Internet tethering has been a function that many smartphones have been able to perform for a couple of years now. But Apple left the option to use internet tethering out of iOS, until the release of iOS 4.3 which was released to the masses in March 2011. Dubbed “Personal Hotspot”, it was well welcomed in the iOS community, but what is Personal Hotspot? This article will explain all you need to know about Personal Hotspot, and why you should (or shouldn’t) use Apple’s implementation of internet tethering.
What is Personal Hotspot?
Personal Hotspot allows you to share your iPhone’s 3G connection with your laptop or other wireless device. Two things to note are –
1. Only iPhone 4 and later devices can share via Wi-Fi, 3GS only shares via Bluetooth or USB.
2. It can have a very high cost, depending on carrier.
Personal Hotspot sets up a connection between your iPhone and other device via Bluetooth, USB or Wi-Fi and allows your iPhone’s 3G data to be sent to the other device, you could think of it as a 3G dongle, but with a battery and Angry Birds.
How do I enable Personal Hotspot?
You will have to get in contact with your carrier and ask if your tariff supports Tethering, if not, you will need to add tethering on to your current price plan; prices vary between carriers. Once this has been done you can enable in Settings > General > Network. Once you have enabled this you can simply hook up your iDevice via your connection choice and you should be good to go with this how-to courtesy of Apple.
What are the benefits of using Personal Hotspot?
There are loads! If you have a Wi-Fi only iPad, then you can surf on your tablet anywhere, not just at a Wi-Fi area, if you have stuff you need to do on your laptop, then Personal Hotspot can act as a portable Starbucks (coffee not included). If you are a business user and need to connect to your works network, Personal Hotspot will allow you to be connected anytime, anywhere. The benefits are endless.
Okay, what are you not telling me?
Personal Hotspot is rather awesome, but most carriers only offer up to 1GB of tethering data which is good for mobile websites, but if you are surfing on your laptop you will be loading full sites, which weigh (in MB) a lot more than mobile versions of such websites due to which you may see you reach your download limit rather quick. You also need to take your iPhone’s battery into account, when you are sharing 3G, you may see your battery figures decrease rapidly, so if you plan on using Personal Hotspot, bring a charger.
In a nutshell, Personal Hotspot is there to allow you to connect your laptop, iPad, iPod or any other Wi-Fi device (bluetooth only works with Mac, PC or other iDevices) and share your iPhone’s 3G network with them.
In my opinion, Apple left this out for too long, but when they added the Personal Hotspot feature to iOS, it soon became the best tethering method I have ever used. It is amazingly simple to set-up and get going.
Are you tempted? Let us know your experiences with this feature in the comments section below.