Turn Your iPad into a Mobile Hotspot

iPad HotspotIf you are fortunate enough to have a third generation iPad with Wi-Fi plus Cellular, you have the potential to provide Internet to your arsenal of devices using the cellular data connection on your tablet. This can be very helpful when you happen to be somewhere without a reliable public Wi-Fi connection or for those moments you are in motion (like as the passenger in a moving automobile).

Many of us have been taking advantage of this feature on our post 3GS iPhone but for those unfamiliar there are a few things to consider. Unfortunately, details aren’t always easy to find and tend to be even more difficult to understand.

If you subscribe to AT&T for your iPad cellular data connection, you are finally in luck! AT&T just announced a new data sharing plan available on August 23 that includes using your iPad as a mobile hotspot. Unfortunately, this feature requires a subscription to their upper-end 5GB data plan, but chances are good you may need it anyway if you have multiple devices taking advantage of it. The other catch with this new plan is that to subscribe, you have to have an activated smartphone on it as well.

The good news for those using Verizon, is it is already an option. In fact, you can share the data allowance from your Verizon 4G LTE network connection with up to 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices and not incur any additional charges (beyond your current subscription fees).

For those without the mobile hotspot option (or those on AT&T and not wanting to pay for it), jailbreaking could do the trick. Numerous software options exist, but none with flawless reviews so your mileage may vary. The best solution may just be patience if you carrier is not yet on board with the option.

With many of the iPhone data plans already including tethering, some may ask why a person would want to use this feature on their iPad instead (or as well). The key reason is battery life; the iPad lasts a lot longer than the iPhone and most people need their phones to keep running for as long as possible between charges. Of course, this mobile hotspot feature is also common among friends and family members that want to share a single cellular plan across multiple Wi-Fi enabled devices.

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  • Downunder

    Why would a person want to share their iPad connection? For me it has nothing to do with battery life. Here’s a simple example that I am frequently frustrated with.
    I travel regularly overseas (New Zealand is one destination for example). A while ago I purchased a local NZ SIM card which gives me great data access through the GSM network but I can’t use it in my iPhone as its locked to my carrier in Australia. So I use it in my third gen iPad – great!
    The problem is I can’t share that connection with either my iPhone or my laptop. Starting to get the picture yet? If I want to open and work on a spreadsheet on my laptop whilst travelling, I can’t email it to my office (we use Microsoft Office at work – not my choice) as I have no connection. In fact I can’t get anything off my laptop onto the iPad in terms of documents as its isolated – no connection. I can’t even email it to myself.
    I’ve tried Bluetooth, wifi & cable tethering but there’s no solution.
    I have no idea why this should be such a big deal but it sounds like there’s a market waiting for an enterprising app developer…