Here’s a complete step by step guide on how to enable and use the Instant Hotspot feature between a Mac running OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.1 running iPhone or iPad.

It’s long been possible to enable a Personal Hotspot connection on an iPhone or iPad, depending on the limitations of the network, and then connect a Mac to that hotspot to take advantage of the Internet connection. However, Instant Hotspot, a Continuity feature in Yosemite, makes the whole process a lot more convenient by abstracting away a layer of security and automating the process through the Wi-Fi settings. A shared iCloud account signed in on the mobile device and the Mac handles all relevant security. Enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and you’re good to go.

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Prerequisites

  • If you’re looking to take advantage of the latest Instant Hotspot feature than you’ll need an iPhone or iPad with the latest iOS 8.1 firmware installed. Additionally, you’ll also need a Mac running OS X Yosemite.
  • You will also need to make sure that the data plan on your mobile device is handled by a network that allows Internet hotspot features. At the time of writing, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile in the United States allow this functionality with specific plans. Of course, mileage may vary depending on your individual location and plan.
  • Because security is handled by a common iCloud account, make sure you are signed into the same account on all devices that will be used.

Enable Instant Hotspot

Step 1: Make sure that Wi-Fi is enabled on your iPhone or iPad. This can be activated by navigating to Settings > Wi-Fi. Alternatively, you can also slide Control Center up from the bottom of the display and use the Wi-Fi quick toggle.

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Additionally, ensure that Wi-Fi is also turned on and ready to use on the Yosemite running Mac being used. Click on the Wi-Fi symbol in the Menu bar and then click on Turn Wi-Fi On.

Step 2: Turn on Bluetooth on the iOS device being used by navigating to Settings > Bluetooth.

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If it isn’t already, also enable Bluetooth on the Mac by heading to System Preferences > Bluetooth > Turn Bluetooth On.

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Step 3: On the Mac with Yosemite installed, click the Wi-Fi symbol that appears in the Menu Bar. This provides access to available wireless networks and common Internet settings. If Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are switched on the iOS device, then a new Personal Hotspot will appear outlining the name of the device that it has recognized.

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Step 4: The iPhone or iPad that is broadcasting the hotspot will now indicate a successful connection with a “Personal Hotspot: 1 Connection” blue bar across the top of the device.

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Step 5: You should now be able to surf the Internet on the Yosemite running Mac by utilizing the broadcasted Internet connection from the iOS device.

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