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Reliably Tether Your iPad to Your iPhone via Bluetooth Personal Hotspot

I wrote about how to reliably use your Personal Hotspot over Wi-Fi, and then found out in a number of subsequent tries that I hadn’t provided a bulletproof solution. Wi-Fi tethering works most of the time, but there are still very strange and very stupid little instances where my iPad mini simply cannot see the network being broadcast by my iPhone 4S. As such, I’ve decided to give Bluetooth tethering a shot and – to my surprise – it’s really quite good!

Here’s how I got started:

  1. I turned Bluetooth ON on both my iPhone and iPad.
  2. I activated Personal Hotspot on my iPhone.
  3. From my iPad, I tapped on the name of my iPhone – “Ragart 4S” under the Devices list – to initiate pairing (the iPhone status bar turned blue to indicate it was tethered).

Bluetooth tethering is definitely slower – average speeds for Bluetooth range from 1-3 Mbps, whereas Wi-Fi tends to yield 5-7 Mbps – but I’m finding it more reliable to activate. It seems to drain less battery, as well. Once I’m done with tethering, I simply turn Bluetooth OFF on my iPhone.

When I want to tether again, I re-activate Bluetooth on my iPhone, then initiate the Bluetooth connection from my iPad (pairing from the iPhone isn’t possible). This has worked seamlessly every single time, and it has made the 6 GB data plan for my iPhone feel a lot more accessible – which is even more important to me now that I take the iPad mini with me everywhere.

I may still tether over Wi-Fi for higher speeds or for situations where I need to tether my iPad and MacBook simultaneously, but for most situations, Bluetooth will likely be my go-to protocol for tethering. If you like to set up tethering quickly and reliably while you’re out and about, I’d say Bluetooth is definitely the way to go.

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  • TheDarkside9013

    Would this work with iPod touch? Say, I get no service at my job…a CNC machine shop. In one spot, I get excellent service. I currently have Virgin mobil with the Motorola Triumph. No service whatsoever, except in one spot. I am thinking about switching to Straight Talk and putting it on my iPhone 3GS. By the off chance I get the same horrible reception, I can always put my iPhone at that spot, and teather to my iPod, as I have been with my Droid. Would this same rule still apply to iPods? My touch is on OS 4.3.1 (jailbroken) and my iPhone is on 6. Any suggestions?

    • Your iPod touch could be tethered to your iPhone’s data plan, yeah. All you have to do is see if your carrier and plan provide tethering without extra costs. The hardware you have will do the trick.

  • Dickstar

    Bitch, personal hotspot does not work for some people