Using your smartphone as a hotspot while on the move is much safer than using random public networks. And with more affordable (5G or 4G) data plans, it’s actually not as expensive as it was back in the day. Especially for some light work on your Windows laptop or Mac when out and about. Sadly, some iPhone users just couldn’t make it work for no apparent reason. We run into a bunch of reports claiming that the computer won’t connect to the iPhone hotspot. Users tried a variety of solutions provided online but to no avail. Luckily, we have a few suggestions for you and you can find them below.
Table of contents:
- Restart both devices
- Forget the Network on your laptop and try again
- Change Hotspot settings on your iPhone
- Run the Network Troubleshooter on your Windows PC
- Update or reinstall network drivers on your computer
- Reset Network Settings on your iPhone
- Try USB Tethering
Windows laptop won’t connect to iPhone Personal Hotspot
If your Windows laptop won’t connect to your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot, restart both devices. Also, forget the network and reconnect again. On your laptop, run the network troubleshooter and update Network drivers. Finally, you can reset network settings on your iPhone or use USB Tethering to share the cellular data network from your iPhone to your computer.
1. Restart both devices
A quick restart of all included devices usually helps in scenarios like this. So, restart your iPhone and Windows laptop or desktop computer first. Enable Personal Hotspot again and try connecting your laptop. Also, check with your carrier if your data plan allows Personal Hotspot usage. On some data plans and under certain terms, you can’t use cellular data for Personal Hotspot — just for your iPhone.
If that does nothing and you still can’t see the network or can’t connect, try forgetting the network on your Windows and entering the password again to reconnect.
2. Forget the Network on your laptop and try again
One of the most commonly recommended solutions is to simply forget the network and then connect again with your password. That seemingly fixed the problem for most users although many still had to do some extra work to make the computer connect to iPhone.
Here’s how to forget the iPhone’s hotspot network and reconnect again:
- On your laptop/PC, click on the network icon in the taskbar.
- Right-click on the Hotspot network and click Forget.
- Connect again and enter the password when prompted.
3. Change Hotspot settings on your iPhone
Now, you can also tweak various Personal Hotspot settings on your iPhone in order to reduce possible reasons for the issue at hand. The first thing that comes to mind is to set a different (ideally, more simple) Wi-Fi password.
To change the Hotspot Wi-Fi password, open Settings > Cellular Data and enable Cellular Data. After that, select Personal Hotspot, and tap on Wi-Fi Password. After you change the password, tap Done, and then forget the network on your laptop/PC as explained above. Connect again by entering the new password for the iPhone SSID.
Also on newer iPhone devices (the iPhone 12 series and later), you should choose the Maximize Compatibility option in Hotspot Settings to switch to 2.4GHz wireless band over the default, 5GHz.
That aside, try disabling and re-enabling Cellular Data. Also, you can enable Airplane mode for a minute or so, and disable it. Remove the SIM card and place it in again. If none of those made any changes whatsoever, make sure to update your iPhone to the latest iOS version.
4. Run the Network Troubleshooter on your Windows PC
Now, let’s move to two troubleshooting steps that concern your Windows PC or laptop. The first thing you can try is running the built-in Network Troubleshooter from the system settings. This procedure will automatically reset your network adapter and check for possible issues.
Here’s how to run the Network Troubleshooter on your Windows PC:
- Press the Windows Key + I to open Settings.
- Select System and then click Troubleshoot.
- Click on Additional Troubleshooters or Other Troubleshooters.
- Choose the Network Connection and Run it. You can also run the Network Adapter troubleshooter.
Of course, make sure that Wi-Fi is not disabled on your laptop as there are often physical buttons or function keys that allow you to disable Wi-Fi. In case this did nothing, you should definitely check your network drivers.
5. Update or reinstall network drivers on your computer
The second most prominently recommended solution that we found online. It seems that the computer won’t connect to iPhone Hotspot because of the outdated network drivers. And, although Windows 10 and Windows 11 provide the latest driver automatically through Windows Update, the ideal solution for this is to find the OEM’s support website and download network drivers there. These are usually the best fit but users opt-in for the driver that’s provided by Windows Update most of the time. A more convenient way to be sure but not the right one. Still, first, try updating the network driver and, if that fails, move to install the official one.
Here’s how to update your Network drivers on your Windows PC:
- Right-click on the Start menu and open Device Manager.
- Expand the Network adapters.
- Right-click on the Network adapter. You’ll see a list of WAN Miniports and, possibly, VPN clients. Ignore them because they are of no importance at the moment. Focus on the Network adapter (usually Broadcom or Atheros)
- Choose Update driver from the contextual menu.
- Now, you can search locally for newer drivers or use Windows Update to get a new one.
Alternatively, you can uninstall the driver from the list of devices and, as we said, install the one provided by the device manufacturer.
6. Reset Network Settings on your iPhone
Some users advise Resetting iPhone Network Settings as it seemingly fixed the issue for them. We can’t say with certainty if this will help and if it’s worth it considering that this action deletes all your saved networks. Still, it’s worth a try. Especially if you got to this point and still can’t make your computer connect to the iPhone Hotspot network.
Here’s how to reset Network Settings on your iPhone:
- Open Settings.
- Tap General.
- Select Transfer or Reset iPhone.
- Choose Reset.
- Tap Reset Network Settings and confirm.
7. Try USB Tethering or Bluetooth
Finally, you can try using USB Tethering via iTunes client. All you need to do is download the latest iTunes client for Windows 10 or Windows 11 and install it on your PC. After that, connect your iPhone to your laptop via the lighting cable. Start iTunes and sign in with your Apple ID. Make sure to use the same account you use on your iPhone and tap Trust This Computer when prompted. If you enable Personal Hotspot on your iPhone, the network will be automatically shared with your laptop. To ensure that, disconnect from other Wi-Fi networks.
And, with that said, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts with us and other readers. Do you have any alternative solutions to recommend? Tell us in the comments below.