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September 9, 2011

Internet Tethering my iPhone to my MacBookAir - Lifesaver!

Yesterday our wireless internet stopped working. We subscribe to Rogers in Ontario Canada and every so often it conks out on us. Because I can’t easily blog or upload files to my websites using my iPhone or iPad, it’s a major inconvenience. I use my main computer (Windows) and my MacBookAir to write blog posts, upload files, check email and so on.

Usually I grumble and moan until the service starts working again but this time it’s been a full 24 hours with no wireless in sight. When I complained about the lack of internet on Facebook, friends jumped in with advice. One friend said I should try creating a personal hotspot with my iPhone so that I could work from my MacBookAir. I had no idea what she meant but I immediately googled it to find out. Boy did I get an awakening!

It seems my iPhone (3GS) has the capability to do internet tethering (aka personal hotspot on other phones). If my service provider allows it, I read that I could jump my iPhone (or iPad) 3G service to my MacBookAir (or even my Windows XP or Windows 7 computer). This sounded very cool!

So I started on my quest. It was super easy. Within 10 minutes I was online via 3G but on my MacBookAir. Phew, sigh of relief although I do have very limited data transfer sizes - only 1GB per month on my iPhone. But it’s better than nothing! I don’t want to go over as each GB extra costs about $40.00. But at least I can work offline, as I am doing for this blog post which I’m writing in Pages. Then I’ll connect via Internet Tethering from my iPhone and upload the post to the blogger platform.

Here’s how I did it:

In my iPhone, open SETTINGS

Go to GENERAL and choose NETWORK then INTERNET TETHERING. Turn Tethering ON

iPhone then provided me with two options  - tether via USB (plug iPhone into USB port of computer) or via Bluetooth.

I could not get the USB option to work. My iPhone tells me to plug my phone into my computer (done) the choose iPhone from the list of network services in my settings. Sound easy but I have no option for “iPhone”. I looked everywhere but no dice. After 15 minutes of frustration I decided to go Bluetooth.

Bluetooth was super easy. I turned on Bluetooth on my phone. When I went to pair my phone with my MacBookAir a security code popped up on my computer and my phone. I then told my MacBookAir that yes, the codes were identical and yes, I did want to pair the two devices together. The two devices were paired and I was able to function on my MacBookAir using my iPhone’s 3G service.

I did have to create a PAN (Personal Area Network) but it was not difficult at all, my computer walked me through it.

If you decide to try this, here’s one more tip. When I shut down and then went back online on my MacBookAir, the two devices could see each other but wouldn’t connect.

I kept getting a notice saying it was taking too long and to be sure both had bluetooth turned ON and that they were in range of each other. I knew that wasn’t the problem so I poked around on my MacBookAir until I finally discovered that inside the little icon for settings below the network choices in my settings,  was an option to join a specified network. In this case it was the PAN I’d previously created. It shows in the graphic as Administrator’s iPhone, right above my Jambox by Jawbone

I have mixed feelings - my wireless internet is still not functioning so that makes me stressed, frustrated and slightly worried. But at least I can connect occasionally via Internet tethering and that reduces some of my stress!

By the way if anyone knows how I can internet tether from my iPhone 3GS to my MacBookAir via USB, please let me in on the secret!


Claudia's Genealogy Blog said...

I did not know that could be done either. Ranks up there with magic for me....

Joan Miller (Luxegen) said...

I have noted that one can see other people's hotspots but without the password one isn't able to log in. (a good thing!). We were camping near Jasper this summer and I was sorting photos on my netbook as the day drew to a close. My iPhone and netbook kept detecting our neighbour's hotspot.

I hope you are back on line via your wireless soon.

Karen Batchelor said...

Thanks Lorine for this post. I'm a Mac user and have been wondering how to tether my Macbook to my mobile devices. Now with your help, I think I can make this work. Fingers crossed!