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In preparation for an upcoming workshop I’m teaching, I was going through all the technology I would be using to make sure everything was working as it should. I planned on setting up a personal hotspot with my iPhone to allow the workshop participants access to some files I will be using (in case there wasn’t Internet access in the room). However, when I went to Settings > General > Cellular > Personal Hotspot I could not create one. I got a pop-up saying to call AT&T?! I know my mobile share plans includes the ability to set up a personal hotspot and I have used it before, so I began troubleshooting. My approach is to first search to see if anyone else has had the same problem. After much searching I finally found the answer buried inside an AT&T user forum where user NV_Lady gave the solution.

Since it was so hard to find, I decided to publish the answer here. Here’s what to do.

  1. Got to Settings > FaceTime and scroll down to the bottom.
  2. Turn Use Cellular Data to off
  3. Turn your phone off. This is important as otherwise this solution does not work.
  4. Turn the phone back on.
  5. Go to Settings > General > Cellular > Personal Hotspot and switch it on.
  6. In my case, I was able to go back to FaceTime and turn Use Cellular Date back on and it did not recreate the personal hotspot problem.
  7. Check that Personal Hotspot now appears in Settings beneath WiFi and Bluetooth.

Everything should work now and if the problem ever recurs, repeat these steps. I’m not entirely sure what is going on and it would be interesting to know if the problem is in Apple’s iOS 6.1.2 or with AT&T, but this solution worked for me.


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48 Responses to Is Your iPhone Personal Hotspot Not Working? Try This Solution!

  1. mishran says:

    thank you man

  2. Chandonal says:

    dear all i also have the same problem, and the bellow is a few step to solve:>
    1-Go to setting >Cellular>Cellular Data Network>CELLULAR DATA (APN_____Enter your network access name Ex: beeline gprs or metfone gprs…..) and than scroll down until you see the word PERSONAL HOSPOT in this step you will see APN and than you just enter network access name like and Ex. above.
    2-You can go back to Cellular with ON option and you will see Personal Hospot appear with Off and than you just turn in back ON. Now you can share your internet to your friends..

  3. C. D. DeLoatch says:

    Thanks so much. For me, it was the opposite solution. My FaceTime was turned off, and when I turned it back on (iPhone 4) I was able to connect fully to internet with my Samsung Laptop, instead of getting ‘limited access yellow triangle.”

    I appreciate it so much, I will link back to your page from my Pinterest Computer Support Board.

  4. thanks for the tips. It works.

  5. Yadu says:

    Dear Ed, Im using Ipad Mini with BSNL 3g (India). It was wonderful to see the personal hotspot option appearing on the screen just after the reboot. but the option was available for a couple of seconds and again vanished. Can u help me out?

    • Ed Vawter says:

      Unfortunately solving individual problems on iPads and iPhones remotely is very difficult and ever carrier has different rules concerning the use of hotspots. I’d recommend getting a hold of someone their locally with your carrier to see if they can help you. Again sorry I can’t be of more help.

  6. Nina says:

    I have an IPhone 4 operating on 7.1.2. It is thru the Verizon Prepaid plan. I have tried all the suggestions offered and still cannot get the hotspot option to appear. Amy help would be appreciated.

  7. Eric says:

    P.s want to clarify that you don’t suck the whole missing crab stuff you know..

  8. Eric says:

    It just don’t work on my 5s 7.1.2 and I have a sprint I got my ipone new out of the box.. Tried everything Word for Word just did not work for me sucks…

  9. EVE says:

    It still wouldnt work for me. Im using a 4s, ios 7.1. I’ve tried it like this, setting> cellular> turn facetime off> restart phone. I’ve tried it twice but my hotspot still would not come up on my macbook.

  10. says:

    Amazing, thx!

    July 2014, iPhone 5s, verizon, iOS 7.1 (settings-> cellular -> FaceTime off, then restart).

    • Luke Huang says:

      Yes, it works. After I updated my T-Mobile iPhone 5S a few weeks ago the personal hotspot stopped working. After trying this trick, it works like a champ. What’s the connection between FaceTime and Hotspot?

  11. We’ve been a gaggle of volunteers and cracking open a fresh program in this online community. Your blog provided us information to function about. You’ve done your formidable work as well as our own total area could be pleased to you.

  12. Vinny says:

    Wow! It’s so weird that this works but it just does! The Personal Hotspot slider re-appeared on my main settings page right after the restart. Thanks for posting this Ed!

  13. Balraj says:

    Hotspot not been set up for amaysim. When i try to set up a personal hotspot on iphone 4s on ios7.1 it does not work but on my friends phone that is google nexus it works

    • Ed Vawter says:

      Hi Balraj. Hotspots depend on your agreement with your carrier. Many don’t allow a personal hotspot unless you pay them extra or have it included in your package. The personal hotspot does work under iOS 7.1 on a iPhone (I use the 5s).

      • David says:

        I installed an att go sim card into my iphone 4, this does come with a hot spot, hard to believe 2.5 gb unlimited everything else. I now use my wireless ipad while traveling, face time, dish anywhere . Can’t beat the price at 60.00 plus 3.95 tax and NO fees.

  14. B says:

    Ed!!!!!! Your a LEGEND!!!!!! Saved me at least 3 hours at the Vodaphone Store. Really hope I can reciprocate the favor one day.. Cheers ..

    • Ed Vawter says:

      Glad I could be of help and thanks for that comment. All I ever ask of folks who tell me stuff like this is to pay it forward. Next time you have a chance to help someone out, think about this and just do it. They’ll probably be as happy as you are now.

  15. Firozkhan says:


    I struggled a lot with LIMITED ACCESS notice on my win7 laptop when tethering my iPhone 4. No any positive result after trying all the tricks found at various websites. Finally, i found the solution. I was thinking that there is some problem with my laptop but actually the problem was with phone. Below are the steps,

    Go to,

    1. Setting:- Mobile:- Mobile Data Network:- Personal Hotspot:- APN

    Insert proper APN here (Depends on your network) In my case, it is BSNL India so i have entered “bsnlnet”.

    And you are done.


  16. Nalin says:

    Thanks a lot.
    My personal hotspot is back again

  17. Love your great ideas on how to get my iPhone tethering/hotspot working again ! Thank you !! Lynne

  18. Ammar says:

    I have a prepaid AT&T goPhone plan and an iPhone 5S with v7.0.4 firmware. I am unable to activate the hotspot, it keeps asking me to call or visit AT&T site. The same sim card installed on my Note II works well and I can create a hotspot and tether my connection to all my devices!
    It seems Apple is collaborating quite well with the carriers to prevent us using our phones the way we need to!
    Any other solution to this?
    many thanks to all.

  19. Andrew says:

    Hi I recently had an iPhone 5c (ios7) that had the option for personal hotspot and it worked fine but then I had to exchange it for another one because the phone became faulty and would not accept any nano cards so after receiving a new iPhone it did not have the option for personal hotspot so I upgraded it to ios7 again as I thought this would solve it being my first apple product but I still have not got the option for personal hotspot I’ve tried every method but the option does not exist whatsoever I’ve searched through every setting sub menu but can’t find nothing that even relates to the hotspot function any help would be much appreciated thanks in advance

    • Ed Vawter says:

      Hi Andrew. I’m not sure what the problem may be but if you had it previously on your cellular plan then you should still have it (unless something changed on your plan). It’s in a different place in iOS7; in Settings > Cellular and then right underneath Data Roaming is the option to turn Personal Hotspot on. If that doesn’t work then Id suggest making an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar and see if they can figure it out.

  20. Ravi says:

    Thanx man..!!
    This worked.. 🙂

  21. Suzie says:

    Trying to get personal hotspot on my iPhone 5 but it’s not even on my phone?

    • Ed Vawter says:

      Hi Suzie. The personal hotspots functionality is controlled by your cellular provider. It may not be included with your plan. Check with your provider. If you are running iOS 6 it should be located in Settings in the top section right underneath Bluetooth

  22. […] one solution from a user… […]

  23. Iesha Hopkins says:

    It still dont work and I got a iPhone 3g

  24. Sam says:

    I found it!! Plug your iPhone into your laptop let iTunes come up then in your phone turn hotspot on and she should connect. Think it runs net directly through the iPhone chord into the laptop so it’s more of a router connection as opposed to wireless… Still very simple and should defs work fellas

  25. Diana Hardaker says:

    Doesn’t work for me. No FaceTime on this phone. And switching off mobile data disables off Personal Hotspot entirely

    • Ed Vawter says:

      Hi Diana. Thanks for taking the time to reply. Sorry it didn’t work for you. Which iPhone are you using and what version of iOS? Without more info I can’t help you but if you’d like to contact me offline vie email I’ll be glad to try and help you. I can do one on one training if you’d like. You can contact me for more information.

  26. Frank Anderson says:

    This worked! Thank you!

  27. Chris says:

    Thanks this worked great however the cellular data option is found under. Settings > general > usage on my phone I never got ios6 as there going down hill 🙂

    • Ed Vawter says:

      Hi Chris. Thanks for that comment. I should have specified I was using iOS 6 in my post. You are correct for iOS 5.

      I don’t necessarily agree that things are going downhill. I personally liked the many new features in iOS 6 and have only had a couple of minor issues. Having been an Android user for many years I can tell you I think the situation is much worse on that side of the fence.

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