Personal Hotspot is one of those iOS features that seems to require a bit of finesse to work properly. When it works right, it turns my iPhone 4S into a mobile 3G connection for my Wi-Fi iPad 2, allowing me to take full advantage of my 6GB data plan with Koodo.
However, in my experience, there’s a bit of voodoo involved in getting my devices to actually connect to what my iPhone 4S is broadcasting. It can also be a little difficult to troubleshoot problems with Personal Hotspot because one of the main issues that people have is that Personal Hotspot option is actually missing from their Settings, and more often than not, search results on Google will highlight threads discussing the missing Hotspot option. I haven’t had that problem, so it has been particularly difficult to troubleshoot exactly what has been going on.
My Hotspot is easy to turn on, but it seems to require some very specific treatment to make sure it’s reliably detected by my other devices. I have tried resets, resetting network settings, turning Wi-Fi and the Hotspot on and off…but I still had trouble getting my MacBook Pro and iPad 2 to reliably see my 4S’ hotspot.
After a lot of tinkering, I’ve found that the key to working around spotty Personal Hotspot detection is turn the hotspot on and make sure you stay on that screen until your other devices connect. Do not move to any other screen before the status bar starts glowing blue (indicating a device is connected). If your your iPad later disconnects from the hotspot due to auto-sleep, just put it to sleep and wake it up, and it should automatically reconnect.