If you are on the road or in a location where there is no free Wi-Fi, you may be able to use your iPhone (or other smartphone) as a hot spot to connect with your computer.

It will use data from your cellphone plan, so make sure that you have sufficient data coverage on your plan so as not to run up a huge bill.

A hot spot means that you will use your computer to function like your wireless router or cable modem does at home, except that its connection to the internet uses its cellular phone capabilities rather than a wired connection like you would have at home.

A recent Cnet article I received via email explains how to connect your Mac laptop to an iPhone or iPad with cellular.

But actually, your iPhone can also be used to connect to a Windows computer or a non-cellular iPad or tablet.

I have used this method to connect with my Windows laptop.

First, you need to make sure your iPhone or iPad is running IOS 8.1 or newer, and it needs to be a fairly recent model, specifically an iPhone 5 or newer.

iPad Pro, Air or Mini will all work; a standard iPad needs to be fourth generation or newer.

To get started setting up your hot spot, go into your iPhone’s Settings and tap Cellular.

A few lines down, tap Personal Hotspot.

The next screen will give you instructions how to connect in one of three ways: 1) Wi-Fi, 2) Bluetooth, or 3) USB using a cable.

Which one you choose will depend on the capabilities of your computer(s) or other devices that you want to connect.

For example, if you want to connect a noncellular iPad to your hot spot, you will need to use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

If your computer doesn’t have Wi-Fi capability (but it probably does) or if the Wi-Fi connection doesn’t work, and if you have the same cable that you charge your phone with, you can use the USB capability.

If you need to connect multiple devices, that should be done using Wi-Fi. Follow the instructions on the screen.

If you opt to use Wi-Fi capability, it will require you to use the Wi-Fi password shown on your screen.

If you don’t like the torturous random password that it provides for you, you can tap the password and change or replace it.

Recently, I had thought that my Wi-Fi connectivity with my iPhone was not working, but I found out it was because a space existed at the end of the password that was impossible to see. Changing the password allowed me to easily connect wirelessly to my iPhone.

To get connected, from your computer, look for your phones SSID (e.g. sally’s iPhone) and choose it. Then enter the password when prompted.

After a brief pause, it will connect. Other people will not be able to connect to your device unless they know your password, so it is relatively secure.

Carol Sabbar is the director of computer services at Carthage College. Send email to csabbar@yahoo.com.

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