How to Use Your Smartphone as a Mobile Hotspot
Mobile Phone & Internet Blog | MATE | 11 October 2023
If you’ve ever found yourself without a reliable Wi-Fi network signal, you know how frustrating it can be. Whether you’re travelling on holiday, working remotely, or just trying to get your daily tasks completed, going without a reliable Wi-Fi connection can cause some serious issues.
This is where mobile hotspotting comes in. By using your mobile phone as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, you can connect your smart devices to the internet via your phone and without the need for Wi-Fi.
In this blog, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about setting up your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot—including how to set up a wireless hotspot, how you can keep yourself safe and secure when using a hotspot, and how to get the most out of your mobile hotspot.
What is a Mobile Hotspot?
A mobile wireless hotspot is a feature on most smartphones that allows you to share your phone’s data connection with other devices. Think of it as turning your phone into a mini Wi-Fi router. This can be a convenient feature when you find yourself without a Wi-Fi network connection but need access to the internet.
Whether you’re connecting a desktop, laptop, tablet, eReader or another phone, a mobile hotspot can ensure your smart devices are never without an internet connection, so long as your phone has a strong and reliable signal.
For example, let’s say you and your friends are on a road trip and stay overnight at a holiday park with no available Wi-Fi network. By using your smartphone as a mobile hotspot, you can still make sure your smart devices have a connection to the internet—allowing you to stream a movie, download a new read to your eReader before bed, and book accommodation for the next night through your laptop (making sure to find a place that offers Wi-Fi).
Setting Up Your Mobile Hotspot
Setting up a mobile hotspot is a straightforward process, regardless of whether you’re an Android or iOS user. Let’s break it down step by step for both platforms.
Android Phones Hotspot Activation
The process below is applicable to most Android phones, although specific steps and options may vary slightly depending on the device’s manufacturer and software version.
- Open your Android phone’s ‘Settings’ app.
- Navigate to ‘Network & Internet’ or ‘Connections.’
- Tap on ‘Hotspot & Tethering.’
- Choose ‘Wi-Fi Hotspot’ and toggle it on.
- Set a secure password to prevent unauthorised access.
- Connect your other devices to the hotspot using the Wi-Fi settings and the password you’ve set.
iOS Phones Hotspot Activation
- Open ‘Settings’ on your iPhone.
- Tap on ‘Personal Hotspot.’
- Toggle on ‘Allow Others to Join.’
- Set a Wi-Fi password to ensure a secure connection.
- On your other devices, select your iPhone’s name from the list of available Wi-Fi networks and enter the password.
Maximising Your Wi-Fi Hotspot Efficiency
Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots are incredibly convenient and can provide internet access to your smart devices even when you find yourself without a Wi-Fi network connection. However, while they have plenty of benefits, setting up your phone as a temporary mobile hotspot can drain your phone’s battery and use up a lot of data if not managed properly.
Here are just a couple of simple and easy tips to maximise your phone’s hotspot efficiency.
Monitor your data usage to avoid overages
It’s easy to lose track of how much data your mobile device is using, especially when multiple devices are connected. Make sure to regularly check your data consumption to avoid unexpected charges. Most phones have built-in features that allow you to set data warnings and limits, allowing you to effectively monitor your usage and avoid unexpected surprises.
Disconnect devices that aren’t in use
Every device connected to your hotspot consumes data, even if it’s just in the background. To maximise the efficiency of your hotspot and avoid going over your data limit, ensure you disconnect any devices that aren’t actively using the internet.
Reduce the number of simultaneous connections
The more devices connected to your mobile hotspot, the slower your internet speed might become. If you notice any lag, consider disconnecting one or more devices when you have multiple, ongoing connections.
Use a charger while the hotspot is active to preserve battery life
Using your phone as a hotspot can be battery-intensive. If possible, it’s a good idea to plug your phone into a charger while using it as a hotspot, especially if you plan on hotspotting for an extended period. If you’re on the move and anticipate using your phone as a hotspot, consider investing in a portable charger or power bank to act as a backup.
Optimise Hotspot Settings
Check your phone’s hotspot settings to see if there are certain elements you can adjust. Some phones allow you to adjust and reduce the broadcast range, which can save battery life and ensure a more stable connection for closer devices.
Secure Your Hotspot
Always set a strong password for your hotspot to prevent unauthorised access. This not only keeps your data safe but also ensures that unknown devices don’t consume your data allowance.
Secure and Safe Hotspotting
When using a mobile hotspot, remember to take precautions to protect against unauthorised access from unknown users. Follow these steps to improve your security when using your phone as a mobile hotspot:
- Set a strong password
Your password is the first line of defence against unauthorised access. Never underestimate the importance and necessity of a strong password.
- Change your password regularly
Just like you’d change your email or bank account password periodically, do the same for your hotspot. This reduces the chances of someone gaining prolonged access.
- Avoid sharing sensitive information
When using a mobile hotspot, especially in public places, be cautious about the type of information you’re transmitting. Try to avoid accessing bank accounts, entering credit card details, or transmitting other sensitive information unless necessary.
- Enable WPA or WPA2 encryption
Most modern phones offer WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2 encryption for hotspots. Ensure it’s enabled to add an extra layer of security.
- Limit the number of connected devices
If your phone allows, set a limit on the number of devices that can connect to your hotspot. This not only conserves data but also reduces potential unauthorised access.
- Turn off hotspot when not in use
It’s a simple step but an effective one. If you’re not using your hotspot, turn it off. This prevents any unwanted attempts to connect.
- Stay updated
Ensure your phone’s software and security patches are up-to-date. Manufacturers often release updates that fix known vulnerabilities, which improve your phone’s security.
Troubleshooting Common Hotspot Issues
Mobile hotspots are a fantastic tool, but like all technology, they can sometimes run into issues. Whether it’s a connectivity problem, slow speeds, or other glitches, troubleshooting can often resolve the problem without much hassle. Here’s a more detailed guide to help you navigate through common hotspot challenges:
Check network coverage
Ensure you’re in an area with strong network coverage. Weak or patchy signals can affect the performance of your hotspot. If you can, try moving closer to the nearest cell tower—moving often helps you find a better signal if needed.
Mobile data limit check
If you’ve been using your hotspot extensively, there’s a possibility you may have reached your data limit. Check your data usage in your phone’s settings or through your service provider’s app or website. If you’ve exceeded your limit, you might experience reduced speeds or a complete halt in service.
Check connected devices
If too many devices are connected to your hotspot, it can slow down the connection. Limit the number of devices or disconnect those that aren’t in use to maximise the efficiency of your mobile hotspot.
Reset network settings
If you’re still facing issues, consider resetting your network settings. However, just be aware that this will erase all saved Wi-Fi networks and paired Bluetooth devices. Always back up important data before doing a reset.
Restart your phone
It might sound cliché, but turning your phone off and then back on can often sort out a number of issues. Restarting your phone refreshes your device’s system and can sometimes restore a lost connection.
Contact your service provider
If you’ve tried all the above steps and are still facing issues, it might be time to reach out to your service provider. They can provide insights into any ongoing network outages or specific issues related to your account. At MATE, all of our customers can enjoy 100% local Aussie support.
MATE: Your Go-to Telco for 4G and 5G Mobile Plans
The number of mobile internet users is growing every year. And as that number continues to increase, how we use our phones are constantly changing, too. That’s why, at MATE, we offer a range of 4G and 5G mobile plans designed to suit different lifestyles and budgets.
Every MATE mobile plan boasts generous banked data allowances, up to a whopping 1000GB, in addition to unlimited calls and texts. Plus, bundling your mobile with a MATE home internet plan can fetch you some cool savings.
MATE 4G Mobile Plans
- Good Mates: Ideal for those who stick to the basics like social media browsing and checking emails, or those who usually connect via Wi-Fi.
- Better Mates: Tailored for users who mostly use their phone for video calls as well as video and music streaming.
MATE 5G Mobile Plans
- Great Mates: A plan designed for the entertainment enthusiast. Whether it’s gaming, movie streaming, or jamming to your favourite tracks, this plan has got you covered.
- Best Mates: Perfect for those who love binge-watching on the go. It’s also a top pick for remote workers who need a reliable tethering option without always depending on Wi-Fi.
- Brilliant Mates: A powerhouse plan for the heavy user. Stream, download, upload, and tether with ease, thanks to ample data and speeds capped at 100mbps.
- Soul Mates: Our premium 5G plan for the ultimate digital nomad. Experience speeds of up to 250mbps and a massive data allowance to keep you connected wherever you are.
Making the Most of Your Mobile Hotspot
Using your phone as a mobile hotspot means that you can connect your smart devices to the internet just about anywhere. Without the need to constantly rely on a Wi-Fi signal, you have the freedom and flexibility to choose when and how you work, play and connect with others.
With the tips and insights shared in this guide, you should be ready to make the most of your mobile hotspot. You have all the info you need to safely and securely connect your smart devices to your mobile hotspot. Just keep a few important factors in mind, such as data usage and battery drain. Having this essential knowledge and information lets you make more informed choices when selecting or upgrading your mobile data plan or home nbn plan.
No more hunting for a Wi-Fi signal—the power’s back in your hands now that you know how to use your mobile phone as a hotspot.