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How to: Setup and Use Mobile Hotspot [Beginners' Guide]

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One of the most important features to Android smartphone owners, especially for those who travel regularly or want to take full advantage of high-speed LTE networks, is mobile hotspot. It’s also called “tethering,” but carriers have done their best to move away from that word for the most part and onto “hotspot” which is much more marketing friendly. With a mobile hotspot, you can turn your phone into an on-the-go WiFi router for your other WiFi enabled devices to connect to. No longer are you stuck with fingers crossed, hoping that you next location has free WiFi or a password available. With your phone, and hotspot enabled, you can be connected from anywhere. 

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to mobile hotspot, though. Your carrier typically provides a hotspot service at an additional charge, but there are also free ways to get your phone to tether, however, it typically requires rooting your phone and voiding its warranty. This tutorial is for the built-in hotspot service that can be activated through your carrier.

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Instructions:

1.  From your main home screen, head into Settings.
2.  In the first section, you may see an option for Hotspot under WiFi and Bluetooth. Tap on it.

*If you do not see Hotspot from the main Settings screen, tap on the “More” button. You should see an option on the next screen that says “Tethering and mobile hotspot” or something along those lines.

3.  From there, you’ll find shortcuts to change all sorts of settings.
4.  You’ll want to enter “Mobile Hotspot settings” to at least find out the name of the network you’ll be creating.
5.  From this menu you’ll also be able to enable a password, change the network type, etc.
6.  Once you have it setup, all you need to do is activate it.

*On most phones, there will be a check box at the main Mobile Hotspot settings screen.

7.  Once activated, your phone will add a running notification that shows hotspot status.

*If you have not yet activated the service through our carrier, you will likely be prompted to do so at this point.

8.  It’ll also notify you as connections are made to your hotspot network.
9.  Once it shows that it’s live, you can jump on your laptop or other WiFi device.
10.  You connect just like you would to your home WiFi network, in your WiFi device’s WiFi settings.
11.  Enjoy your mobile internet!

Presented by Norton 360™ Multi-Device. Protect your new computers, smartphones, and tablets with Norton 360™  Multi-Device.

  • gabe1989

    ever since the ICS update from verizon my droid bionic’s hotspot has been f*cked. constant problems establishing a connection with my laptop and i can’t adjust any of the settings. it just says “unfortunately, settings has stopped”

  • Savan Ghetiya

    step 1: download 1-click easy tether
    step 2: F U verizon !

  • antinorm

    What hotspot app (or ROM) is that? I haven’t seen any that support hiding the SSID like that.

  • mmoreimi

    Are you guys happy with your data speeds on the connected device while tethered? I can do a speed test on my phone’s LTE as is and it’s ridiculously fast. Once i tether my laptop or tablet, it’s only a fraction of what i get in the speed test. and i use the same speed test app on my tablet that i use on my phone. Secondly, do you think VZW’s hotspot app produces different speeds apposed to Wifi Tether app we all love? Thanks!!!

  • cybergoobr

    Just called verizon to ask about a fee activating this feature. They do charge if your using an older plan. Its free if your using one of their “new, share everything” plans, which does cost more in my case.

  • mcdonsco

    I’ve been using hotspot via root for years now but its never, ever been reliable. About 50% of the time the device connected to and using the hotspot shows its connected but can’t transfer anything even though the phone is showing a solid 4g connection.

    Never been able to get it to work 100% of the time. And its not just my particular phone because I’ve had several phones in the last few years (at least 6-7), and this has been a problem on every one of them.

    Anyone else experience this, or am I just that unlucky?

  • NorCalGuy

    Step 1 root
    Step 2 never pay for tethering

    • KG

      Step 3 F U Verizon
      Step 4 Profit

      • michael arazan

        FoxFi–no root needed

        oh and FU Vzw

  • http://twitter.com/CJ_Matthews Matthew M

    Has anybody here ever gotten in trouble for tethering while on a Verizion unlimited plan without paying for it?

    • T4rd

      Not that I’ve ever heard or experienced from doing it myself since I got my OG Droid over 3 years ago. I’m pretty sure they don’t care (for now). I’ve seen a few people use over 100+ GBs without any penalties or acknowledgments whatsoever.

  • http://twitter.com/brandner Tony Brandner

    Similar but different – any one know how to create a LAN between devices, separate from data access? For example, let’s say my faimly is travelling in the mountains without data access, but we want to connect multiple Android devices together (for shared media, Minecraft, etc). I’ve been playing with PeerDeviceNet, but it’s not quite as simple as I expected. Any thoughts?

  • http://twitter.com/panther90 Sam Oerly

    Since anyone that is regularly on here at Droid Life already knows all about mobile hotspot I am assuming this was a “write an article about anything” because it is sponsored by Norton 360.

  • kris

    You also need a password to enter hot spot. HTC devices use ten zeros.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jeremygross60 Jeremy Gross

      i tried that once, didnt work

  • Crow

    I should’ve said – there is no ADDITIONAL charge for mobile hotspot on Verizon 4G

  • Crow

    Mobile hotspot is always free on Verizon 4G, by law… http://www.fcc.gov/document/verizon-wireless-pay-125-million-settle-investigation

    • Lunkman

      yeah, I thought it was free now as well- or does this not apply to those of us who still have unlimited w/Verizon? I had been using Foxfi but haven’t needed it in a while, and have since had the JB update to by Razr…of course I’ve read Foxfi doesn’t worth with JB, though haven’t tried myself- so can I simply use the Mobile Hotspot app?.

      • JoshGroff

        IIRC, it’s only free on tiered plans.

      • BigWormBigPerm

        I have unlimited as well on Verizon, with JB on Galaxy Nexus unrooted…Foxfi no longer works but I use Fattin Hot Spot for free and have no problems

    • Tim242

      Only on tiered, shared plans.

      • JoshGroff

        “In addition, the company recently revised its service offerings such that consumers on usage-based pricing plans may tether, using any application, without paying an additional fee.” It’s for all tiered plans.

    • http://twitter.com/BriCo84 Brian Cohen

      Not free for unlimited data users

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=75200646 Stephen Cox

    I prefer to make my hotspot SSID “FBI Surveillance Van 12″ so it freaks out all the gullible idiots.

    • Tim242

      I see that sometimes. I just roll my eyes.

      • http://twitter.com/BriCo84 Brian Cohen

        I go with “virus”

        • ArrowCool

          The best I’ve seen is “Everyday I’m Buffering”

    • Raven

      One of my new neighbors has been running a “FBI Surveillance Van” wifi. Really makes me want to dust off my black hat and commence to sniffing. At the very least, I have been planning on going war walking to identify the house.

    • normmcgarry

      I’m a fan of “W32.Sasser.Worm.”

    • S2556

      My home wifi has been “RCMP_SURVEILLANCE_VAN” for a while now (RCMP because I live in Canada) Has gotten me a few laughs for sure.

  • Tim242

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.erez.hotspot activates this built in carrier hotspot without the plan, or root. Works on most phones.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Mithmal Michael Thomas Maliszewski Jr.

      Just tried it. Wont work on my maxx phone. Keeps telling me to call verizon to activate.

  • Mallahet

    “If you have not yet activated the service through our carrier, you will likely be prompted to do so at this point.”

    Wait, Droid-Life has its own cell network?? What’s your coverage map look like? And do you allow pay-as-you-go contracts?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1532400060 Logan Jinks

    Since I’ve rooted and ROMed my GNex I haven’t had to worry about VZW charging me for a “Hotspot” feature, but I am suspicious if they are throttling me after I start. Anyway I used to use two apps on my phone before rooting. One was PDA Net which required a usb connection to your laptop and a desktop client. The other was an app called FoxFi. Both worked fantastically and I highly recommend them for those who are too unsure about rooting and don’t want to pay extra for the data you already are using.

    • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

      Foxfi works great however it is now a paid app (there is a free version but it has a time / data limit). As for the throttling I don’t think Verizon does anything unless you are an EXTREME data user (I mean like 300+GB) because I am 2 weeks into the billing cycle and just crossed the 50gb mark while my speeds are still blazing fast!

      • rafael

        Is Foxfi working with 4.2.2? On gnex Verizon’s i515?

      • http://www.facebook.com/Mithmal Michael Thomas Maliszewski Jr.

        Fox Fi/PDA Net+ will not work with JB! Atleast not with my maxx!

  • r0lct

    Didn’t realize these were all collected under one web page by going to Tips/Beginers Guide. Knowing that I’ll forward the main Guide page to new people who needs the help.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roy.harrigan Roy Harrigan

    Is there a work around for paying the carrier?