Going without the internet when you need it for multiple devices can be frustrating. One common on-the-go option is to use a hotspot. Mobile hotspots on smartphones use the phone’s data connection to create an internet link or Wi-Fi connection that your other devices (and your friends or family) can share. That helps you get internet where you couldn’t use it before, such as on long trips, in rural areas, or in spots where you don’t want to pay or join crowded networks, like the airport or a stadium.
T-Mobile is one career that offers these hotspot options. If you’ve never tried a hotspot before or you’re coming over from an acquired service like Mint, you may not know how to set one up. Here’s everything you need to know.
Using a hotspot depletes battery power quickly. Plug your Android into a power source before you do this. Or, if you’re on the go, look into getting a portable power bank to keep your device charged when you can’t get to a wall outlet.
How to set up a mobile hotspot with T-Mobile on Android
Let’s start with Android phones. Check that you have the latest version of Android and a secure data connection before you begin. The rest of the steps shouldn’t take long, but if you don’t have a strong data connection, consider setting up a hotspot on another device.
- Go to your Android Settings.
- Select Connections.
- Choose Mobile Hotspot and Tethering. This may look slightly different across Android devices, but it should say something similar involving the word “hotspot.”
- Find the section for a mobile hotspot and select the toggle to turn it on.
- A notification appears showing the name of your hotspot, which is typically connected to the name of your Android phone. You’ll also see a default password to connect to this hotspot. Tap the notification to customize this part if the password is too easy or not memorable.
Now, you and your friends can open your other devices and scan Wi-Fi networks to look for the name of your new hotspot. Then, they’ll log in with the set password and can use it like any other Wi-Fi connection within limits. Don’t put too many devices on this connection, and don’t expect it to have the same speeds as other modern Wi-Fi networks.
This simple setup also works on laptops that have a data chip and T-Mobile, like a Samsung Galaxy Book or similar device, but people are more likely to have their phones handy. Just keep an eye on battery life and use your power adapter whenever possible so you don’t run out of juice at a key moment.
How to set up a mobile hotspot with T-Mobile on iOS devices
Let’s look at T-Mobile hotspots on iOS devices like an iPhone. Creating one is easy. These steps work when T-Mobile is your carrier and aren’t guaranteed for other carriers.
- Go to Settings.
- Scroll to find the option that says Personal Hotspot and select it.
- Turn on the hotspot and select Allow Others to Join.
- The To Connect Using Wi-Fi section shows your hotspot name and password. Here, you can select the password to customize it as you see fit.
- Your other devices can now find the hotspot and connect. The warnings mentioned above still apply.
For long-term use, get a hotspot device
If you plan to create a lot of mobile hotspots while on business trips, hiking across Europe, or another similar activity where you won’t have internet access, consider getting a dedicated hotspot device. These tap into your carrier’s data connection and act like a mini router wherever you go. They range from simple and relatively affordable to high-tech and expensive, like this Netgear model. For frequent hotspot use, this is much handier than relying on your phone and its limited battery life or proximity to an outlet.
Get on the internet when you need it
Personal hotspots like these are valuable when you can’t get internet another way or the nearby internet is too spotty or untrustworthy to join. They’re effective for a few nearby devices, and you don’t need anything extra to set one up. However, if you have a data plan with strict data caps or throttling after a certain amount of use, a mobile hotspot will eat through your data quickly. That’s why it’s best used on an unlimited plan. If you’re setting up a hotspot with a group of friends or coworkers, use a company plan or find someone who has unlimited data.
Do you have a limited data plan? If you do, it’s important that you keep tabs on your data use. It’s easy to check your data use on your Android device to make sure you aren’t exceeding your carrier’s limits. Then, if you find you’re using too much data, set up Android’s Data Saver mode to restrict apps from using data in the background.