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:
- I turned Bluetooth ON on both my iPhone and iPad.
- I activated Personal Hotspot on my iPhone.
- 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.