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How to use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot

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HowToPhoneWiFi

A complete guide to using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Wi-Fi Gods are a fickle bunch, one minute you’re streaming the latest episode of House of Cards or browsing the TrustedReviews site, the next you’ve lost connection and you’re stuck staring at a buffering icon or a blank page.

Whether your Wi-Fi is down or you only have access to mobile data, setting up and connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot (also known as tethering) is a handy way of getting back online.

Android Phones

You can set-up a Wi-Fi hotspot on your Android phone by going to Settings > Mobile hotspot and tethering > Mobile hotspot (menu names may vary between Android devices). Tap to enable the Hotspot and then confirm you’re happy for Wi-Fi to be turned off so the hotspot can use your mobile data.

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Tap More to configure your hotspot, including changing the name (SSID), security settings and password.

Tether other devices, such as a tablet or laptop, to the hotspot by opening the Wi-Fi settings on the device you want to connect and refreshing the list of available networks. Tap on the name of your hotspot when it pops up and enter the password shown on the phone hosting the hotspot (or enter the custom password you created) to join.

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You should now be able to access the internet on your connected device.

iPhones

iOS 9 made a few changes to the layout of the Settings app, but it’s still really easy to set-up a Wi-Fi hotspot. Open the Settings app and tap on Personal Hotspot.

Related: iOS 9 tips and tricks

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If you can’t see that menu option, you may be running an older version of iOS. Don’t worry though, just tap Mobile Data (or Cellular) and then you should be able to see the Personal Hotspot option.

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In this menu you can turn the hotspot on, create a custom password and find more information about connecting via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB.

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By default, the Wi-Fi hotspot uses the name of your iPhone, such as Tom’s iPhone, so look for the name of your phone when searching for the hotspot on other devices.

You can change your iPhone’s name by going by to Settings > General > About and tapping on Name.

Windows Phones

To create a portable Wi-Fi hotspot on your Windows 10 phone, swipe down to open the notification centre and tap on Mobile Hotspot.

You’ll then see options to enable the hotspot and select whether you want to share your mobile data connection over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. You can also change the name and password of your hotspot as well as choose whether you want to allow another device, connected via Bluetooth, to be able to remotely turn on the phones’ hotspot.

Related: Best Android phones

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Keep in mind

Tethering devices to mobile Wi-Fi hotspots can be really useful, but remember hosting a hotspot does drain your phones’ battery and you need to be careful you don’t exceed your mobile data allowance. Finally, not all networks and carriers allow you to use mobile hotspots - so it’s worth checking to make sure you’re not violating the terms and conditions of your mobile contract by using one.

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