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

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 17 Sep 2014


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.