Monthly Archives: December 2015

Overlooked and Underused: iPhone Personal Hotspot

Mac and iPhone—Best of Friends

 

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Tether this. On a PC, if you don’t have access to ethernet or Wi-Fi, you can “tether” your cell phone for internet access—if your phone and data plan support it, and if you can figure out the configuration. You set it up with a bunch of steps, using Bluetooth or a USB cable, Windows, and phone configuration settings, and hopefully, it works. The real “road warriors” out there know this and may use it, but for most people? Meh. Too much trouble. (I used to tether a Blackberry. Maybe it’s easier for you Windows folks now. I hope so, but it doesn’t matter to me—because I use a Mac!)

In the Apple world, we expect a little more… Think about it. You guys are “tethered” to the Internet like you’re being tied up or something. iPhones come with “Personal Hotspot” capability, and it’s another one of those overlooked and underused, convenient, “personal” features that makes me want to exclaim, “THERE! See? THAT’S why I use a Mac!!”


Sometimes I wonder if this “personal stuff” is Apple’s snarky revenge for the late-to-the-party IBM PC, that usurped the name “Personal” Computer, and then danced around with a lampshade on its head screaming, “Look at me! Look at me!” for the next 30 years, while the Mac tried to get attention by standing in the corner, being cool, and drawing pictures.


My iPhone is in my backpack. To get to the internet, I don’t have to touch it; I don’t have to see it! It appears on the Mac Wi-Fi menu as a “Personal Hotspot” choice (see screenshot). And get this, incredibly, my iPhone “Personal Hotspot” is actually “Off“. (Check this on your iPhone: Launch Settings > Personal Hotspot.) It’s “Off”, but my Mac and iPhone are pals, so my Mac puts the iPhone on the list, and even displays signal strength (Yellow Arrow) and battery level (Blue arrow). If I select “Christo’s iPhone 6” from the Mac Wi-Fi menu, the “Personal Hotspot” on the iPhone switches to “On“. The secret here is that my devices share the same iCloud account. Cool right? Will it turn it back “Off” too? Of course! After connecting, a “Disconnect from Christo’s iPhone 6” item appears on the menu. As long as I choose that, the “Personal Hotspot” turns “Off“.

Here’s an important tip: Remember to “Disconnect..” if you just close the lid on your MacBook, your iPhone continues to act like a Wi-Fi router, burning battery and cellular data like a FIEND!! So remember to Disconnect first! Why doesn’t Apple just make it turn off as soon as you shut the lid on your MacBook? They could, but remember, you might not be the only one using the Personal HotSpot!

It’s your business if you get “tethered” or get “Personal”.  I know what I like, and to TechWite, this Personal Hotspot functionality has been well thought out and sensibly integrated, end-to-end. And, as I’ve been saying for a long time, “…that’s the difference!”


Would you like to hear more? Sometime soon TechWite will write again about: “Mac and iPhone—Best of Friends”.
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