sign Out. Make sure you log back into your account to re-enable your iCloud services.

9. Reset Your iPhone

The last solution is to reset your iPhone. Head to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset All Settings. This restores all your iPhone’s settings to its default state, without deleting any data.

Erasing all data and wiping your device’s operating system should be a last-ditch solution when your iPhone hotspot still isn’t working. If you want to go that route, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to begin to factory reset your entire iPhone. But you should be sure to make a backup first.

Alternatively, you can also achieve the same outcome by using Finder or iTunes on a computer. Connect your phone to your computer, open the Finder or iTunes app, choose your iPhone in the left-hand panel, and click on Restore iPhone.

Visit an Apple Service Center Next

If all else fails and your iPhone personal hotspot is still not working, you can head to an Apple Store (or an Authorized Service Provider) and get the team there to take a look. There’s a chance you’re facing a hardware issue. If you are, no amount of fiddling with settings or types of connection will solve your inability to connect to an iPhone hotspot.

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