A few days ago we talked about all of the expected features in iOS 4.3. Out of those the one getting the most attention is the mobile hotspot feature. Seen first on the Verizon iPhone 4, Personal Hotspot turns your iPhone into a Wi-fi access point using which you can share iPhone’s internet with five devices.
Our readers are already familiar with Internet Tethering on iPhone. Earlier this could only be done via USB or Bluetooth, thus imposing some severe limitations. Firstly, the iPhone’s data network could only be shared with one device at a time and it only worked with laptops. However, with the addition of wi-fi hotspot we can now share it with our iPod Touch and iPad too. Those who travel frequently will find it mighty useful.
This guide will show you how to activate personal hotspot on your iPhone and share it with your wireless devices.
Please note that this is a new feature currently available only on Verizon iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2.6 and iOS 4.3 Beta. It will be available to all GSM iPhone 4’s when iOS 4.3 is released on the rumored date of 14th Feb, 2011.
To use personal Hotspot for the first time, go to Settings > General > Network > Personal Hotspot. This option will be available only if your network provider allows Internet tethering. If it worked before on previous versions of iOS, hotspot will work just fine.
Turn on Personal Hotspot by tapping once on the On/Off button. You will be prompted to enter a wi-fi password.
After entering the password hit Done. Next you will be asked how do you want to share the internet access. If the Wi-fi or Bluetooth radio are Off they will be turned on automatically.
Go ahead and choose Wi-fi and USB only. Your iPhone is now broadcasting a wi-fi network with the password you selected and the name of the network is same as that of your iPhone.
Now go to any wireless device like your iPod Touch or laptop and look for networks. My Mac was pretty quick to discover it.
The broadcast strength seemed strong enough. No matter where the iPhone was left in the room, the signal showed up pretty strong.
Once connected, the iPhone will display a blue status bar(just like earlier with Internet Tethering) showing how many devices are connected.
If you keenly observe the hotspot service while using it, you will notice that it automatically shuts itself off after an hour approximately if not used. We do realize that wi-fi hotspots are power hungry and don’t go easy on our batteries. In order to make the hotspot active again just visit the Personal Hotspot pane which is now on the first page of your Settings app.
While the mobile hotspot is on over wi-fi, the iPhone can’t connect to other wi-fi networks. If you need to connect to other networks on the iPhone but leave the hotspot on go to Settings > Wi-fi and tap on Disconnect wi-fi clients.
In case you aren’t on a 3G network the hotspot will obviously stop when you make or receive a phone call. However, once the call is over everything resumes just like the call never took place. Overall, I loved the simple yet effective implementation including the power saving part.
We are not sure at this point if the Personal Hotspot feature will be released only for the iPhone 4 or older iPhone 3G/3GS too. For that we’ll have to wait for the iOS 4.3 release. The iOS 4.3 beta clearly added this service only to the iPhone 4.