How to Connect an iPad to an iPhone Via Bluetooth Tethering

by Kammy Pow

Personal Hotspot is the iPhone feature that turns the phone into a portable router or mobile hotspot for users of Apple iOS devices who don't otherwise have access to Wi-Fi. This feature uses Bluetooth technology to establish connectivity. Bluetooth tethering is beneficial for its simplicity and its capacity to act as a hotspot for at least two iOS devices. The drawbacks revolve around bandwidth and cost. Bandwidth generally runs between 1 to 4 megabits per second (Mbps) depending on the cellular network. This pales in comparison to the 30 Mbps you get using a Wi-Fi connection. Also, most cellular carriers consider tethering features as a separate plan. Despite the drawbacks, Bluetooth tethering remains a good option for those who need ready access while traveling.

Step 1

Turn on the Personal Hotspot feature on the iPhone. Select "Settings," tap "General" and choose "Network." Tap "Personal Hotspot," or "Internet Tethering" for the iPhone 3G, and slide the switch to "ON." Tap "Turn on Wi-Fi" if the dialog box pops up and if you wish to enable tethering over Wi-Fi connections. Return to the General screen.

Step 2

Verify that the [Bluetooth](https://itstillworks.com/13579495/what-is-bluetooth) settings have been enabled. Slide the switch under Bluetooth to "On" if it is disabled. Exit the Settings application on the iPhone.

Step 3

Verify that the Bluetooth settings have been enabled on the iPad. Select "Settings." Tap the "General" icon on the left side of the screen and tap "Bluetooth" as it appears on the right side. Slide the switch to "On."

Step 4

Allow the iPad to scan for the Bluetooth-enabled iPhone. This may take more than one try. Tap the iPhone entry under the Device list when it appears to connect.

Verify that the six-digit PIN on both the iPad and iPhone are the same, and then tap "Pair" to initiate the connection. The devices are connected when a two-chain icon appears next to the status bar in the upper-left corner of the device screen.


  • If the iPad does not automatically connect after going into sleep mode, reconnect to the iPhone in the Settings application or check the Personal Hotspot connection on the iPhone.
  • Also, turn on Data Roaming under the Network section of the Settings application if you plan to use tethering outside your cellular coverage zone. Some plans do charge extra for roaming.


  • Depending on your cellular carrier, incoming or outgoing calls may interrupt your tethered connection. You can reconnect once your call has been completed.
  • Also, Personal Hotspot should not be used to replace Wi-Fi if a Wi-Fi connection already exists. Using Bluetooth exclusively might improve the battery life of your Apple device, but it could also result in additional charges should your data usage exceed your existing data limits.
  • Pairing through Bluetooth will not work if tethering is disabled.

Items you will need

  • Tethering plan with a cellular carrier (AT&T, Verizon or Sprint)
  • iOS 4.3 or higher installed on the iPad or iPhone 3G or higher

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