Why is My Hotspot Not Working? How to Troubleshoot HotSpot Issues.
Expert tips to get your hotspot back up and running.
Most of us don’t rely on mobile hotspots as our internet daily drivers, but they’re incredibly useful when you get into a networking pinch. Whether you’re flipping on your mobile hotspot for the first time in months and forgot exactly how the thing works, or you’re a seasoned hotspot pro having an off day, we’re here to help.
Read on to learn the most common fixes and essential settings to get your hotspot humming.
Jump to: Make sure your hotspot power is on | Make sure you connect to your hotspot | Switch your hotspot to 2.4 GHz | Turn off battery saving mode on your phone | Stay close to your hotspot | Eliminate Wi-Fi obstructions and interference | Make sure you’re not out of data | Update everything | Restart everything | Related articles | FAQ
- Make sure your hotspot power is on
- Make sure you connect to your hotspot
- Switch your hotspot to 2.4 GHz
- Turn off battery saving mode on your phone
- Stay close to your hotspot
- Eliminate Wi-Fi obstructions and interference
- Make sure you’re not out of data
- Update everything
- Restart everything
- Related articles
Make sure your hotspot power is on
This may seem like a no-brainer, but to save time, check that your hotspot is actually on. See below for how to do this on iOS and Android phones and tablets.
Turn on a Wi-Fi hotspot on an iPhone or iPad
Step 1: Open the settings app.
Step 2: Tap Personal Hotspot. If you don’t see Personal hotspot in your settings menu, tap Cellular.
Step 3: Toggle on Allow Others to Join. Your hotspot is now active and ready to connect to your Wi-Fi devices.
Turn on a Wi-Fi hotspot on Android phones and tablets
- Pull your quick settings menu down and tap the hotspot icon.
Step 1: Drag your notification menu down and tap the cog wheel icon in the upper right to open your device settings.
Step 2: Tap Connections and then tap Mobile hotspot & tethering.
Step 3: Toggle Mobile hotspot on.
Your hotspot will now show as a Wi-Fi network that your wireless devices can connect to.
Make sure you connect to your hotspot and not another Wi-Fi network
Chances are, your devices connect to your familiar Wi-Fi networks automatically. This automation is usually a handy feature but can cause confusion when your internet connection goes down.
Even when your router is disconnected from the internet, it’s still broadcasting Wi-Fi unless it’s unplugged. Your devices will still auto-connect to your home router, even if your internet connection is down.
What’s that mean for you? In order to connect to your hotspot, you have to do it manually in your device’s Wi-Fi settings.
Switch your hotspot to 2.4 GHz for older devices
Newer devices work with 5 Ghz Wi-Fi signals to increase speed, but older devices may be incompatible with a 5 Ghz signal. The good news is it’s easy to switch your phone’s hotspot to the 2.4 GHz frequency band, which is more compatible with older devices.
Switch to 2.4 GHz on iPhone
Step 1: Open Settings and tap personal hotspot.
Step 2: Toggle on Maximize compatibility.
Switch to 2.4 GHz on Android
Step 1: Open Settings and tap Hotspot & tethering.
Step 2: Tap Wi-Fi hotspot.
Step 3: Tap Hotspot settings.
Step 4: Tap AP band and select 2.4 G.
Turn off battery saving mode on your phone
You should turn off low power mode when using your phone as a mobile hotspot, as it can interfere with connectivity.
Turn off low power mode on iPhone
Step 1: Open Settings and tap Battery.
Step 2: Toggle off low power mode.
Turn off low power mode on Android phones and tablets
Step 1: Open Settings, scroll down, and tap Battery.
Step 2: Toggle off Power saving mode.
Stay close to the hotspot
You don’t want to stray too far from your hotspot, especially if it’s powered by your phone, as it may not have the best range. Generally, it’s best to stay within 15 feet of your hotspot, or simply keep it right next to the device you’re using.
Eliminate Wi-Fi obstructions and interference
Place your hotspot in an open and elevated location to avoid Wi-Fi obstructions. Try to maintain an uninterrupted line of sight between the hotspot and your device(s) and avoid covering the hotspot. Lastly, stay away from Wi-Fi interference caused by certain electronic devices (microwaves, garage door openers, baby monitors, etc.) and other Wi-Fi networks. It may also be best to turn off any routers sharing the same space.
Make sure you’re not out of data
Using a mobile hotspot requires a data plan from a cell carrier, whether you’re using your phone or a dedicated hotspot device. If you run out of data, your hotspot may stop working altogether. Additionally, some wireless plans cut off mobile hotspot use or slow hotspot speeds once you use a certain amount of data, even on a plan that advertises unlimited data. You should be able to locate these details in the fine print of your wireless contract.
Device OS updates often change networking configurations which, and if ignored, can cause various issues, including broadcasting and receiving hotspot signals. It’s good tech housekeeping to keep your device’s software updated, and it’s especially important if you’re encountering connectivity issues. It’s also a crucial part of maintaining your home network’s security.
Restart your phone and Wi-Fi device. Wi-Fi can get finicky after switching between several Wi-Fi networks dozens of times. Your device may just need a reboot to flush out the glitches. It works often, and it’s worth a try.
Author - Austin Aguirre
Austin worked as a broadband technician installing and troubleshooting countless home internet networks for some of the largest ISPs in the U.S. He became a freelance writer in 2020 specializing in software guides. After graduating with a BS in technical communication from Arizona State University, he joined the team at HighSpeedInternet.com where he focuses on home network improvement and troubleshooting.