HomeTechnologyNewsHow to turn your Mac into a Wi-Fi hotspot

How to turn your Mac into a Wi-Fi hotspot

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Josh Hendrickson / Instruction Geek

Set up Internet Sharing in System Settings > General > Sharing. Use the “i” button to select a source and destination connection, then turn on Internet Sharing and connect using a second device.

Your Mac can function as a wireless access point, allowing you to connect your other devices and share your Internet connection. It’s like connecting to your iPhone.

This is most useful if your MacBook or desktop Mac is connected to a wired network interface via Ethernet. You can connect your wireless devices to your Mac and share your wired Internet connection with them, almost as if your Mac were a wireless router.

Enable internet sharing and set up your hotspot

The Wi-Fi hotspot option is part of the sharing features of your Mac in macOS. You will find it in System Settings > General > Sharing.

(Click the Apple menu and select “System Settings” to open the System Settings window.)

Access macOS sharing preferences in the System Settings window

You will see an option for “Internet Sharing” in the list. Resist the urge to turn it on yet, as you’ll need to set everything up first.

Internet Sharing in the macOS Sharing menu

Now is the time to select the Internet connection that you want to share with the devices. Click the “i” information button next to Internet Sharing to see a list of available connections and destinations. Note that you cannot share a Wi-Fi connection to which you are already connected. If you want to share over Wi-Fi, you’ll need to share another type of connection instead.

For example, suppose your Mac is connected to the Internet through an Ethernet adapter. You would select “Ethernet Adapter” from the list at the top of the window and share that wired connection with “Wi-Fi” below. If you want to share your iPhone’s cellular Internet connection via a USB to Lightning cable, you can select “iPhone USB” at the top, then check “Wi-Fi” in the box below.

Share iPhone connection over Wi-Fi

Click the “Wi-Fi Options” button at the bottom of the window to set up your Wi-Fi hotspot. Select your preferred network name and the best Wi-Fi channel. Use the “Security” box to select “WPA2/WPA3 Personal” to maximize compatibility with older devices (you can also choose WPA3 only, which is more secure).

Create a Wi-Fi hotspot to share your connection

macOS won’t let you proceed if you don’t set a password here, so it’s impossible to create a Wi-Fi hotspot that anyone can connect to without a password.

Finally, go back to System Settings > General > Sharing and enable the “Internet Sharing” option in the list. Authorize the change with your fingerprint or admin password and your connection will be shared.

Turn on Internet Sharing in macOS

If you want to share a Wi-Fi connection

Your Mac’s Wi-Fi interface can connect to a Wi-Fi network or host its own network; you can only do one of these things at a time. This means that you cannot be connected to a Wi-Fi network and share that Wi-Fi network’s connection over Wi-Fi. Yes, you may sometimes want to do this, for example when you are staying at a hotel or other place that only allows you to connect one device to your Wi-Fi network.

Sharing a Wi-Fi network connection by creating another Wi-Fi network will require a separate physical network interface, such as the WiFi Nation AC600 Mini 802.11ac Dongle. This allows you to connect to a network with one adapter and then share through another.

external wifi adapter

To share your existing wireless network without an additional adapter, you will need to choose “Wi-Fi” as the source connection and share via another method. This could be to your iPhone via a cable with the “iPhone USB” option, via a Thunderbolt cable to another Mac (using “Thunderbolt bridge”), or via Ethernet.

Some older Mac models can create a Bluetooth PAN (Personal Area Network), but this option is absent on newer machines such as the Mac M1 and M2. These networks can take a little longer to connect, thanks to the Bluetooth pairing process, and can’t quite match Wi-Fi speeds, but they can be a bit lighter on your Mac’s battery life.

The Bluetooth PAN option in an earlier version of Mac OS X.

Troubleshooting Common Connection Sharing Issues

If you’re having trouble connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot you’ve created, remember that you can always go back to System Settings > General > Sharing and click the “i” next to Internet Sharing to access the “Wi-Fi Options” menu. -Fi”. . This allows you to reset your password, change the access point name, or downgrade the security protocol.

While you may prefer to always use a VPN, you should consider disabling your VPN if you’re having trouble connecting. You can always try to re-enable your VPN connection once any client device has connected.

If you’re using a wired connection to bridge the gap, try swapping your Ethernet or Lightning cable if things aren’t working as expected. Ethernet cables, in particular, can degrade as they age without showing any obvious signs, so it’s always good to have a few spares you can use for testing. If your Lightning cable is starting to fray, it’s probably time to throw it away.

RELATED: How to share a hotel’s single Wi-Fi connection with all your devices


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