Is your PC having trouble connecting to the Personal Hotspot on your iPhone? Do you have no internet access even after establishing a connection? Or does it disconnect from the iPhone randomly? Compared to a Mac, using the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot on Windows can often result in a spotty experience.
Regardless, you can work your way through lots of troubleshooting methods when your iPhone hotspot is not working. Feel free to skip any of the fixes below that don’t apply to your situation.
Enable Personal Hotspot on iPhone
Personal Hotspot on the iPhone isn’t always active by default for non-Apple devices. If your computer can’t detect the iPhone’s hotspot over Wi-Fi, you must manually turn it on.
The fastest way is to open the Control Center by swiping down the screen’s top-right; if you use an iPhone with Touch ID, swipe up from the bottom instead. Then, long-press the Cellular icon and tap the Personal Hotspot icon to turn it on.
Your iPhone should show up within the available Wi-Fi hotspot list on your PC. Do not exit to the iPhone’s Control Center until you finish connecting to it.
Alternatively, you can go to Settings > Personal Hotspot on the iPhone. That should automatically make Personal Hotspot discoverable to your PC.
Enable/Disable Airplane Mode on iPhone and PC
If your PC doesn’t detect your iPhone’s hotspot, try enabling and then disabling Airplane Mode on both the iPhone and the PC. Usually, that should help get rid of any minor connectivity issues preventing your iPhone from broadcasting the hotspot or your PC from detecting it.
The option to toggle Airplane Mode on/off is present on the Control Center and Notification Center of your iPhone and PC, respectively.
Restart iPhone and PC
Airplane Mode aside, restarting your iPhone and PC is another way to fix odd Wi-Fi and hotspot-related issues. If you haven’t done that already, do it now before moving on with the rest of the fixes.
Forget iPhone Personal Hotspot on PC
If you’ve previously connected to the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot on Windows, then make your PC ‘forget’ it. In most cases, that should help Windows detect it again.
Open the Start menu and go to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Manage known networks. Then, pick your iPhone from the list of available networks and select Forget.
Re-enable the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot and open your PC’s Wi-Fi menu to see if it shows up within it. If it does, enter your password (which you can find under Settings > Personal Hotspot) and make the connection.
Change Personal Hotspot Password on iPhone
Is your PC refusing to accept the password you enter while attempting to join the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot? Go to Settings > Personal Hotspot > Wi-Fi Password and change it to something else.
Make sure not to include any non-ASCII characters in the password since that can also prevent Windows from connecting to your iPhone’s hotspot.
Change iPhone Name
Don’t discount the fact that if your iPhone hotspot is not working you may simply be picking the wrong iPhone to connect to. Try changing the iPhone’s name to something more recognizable by going to Settings > General > About > Name.
Run Network and Internet Troubleshooters on PC
If you continue to have issues connecting to your iPhone’s hotspot, use the built-in Network Adapter troubleshooter to detect and fix problems network-related on your computer. If you can establish a connection but have other issues (such as not being able to access the internet), run the Internet Connections troubleshooter instead.
You can find both troubleshooters listed under Start > Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional Troubleshooters.
Disable Low Power Mode on iPhone
Do you have Low Power Mode enabled on your iPhone? It limits various iOS functionalities to conserve power and may end up stopping Personal Hotspot from working correctly.
Go to Settings > Battery, turn off the switch next to Low Battery Mode, and see if that helps.
Flush DNS Cache on PC
If you can connect your computer to the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot but can’t access the internet, flush the DNS (Domain Name System) cache on the PC. To do that, open a Command Prompt console (type cmd into the Start menu and select Open) and run the following command:
Disable Low Data Mode on iPhone
Your iPhone’s Low Data Mode restricts cellular data usage. Although it doesn’t impact the Personal Hotspot directly, it’s always a good idea to disable it if you keep running into frequent disconnection problems. Go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options to turn off Low Data Mode.
Update Wireless Network Adapter
If you continue to keep experiencing issues with the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot not working, you should look into updating the wireless network adapter drivers on your PC.
Right-click the Start button, select Device Manager, and expand the Network Adapters section to figure out its make and model. Then, try searching the manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers and install them.
Alternatively, you can use a driver updater tool to get the latest hardware drivers for your PC.
Update iOS and Windows
Outdated versions of iOS and Windows can cause all sorts of issues. If you haven’t recently updated the system software on your iPhone and PC, try doing that now.
Go to Settings > General > Software Update and select Download and Install to install the latest iOS updates.
Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Check for Updates and install all pending updates. Additionally, install any hardware driver updates under View optional updates.
Reset Network Settings on iPhone and PC
Resetting the network settings on your iPhone and PC can also help resolve connectivity-related issues caused by corrupt configurations. You will lose any saved Wi-Fi networks and VPN settings after the reset, so be prepared to spend time setting everything from scratch after that.
Reset Network Settings on iPhone
Go to Settings > General > Reset and select Reset Network Settings.
Reset Network Settings on PC
Go to Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Status > Network reset and select Reset now. For a complete walkthrough, check out how to reset network settings on a PC.
Connect Over Bluetooth or USB
If you still have issues joining or using the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot, try establishing a Bluetooth or USB connection instead. You can then access the internet on your PC just like you’d over Wi-Fi.
Connect Using Bluetooth
1. Go to Start > Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices.
2. Select Add Bluetooth or other device and select your iPhone.
3. Tap Pair and Connect on your iPhone and PC, respectively.
4. Select the Bluetooth icon on the PC’s system tray and choose the Join a Personal Area Network option.
5. Right-click your iPhone and select Connect using > Access point.
Connect via USB
1. Download and install iTunes (if you haven’t already) on your PC.
2. Open iTunes. Then, connect your iPhone and Trust your computer.
3. Open the Ethernet menu on your PC’s system tray and connect to your iPhone.
Note: You don’t have to open iTunes to use your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot subsequently.
Start Using the Personal Hotspot on Your PC
Personal Hotspot connectivity between the iPhone and PC isn’t the smoothest, but most of the fixes and tips above should improve the overall experience. If you know of anything else that can help, do share in the comments section below.