How to Get Your Mac Computer Online Using Your iPhone


You're on the road or in a train with loads of free time to get things done that require you to be online. You need your computer to get online, but you're not in a place that has wireless. Or you're in the car, so you keep missing hotspots from the local cable providers like Optimum or TimeWarner. Or you're on an Internet connection that suddenly goes dead or gets overcroweded. What to do? If you have a mac, here's how you can turn your iPhone into a modem so that you can get online.

Get to know this word: tethering. It's your new magic to being connected online all of the time (almost). Tethering is the ability to get your computer online through use of a mobile phone that is connected to the internet.

1. Sign up at your service provider (AT&T or Verizon) for the tethering service. It's been ranging between $15-$20/month for 2GB of data (that's a lot of data). AT&T is increasing the amount of data from 2GB to 4GB for select customers to stay competitive with Verizon. I know this because I got a random text from AT&T informing me that they were increasing my data for no charge. The data is what you send and receive online, like emails, pictures in emails, website pages, etc. Before you lock in, ask your provider to tell you how much data you've been using to make sure you're not about to blow yourself beyond 2GB and into a higher bill.

2. AT&T or Verizon may send you directions on how to activate. Follow those directions.

3. Once tethering is activated on your iPhone, go to "Settings" (the gray gears) > select "General" > select "Network" > click "Internet Tethering > and move the switch to "On".

4. Your iPhone may tell you that Bluetooth is Off. Select to "Turn on Bluetooth". Your phone is now ready to talk to you Mac.

5. Now you'll need to set your Mac up to look for and recognize your iPhone. Go to "System Preferences" (the gray gears) > under Hardware click "Bluetooth" > and click the little plus + sign to start the process to search for your iPhone. I have not included those directions, so you're on your own for this part.

6. Once your iPhone is set up as something that your Mac looks for and can connect to, you'll need to connect to it each time you want to tether, or to get online using your iPhone. So when you're doing this another time, like, the day after you set this up, you'll need to:

6a. Turn your Bluetooth on if it's not already. From the top right hand side of your screen, click on the little Bluetooth icon (two triangles on top of each other) and click it to "Bluetooth On". Under that selection, make sure your Mac is "Discoverable".

bluetooth icon on desktop

6b. Go to "System Preferences" > Bluetooth. This part always gets wacky for me, so it may for you as well. It may take several tries before it connects. From the Bluetooth window, select your iPhone on the left, and then on the right, click on the "Connected: No". Under the column on the left, you'll see a little gear with a down arrow on it. Click the gear, and select "Connect to Network". Sometimes, nothing may happen. I usually try about 20 different things, and then come back to this, and it works. So it may be a matter of time before it connects.

tethering your mac with your iphone

You are done. :)

In fact, I just wrote and published this article via my tethered connection.