How to Use 'Instant Hotspot' On a Mac with OS X Yosemite

by

With OS X Yosemite, Apple has included a number of Continuity features that improve the integration between iOS and Mac devices. OS X Yosemite includes a feature called Instant Hotspot which allows users to more easily use their iPhone's wireless cellular data connection from their Mac or iPad.

instanthotspot
With Instant Hotspot, there is no longer a need to enter a password to connect as security is handled through a common iCloud account. An iPhone can even be in sleep mode and allow your Mac to initiate Instant Hotspot, with no additional settings needing to be enabled aside from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Before you Start

You need iOS 8.1 and OS X Yosemite in order to use Instant Hotspot. You also need to ensure that your data plan with your wireless carrier allows for internet hotspot capabilities. In the United States, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, allow phones to be used as hotspots with select data plans. Sprint offers mobile hotspot capabilities with a monthly add-on plan.

Also, make sure both your Mac and iPhone are logged into the same iCloud account, and check that your Mac supports Instant Hotspot. This can be done by clicking the  symbol in the top left-hand side of the Menu bar, navigating to About This Mac, clicking on System Report and clicking on the Bluetooth listing. You should see information about whether your system is compatible with Instant Hotspot and Handoff.

instanthotspot1
After you ensure that you have a compatible Mac and data plan, follow the instructions below to turn on Instant Hotspot:

Steps

1. Turn on Wi-Fi on your iPhone (Settings -> Wi-Fi) and Mac (Menu Bar -> wifi -> Turn Wi-Fi On.

2. Turn on Bluetooth on your iPhone (Settings -> Bluetooth) and Mac (Menu Bar -> Apple -> System Preferences -> Bluetooth -> Turn Bluetooth On).

wifi
3. On your Mac, click the Wi-Fi symbol wifi in the menu bar. A new "Personal Hotspot" heading now appears near the top, and will be followed by the name of your iPhone. On the right side of your iPhone's name, signal strength, network type, and available battery life are displayed. Click on your device's name to begin using it as an Instant Hotspot for your Mac.

personalhotspot5
4. You may now begin using the Internet on your Mac with your iPhone acting as an Instant Hotspot. On the Mac, the Instant Hotspot connection between both devices is represented by a special icon that shows a link over the traditional Wi-Fi symbol. On the iPhone, the connection is represented by a blinking blue bar that shows that a Personal Hotspot is active.

When a tethered Mac or iPad switches to a Wi-Fi connection or is no longer connected to an iPhone, Instant Hotspot automatically turns off. This feature is designed to save battery on the iPhone, because tethering can use a significant amount of battery life.

Troubleshooting

While we had few issues with Instant Hotspot, several members of our forum have had more inconsistent results. Several people have had to try logging out and back into iCloud on their devices, turning Wi-Fi off and then back on, or even rebooting their devices. These steps may help if you are having trouble turning using Instant Hotspot.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
76 months ago
how to run out of cellular bandwidth on a mac with OS X Yosemite
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
76 months ago

I think a necessary step is missing from this guide.

On iPhone: Settings > Personal Hotspot > On


No.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
76 months ago

I dont understand why cover the name of the phone and network?

Because it's my real name (ok part of) and my real nickname. :o Kind of personal.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
76 months ago
Well this is just stupid and pointless if I have to pay extra just to use this feature with my carrier. If it eats up my bandwidth, so be it because that is my decision, but it should not cost extra to use it.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
76 months ago

It works as reliably as al the Handoff features, which is, not at all - probably 30% of the time.

I've seen it appear. It doesn't appear right now though.

I'll usually get Handoff working between iPhone and Macbook and not the other way around. Then i'll reboot the Macbook and it'll work from Macbook to iPhone and not the other round.

It's one of the buggiest features Apple has have made...a theme of the times lately unfortunately.

When's the Yosemite update coming?

I agree, I was pulling my hair out trying to get this to work consistently last night. At first my mac found the iPhone hotspot and tethered with no problems. Then I tried with my iPad and it would find the hotspot but not connect. Then it wouldn't find it at all. Then the mac couldn't connect to it anymore either, but still find it. Then the iPad could connect but the mac still couldn't. Tried resetting all 3 devices and resetting network settings. It just doesn't work consistently.

The big irony is of course that it was supposed to replace the old hotspot method and make it less clunckly and more streamlined, yet it's done the exact opposite, for me anyway.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
76 months ago

not live in sovjet USA where you get shafted by the cell carriers...

seriously, needing to pay the carrier to allow hot spots is something totally unheard of in europe...


Welcome to 'Merica, the land of liberals, infinite taxes, and idiocracy. If I have a 4GB data plan, then I should not have to pay extra to use it for a hotspot.


EDIT: After trying what was stated in the above article, I got it to work when trying the "Troubleshooting" tips. I first connected to the same WiFi network, turned on Bluetooth, then I signed out of iCloud on both my iPhone and my MBP. Then I restarted each device, and then signed back into iCloud and it "just work[ed]." If you click on the WiFi icon in the menu bar and don't see it at first, wait a few seconds and it will appear (If everything else is done correctly).

Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Leaker Jon Prosser: Apple Watch and iPad Launching in September, iPhone 12 Event to Take Place in October

Wednesday August 12, 2020 4:31 pm PDT by
Apple last month confirmed that this year's iPhone 12 models will launch outside of their normal September timeframe and will be "available a few weeks later," which has led to speculation about when an event might be held. Leaker Jon Prosser, who sometimes shares accurate knowledge of Apple's plans, today said that Apple will hold its iPhone 12 event during the week of October 12, with...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Apple to Launch Bundled Subscription Services Called 'Apple One'

Thursday August 13, 2020 3:41 am PDT by
Apple will launch a new range of subscription service bundles called "Apple One" as soon as October, according to a new report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The series of bundles would allow customers to subscribe to several Apple digital services together. This is expected to result in a lower monthly price than when the services are subscribed to individually. Bloomberg reports that the...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1 With Fix for Storage Issue and Green Tinted Displays

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:31 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1, minor updates that come a month after the release of the iOS 13.6 update with Car Keys and Audio Apple News+ stories. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.6.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update. iOS 13.6.1 addresses an issue that could cause...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

Apple Removes Fortnite From App Store [Update: Epic Files Lawsuit Against Apple]

Thursday August 13, 2020 11:58 am PDT by
Just hours after Epic Games introduced a new direct payment option for Fortnite that skirts Apple's in-app purchase rules, Apple has pulled the Fortnite app from the App Store. Fortnite is no longer available for download on the iPhone or the iPad, and Apple provided a statement to MacRumors on Fortnite's removal:Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.6 Supplemental Update With Virtualization Bug Fix

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.6, with the update coming a month after the original launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.6. The ‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌ 10.15.6 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. According to Apple's release notes, the update fixes a problem that could cause...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...