How To Turn Your Android Smartphone Into A Mobile Hotspot

by Scott Lewis on July 24, 2013

Why This is Wirefly BUZZworthy

In situations where you need a secure internet connection and no safe, public WiFi is available, a mobile hotspot can feel like a lifesaver.  You can create a personal mobile hotspot with your Android smartphone or with a separate mobile hotspot device, also called a MiFi or Jetpack, to connect multiple WiFi-capable devices to the internet through a cellular connection.

In today's connected world of tablets, laptops, e-readers, and handheld game systems, having all of the information on the internet readily available at a moment's notice is expected. Most internet-ready devices connect through a WiFi connection at work, home, or through a public hotspot at places like your favorite local coffee house.

Your Android smartphone can come in handy when you want or need to connect devices to the internet when a conventional WiFi connection is not available.  Most Android smartphones running version 2.2 or later give you the ability to create a mobile hotspot using its connection to the cellular network.

Having access to the internet can be extremely handy when traveling on business or with your family. On long car rides, kids can stream movies to a tablet. You can use a laptop to check in at the office while waiting at the airport.

Like the internet itself, the opportunities and uses for a mobile hotspot are boundless.

What You Need to Know Before You Start

Before you turn your Android smartphone into a mobile hotspot, make sure to check with your carrier to ensure your current rate plan allows you to use the hotspot feature in your phone.  Using your smartphone as a hotspot will drain your battery faster than normal so keep an eye on your battery life or try to have it plugged in to a wall or car charger while using the hotspot feature.

The look and labels might be slightly different on your Android smartphone from those of the Samsung Galaxy S III we used to create this guide in the steps below, but they should be close enough to follow along.

Let's Get Started

Settings Menu of Smartphone
1.

Turn On The Hotspot Feature

To turn on the mobile hotspot feature on your Android smartphone, you need to open your app tray and access the phone settings menu. Now scroll down until you see the option for creating a mobile hotspot and select to turn it on.  When you turn on the hotspot feature, it will prompt you to turn off your phones connection to WiFi to conserve battery life.

Mobile Hotspot Menu
2.

Managing Your Hotspot

 You can manage all of the connected WiFi devices and security settings of your hotspot in this same menu.  Simply tap on the words "Mobile Hotspot" and it will bring up all of the options and settings available.  In here you will be able to give your hotspot a witty name, change the preset password to one you might remember, and change your security settings.

Mobile Hotspot Connected Devices
3.

Connecting To Your Mobile Hotspot

Now that your phone is acting as a mobile hotspot, find your smartphone's name on teh list of teh available WiFi networks on teh device you want to connect to the mobile hotspot.  This is just the same as you would do at home or to connect to a public WiFi network.  You will then be prompted to enter the password that you created in step 2.  If you ever forgot the password, you can always look it up again on your smartphone's Mobile Hotspot settings.

Takeaway

Having the ability to create a mobile hotspot anywhere gives you peace of mind that you can connect multiple devices to the internet when you need to in a secure way.  While you might not have an everyday need for this feature, when the time comes that you need it, you will be very happy that you already have it set up and ready to go.  If your smartphone doesn't have the ability to become a mobile hotspot or you wish to use a different device as the hotspot, you can choose from standalone mobile hotspots like the Verizon Jetpack 5510L, the MiFi500LTE for Sprint, or the T-Mobile Sonic 2.0.  If you have a need for a mobile hotspot but want to control when you pay and how much you pay for it, take a look at the great options available on a prepaid mobile hotspot from Verizon Wireless, Virgin Mobile, and T-Mobile.