How to use iOS 8’s Instant Hotspot to share iPhone’s data connection with your iPad


One of the major features of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite is Continuity, which includes a number of features and improvements that take iOS-Mac integration to a whole new level.

While OS X Yosemite is not out yet, some of the Continuity features also work well between an iPhone and iPad. One of those features is Instant Hotspot.

If you’ve used Personal Hotspot before, you know that using it can be annoying at times given the number of steps needed to do to turn the hotspot on to share your iPhone’s data connection with your iPad or Mac. You need to go to Settings, turn on Personal Hotspot, head to your Mac, search for the Hotspot in the Wi-Fi menu and then enter the password.

iOS 8’s Instant Hotspot makes this process a lot easier. As the name suggests, the process is now instant, requiring absolutely no configuration.

Note: This feature will work only if your carrier offers Personal Hotspot feature for free or you’ve subscribed for it.

How to use Instant Hotspot feature in iOS 8

Follow these simple instructions to use the Instant Hotspot feature to share your iPhone’s data connection with your iPad:

  • All you need to ensure is that your iPhone or iPad are logged into the same iCloud account.
  • So launch the Settings app, tap on iCloud, and ensure that both the devices are logged into the same iCloud account.
  • If you want to use to tether your iPad to your iPhone’s data connection, then launch the Settings app on your iPad. [Note: You don’t need to enable Personal Hotspot on your iPhone for this feature to work.]
  • Tap on Wi-Fi. You should see your iPhone under Personal Hotspot just like before. You will notice that it displays the Wi-Fi network without the lock, and also shows the signal strength and the battery life of your iPhone as you can see in the screenshot below, which is a nice touch.
  • Tap on it to start using your iPhone’s data connection on your iPad. You will notice that it won’t prompt you to enter a password to connect to the Wi-Fi network like the Personal Hotspot (reason why there is no lock symbol).
iOS 8 - Instant Hotspot

That’s it. As you can see, tethering to your iPhone’s cellular data connection just got a whole lot easier in iOS 8. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Note: This will work in a similar way on your Mac running OS X Yosemite whenever it is released.

Update: My initial assumption was that you need to enable Personal Hotspot on the iPhone for the feature to work, but that is not the case, so I’ve updated the post. Thanks everyone for pointing it out.

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  • abhi

    In 4s Ios 8 where is the hotshot options……I am using 1st time this option in ios8….. please help me…….

    • Mishra_meet

      For this you have to go settings>cellular>cellular data network and at last you see the personal hotspote fill the detail like APN , username , password after this you can Abel to see personal hotspot ..

      • Raj

        settings>cellular> after this, there no option that you mention above Cellular data network. please help me

  • Mishra_meet

    Can I use iPhone 4s wife and hotspot with my windows laptop at a same time ?

  • GG

    Keep your unlimited plan. There is a reason why they want you to switch on Family Data plan..
    Wait 2 or 3 yrs from now, data will be very expensive!

  • David Collier

    why should they mention that though?……… its nothing to do with apple the cost of using the feature, they are just making it available to all

  • Douglas

    I have the same problem with AT&T Unlimited Data Plan. What’s the big deal with Yosemite if I have to enable Hotspot on my Phone (which I can’t)?

  • DOug

    If I change my obsolete unlimited plan then start using data hotspots I will need to up increase my data plan therefore costing more.

  • danny

    I have an iPhone 6 and iPad Air. However, when I go to settings — wifi on my iPad, my iPhone is not listed. Only when I go back to iPhone and activate personal hotspot, then it shows up and automatically connects on my iPad. Same thing with my MBP. It’s not instant for me. How do I make it list on my wifi when my iPhone hotspot is not on and in my pocket?

  • Julian Gigola

    Great point Jason!

  • Sprint sucks

    Sprint…I never should have gone with them …so much money for so little data and the worst service ever….ask Asia how they can do it..:oh yea, they only care about ripping you off

  • Hans

    What it also fails to mention is that you need to turn on Bluetooth as well to be able to connect your iPad to your iPhone

  • prokoh

    I have the same issue too. I am unable to use the data on my iPad (I have a plan of 50GB with iPad), but it seems the only way to use it is the old method.

  • keishton

    does anyone know how to turn off the hotspot when youre done using it without touching your iphone other than to turn off the wifi on the ipad?

  • josh

    That’s false. Corporate discounts only discount the voice portion of the plan. I’ve worked for two major corporations and both were the same. Don’t make large generalizations when you don’t know the facts

  • Ken

    I got this site from a Google. Just to update if anyone gets here you just use Bluetooth to pair iPhone and iPad and you are on Cellular on your iPad