What is tethering? Discover how to turn your phone into a mobile hotspot

Did you know you can tether with BT Mobile and share your internet connection with other devices?

BT Mobile has a great feature you might not know about that makes your phone even more useful – tethering.

Tethering is when you turn your phone into a personal hotspot, so you can get online using other devices.

[Read more: How to boost your mobile phone signal]

For instance you could use it to connect a laptop or tablet to the internet when you are away from home or don’t have a wi-fi connection, or you could share your connection with family and friends, allowing them to go online.

How to set up tethering on your phone

Tethering is easy to enable, the set-up process varies slightly depending on which operating system your phone runs.

Android: Go to the Settings menu. Look for Network & Internet – Hotspot & tethering and switch on ‘Portable Wi-Fi hotspot.’

You can customise your settings by tapping ‘Set up Wi-Fi hotspot.’ The name of the your hotspot will be filled in, but you can change this and choose a password. Click 'Save' when you are happy. Give the name and password to people you want to share your connection with.

Some manufacturers such as LG and Samsung have their own Android phone interface, so settings may vary. Look for ‘Tethering’ or ‘Mobile hotspot’ in the menu.

iPhone: For an iPhone look for the ‘Personal Hotspot’ option in the Settings menu. Find out how to set up tethering on an iPhone.

Windows Phone: Head to the Settings menu and tap ‘Internet Sharing’. Turn the slider next to Sharing ‘On’ and under Share over select Wi-fi. Give your phone a name and set up a password.

To get online using your phone’s internet connection, activate wi-fi on the device, look for your phone and enter your password.

How to turn off tethering

Tethering uses data, so make sure you turn it off when you’ve finished to avoid using up your allowance or getting an unexpected bill.

Android: Go to the Settings menu. Look for Network & Internet – Hotspot & tethering and switch on ‘Portable Wi-Fi hotspot.’

Apple: Look for the Personal Hotspot option. Find out about tethering on an iPhone

Windows Phone: In the Settings menu go to System – Internet Sharing and flick the sider to ‘Off.’

Tethering: Things to be aware of

Tethering uses your phone’s mobile data connection. If you have a relatively small data allowance – for instance 500MB - and use it to tether, you will run out of data more quickly than normal.

Go over your data allowance, and you will be charged and could get a larger bill than normal. Avoid this by setting up a monthly spend cap. This means if you go over your allowance, you’ll know exactly what the maximum bill will be, and won’t be hit with any unexpected bills. Whether or not you set a spend cap you’ll get a text when you are close to hitting the cap and when you hit it.

BT Mobile sets a spend cap of £40, which you can increase or decrease. Set your spend caps by logging into: BT.com/mymobiles

If your mobile data allowance is larger, such as BT Mobile’s 15GB tariff, exceeding it will be less of a concern, but it’s still worth using the BT Mobile app to check your allowance. Read more in our article: Managing your BT Mobile account: How to take control of your mobile plan.

Find out more at bt.com/tethering.