iPhone Hotspot Not Working? How to Fix iPhone Tethering
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Is your newly updated iPhone not working as well as it did under iOS 10? It’s not just app crashes and compatibility problems, network issues have surfaced too.

After spending a whole morning trying to get tethering working on my post-iOS 11 iPhone, I realized the issue was more widespread than I’d first thought. So if you’re having trouble, this guide is for you. (If you’re not familiar with tethering, start with our in-depth guide on how to use mobile internet on a PC Tethering: How to Connect Mobile Internet to Your PC or Laptop Tethering: How to Connect Mobile Internet to Your PC or Laptop With data tethering, you can use your mobile internet on your PC, laptop, or tablet anywhere. All you need is an Android phone. Read More .)

Today we’ll look at what you can do to get everything working again.

Make Sure Tethering Is Enabled

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but I noticed that straight after the update the Personal Hotspot menu under Settings > Mobile wasn’t accessible. In its place, I saw a button that said: “Set Up Personal Hotspot” which when tapped told me to contact my carrier.

So I went to my carrier’s support page and searched for the issue. The documentation told me to enable tethering I needed to send an SMS to a specific number. Once the update had come through, the menu item was restored but still inaccessible — with a perpetual pinwheel spinning alongside it.

ios 11 tethering personal hotspot errors

This is the first thing I’d recommend doing if things aren’t working as they should be. Make sure your carrier hasn’t changed their mind about tethering, or simply disabled the option on your account. Download any relevant apps or visit the support site and search for the issue.

If you’re convinced it’s a carrier issue at this stage, you might want to try contacting them directly. We’ll explore this option in a little more detail later in the article.

Power Cycle

It might be the biggest cliché in tech support, but turning your devices off and on again is often a quick way to fix a lingering issue. You can first try enabling Airplane Mode on your iPhone Everything You Need to Know About Airplane Mode for iPhone & iPad Everything You Need to Know About Airplane Mode for iPhone & iPad Does your phone charge faster in Airplane Mode? Will your alarm still work? Can you use Bluetooth? Here's what you need to know. Read More , waiting 10 seconds, then disabling it and trying again. You can also try power cycling your iPhone and any other devices you’re trying to connect.

ios 11 tethering personal hotspot errors

Older hardware can have serious problems with Bluetooth connection. I often have to resort to killing Bluetooth with a terminal command Bluetooth Not Available? Troubleshooting Mac Connectivity Issues Bluetooth Not Available? Troubleshooting Mac Connectivity Issues Devices won't pair, speakers don't work, or files won't transfer? Here's what to do when your Mac is having Bluetooth issues. Read More before I can get anything working.

Try a Different Connection Method

If you’re trying to connect via Wi-Fi, why not give Bluetooth a go? If that doesn’t work, a good ole USB connection is probably the most reliable method of tethering. With Personal Hotspot enabled under Settings > Mobile on your iPhone, head to network settings on the device you’re trying to connect.

ios 11 tethering personal hotspot errors

On a Mac, that’s Settings > Network. Look for the “iPhone USB” option and take note of the message. If the light is yellow and you’ve got a message about a self-assigned IP address with no internet connection, it looks like your problem is more complex than this.

Simply testing another device, like a friend’s tablet, will help you diagnose the issue further. If other devices connect just fine, you’ll know the issue is specific to your combination of hardware.

Reset Network Settings and iCloud Connection

Nobody likes resetting their iPhone’s settings, but in this instance, it’s probably worth a shot. Under Settings > General > Reset choose Reset Network Settings and wait for your iPhone to reboot. By doing this you’ll lose all your known Wi-Fi credentials, and you’ll have to give your device a name again under Settings > About.

This doesn’t only reset your Wi-Fi settings, but many of your carrier settings too so don’t worry if your iPhone takes a few moments to reconnect to the 3G/4G cellular network.

ios 11 tethering personal hotspot errors

The other solution I’ve seen many commenters suggest is to log out of your iCloud account under Settings > [your name] > Sign Out. I’m skeptical whether it really helps, but others report that their connection issues cleared up after signing out on their respective devices and signing back in again.

It’s got to be worth a go, just make sure you’ve got the relevant options checked under Settings > [your name] > iCloud so that your contacts, reminders and so on are all safely backed up. You’ll also need to re-enable iCloud Music Library Apple Music Deleted Your Library? Tips for When Music Disappears Apple Music Deleted Your Library? Tips for When Music Disappears Apple Music deleted your library? Songs you thought were safe in iCloud gone missing? Here's what you can do to recover and safeguard your collection. Read More under Settings > Music if you use it.

It Could Be a Carrier Problem

If you’re still having issues at this stage, the problem likely goes further than your hardware and software. This was the case with my iPhone 7 Plus, which would disable and re-enable Personal Hotspot at random intervals.

After four live chat sessions and about an hour of my time, support staff did something to my account (something iPhone-related, which had been disabled) and immediately Personal Hotspot started working again. I’ve not had any random deactivations since.

ios 11 tethering personal hotspot errors

In order to expedite the process, tell support that you’ve tried everything on the list above including power cycling, resetting network settings, and trying another device. Make sure your carrier hasn’t disabled tethering altogether, and let them know what your device is and what version of iOS you’re running (Settings > General > About).

Also have a look at ways to get Wi-Fi without an ISP How to Get Wi-Fi Without an Internet Service Provider: 5 Methods How to Get Wi-Fi Without an Internet Service Provider: 5 Methods Don't have a regular ISP? Don't worry, you can still go online wherever you are without an internet service provider. Read More for other ideas.

One Last Ditch Attempt

Assuming your carrier has cleared your account of any problems and there are no persistent network issues to blame, you’ve basically got one option left: reset your iPhone and set it up as a new device.

It’s not as bad as it sounds though:

  1. Back up your device with iTunes, making sure to “encrypt backup” to save your login credentials.
  2. With your iPhone connected to iTunes, select Restore iPhone… and follow the prompts — this will reinstall iOS as new How to Update Your iPhone: iOS, Apps, and Data Backups How to Update Your iPhone: iOS, Apps, and Data Backups Wondering how to update your iPhone? We show you how to update iOS, what to do beforehand, and how to update iPhone apps. Read More .
  3. Choose Set up as a new iPhone once the process has completed.
  4. Test Personal Hotspot under Settings > Mobile to see if it’s working.
  5. Restore your phone by heading to Settings > Reset > Erase and Content and Settings then plugging it into iTunes and restoring the backup you created earlier.

ios 11 tethering personal hotspot errors

Let Us Know How It Went

Did these tips help resolve your issue? If you are still having trouble after trying everything, it might be worth grilling your carrier again. If possible, borrow a SIM card from a friend and see if the problem persists. You can then threaten your carrier that you’ll walk unless they fix the issue — and nothing gets businesses moving like the threat losing out on your hard-earned money.

For more help, check out fixes for iPhone X issues 7 Most Annoying iPhone X Problems and How to Fix Issues 7 Most Annoying iPhone X Problems and How to Fix Issues Having iPhone X problems? We'll help you fix the most common iPhone X issues, including display problems and more. Read More  and our iPhone troubleshooting guide 15 Key iPhone Troubleshooting Tips for All iPhone Models 15 Key iPhone Troubleshooting Tips for All iPhone Models Having trouble with your iPhone? Here's our iPhone troubleshooting guide with fixes for all kinds of common iPhone issues. Read More .

Image Credit: Neirfys/Depositphotos

Explore more about: iOS 11, iPhone, Wi-Fi Tethering.

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  1. Chris
    June 13, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    Thank you for this step you mentioned : Reset Network Settings and iCloud Connection

    Worked like a charm!

  2. tjandra
    June 11, 2018 at 9:26 am

    hi, all is simple.. apparently i am having similar problem. Go to setting/ celuler/ celuler data option/ celuler data nerwork - on the APN type "internet" hope it will work

  3. Navya
    June 8, 2018 at 4:10 am

    Please try adding carrier in apn setting..i did it and it worked for me

  4. Jeoffrey
    December 19, 2017 at 7:39 am

    You don't talk about changing the iPhone name to change the SSID and change the password. It's works on some cases.

  5. Pehr Fahleson
    December 5, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Had the same issue on my iPad Pro, seems that the APN settings had been removed.
    Easy to fix, just check what the settings should be with your carrier, and enter them in Settings -> Mobile Data -> Mobile Data Options -> APN Settings. Make sure that you fill in all three setting blocks (Mobile Data, LTE Setup, and Personal Hotspot).

  6. Antonio
    November 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    iCloud reset worked for me, thanks.
    Network reset allow me to connect the iPad to iPhone tether, directly only, not using iCloud Personal Hotspot

  7. Heather
    October 23, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    I discovered that Cellular Data had been turned off in the Settings menu. Once I turned it back on, Personal Hotspot was available again. (iOS 11 on iPhone 6S)