How to Fix: MacBook Not Connecting to Hotspot

Written by Tijana - Reviewed by Tanja Gadgets / Apple Macbook

4 min read

Sharing your phone’s mobile data to your MacBook can surely come in handy when you’re out of town or have no access to Wi-Fi, but you have work to do.

At times, this type of Internet sharing works flawlessly, however, sometimes this can quickly become the most infuriating experience if your Mac is not connecting to a hotspot network.

Even if you have entered the correct password, and you’re using a network that supports tethering, you still might experience troubles.

If you’re having this particular issue - your MacBook failing to connect to a hotspot network, we have solutions. In this article, we’ll give you several different techniques for fixing this problem.

How do I get my MacBook to connect to a Personal Hotspot?

Before you start with the solutions we have provided for you, double-check whether your network provider allows Internet tethering. It often happens for some carriers to disable this feature on devices and Internet plans.

Method 1: Disconnecting other devices

Using Internet tethering has a limit as to how many devices can be connected at the same time. If too many devices are connected, this might be why you’re unable to connect your MacBook.

According to Apple, the limits vary from one device to another, as well as from one provider to another. However, the limit is usually between 3-5 devices.

Hence, disconnect at least one device, before trying to connect your laptop once again.

Method 2: Check the distance between the phone and the MacBook

When you’re tethering the Internet from your device, the distance plays a crucial role in the process. Make sure to bring your phone closer to your MacBook in order for the connection to be established, and for the connection to be stable.

The usually needed distance between the phone and the MacBook should be within 30 feet (10 meters).

Method 3: Turning the Hotspot Off and On again

This trick might sound really simple, but it’s proven to work. There might be some slight interference, which is causing your MacBook to be unable to connect to the tethered network.

  1. Open ‘Settings’, and in the Search Bar type in ‘Personal Hotspot’.
  2. Toggle the button next to ‘Allow Others to Join’ off and on again, and try to connect your MacBook after.

Note: This process can also be done from the Control Center, by swiping from the upper-right corner of the screen, instead of going to Settings > Personal Hotspot.

Method 4: Enabling Airplane Mode

If you’re using any iOS device - iPhone or iPad, turning on Airplane Mode might help resolve any personal hotspot connection issues or issues with Wi-Fi networks. This is helpful because it will help to restore the cellular data settings.

Hence, if the iPhone Wi-Fi hotspot is not functioning properly on your Mac, turn Airplane Mode on and off.

Method 5: Enabling Handoff on both devices

Apple’s ‘Handoff’ feature allows you to connect your Mac to your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot without needing to type in the Wi-Fi password. To use this type of hotspot, go to ‘Settings’ to activate it.

On your iPhone:

  1. In the ‘Settings’ app, under ‘General’, tap on ‘AirPlay & Handoff’, and enable the ‘Handoff’ feature by toggling the button next to it.

On your Mac:

  1. Click on the Apple menu, ‘System Preferences’, and under ‘General’, check the ‘Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices’ option.

Note: Both devices need to be signed in to iCloud using the same Apple ID, you need to turn Bluetooth on both devices, and have Wi-Fi enabled, as well.

Method 6: Restarting both devices

If your Hotspot is not working after the previous fixing methods, you need to restart both devices. This will reboot their systems and will help to get rid of any temporary software glitches and bugs. Restart the devices and give them a couple of minutes before you try to reconnect the Hotspot.

Wrapping up

The methods mentioned above are the ones most commonly used to fix this particular issue. If you didn’t fix the issue, consider contacting Apple Support.