Why Is My Hotspot Not Working? Android and Apple

Hotspot connectivity is highly convenient whether you use an Apple or Android device. But even though it can be convenient to have instant Wi-Fi connections wherever you go, the hotspot feature on your phone may sometimes go on the fritz.

If you aren’t sure why your hotspot isn’t working, read on. We’ll break down several potential problems that Android and Apple devices may run into, as well as fixes for those problems you can implement in a matter of minutes.

Your Internet Connection Isn’t Working

Whether you have an Android or Apple device, your Internet connection might not be working.

You can go into your phone’s settings app on both device types and ensure that all your cellular data options are turned on. Generally, your phone will tell you whether you are in an area with bad or slow Internet reception.

Remember, hotspots only work if your phone has access to the Internet in general. Once this is done, it can produce a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices to piggyback off of.

Similarly, if your Internet connection isn’t working because you’ve exceeded your mobile data plan’s limit for the month, you may not be able to use your hotspot (or, even if you can get it running, it may be useless).

How To Fix This Hotspot Issue

Fixing this issue is reasonably straightforward. Open your settings app as described above, then turn on your cellular data. If you are on a prepaid plan and have run out of cellular data, see if you can upgrade your plan by calling your cell plan provider.

If you can’t connect to the Internet because of your location, move out of the area and try setting your hotspot up again. If none of these methods work, move on to other potential problems.

The Wi-Fi of the Connected Device Isn’t Working

The problem may be with the Wi-Fi connection of the device you want to connect to your phone’s hotspot.

For example, if your device is working and you have hotspot cellular data to work with, but your friend’s laptop or cell phone won’t connect to the hotspot, it could be that the problem is on their end.

You can test whether this is the case by trying to connect your phone hotspot to another device, like an alternative phone or computer. If that works, the problem is definitely with the device you want to connect.

How To Fix

There are numerous potential reasons why this could be the case and just as many possible fixes.

For example, you can turn the Wi-Fi network setting on the to-be-connected device on and off again to see if that solves the issue. Or you can try a reboot for the phone — this works for Samsung and Apple iOS phones.

Depending on the root problem with your mobile network, you may have to take the device in for repairs, perform a software update to get the latest version of your software or reset network settings entirely.

This is much more likely if you are trying to connect an older laptop or desktop to your phone hotspot, as those older computers may not have up-to-date drivers that allow them to interface with modern smartphone hotspots.

You Don’t Have the WiFi Password

If you have a phone hotspot and it's password-protected, you'll need to look at the password and ensure that you've entered it correctly on the device you want to connect.

For example, you have your phone with a hotspot and want to connect your friend's phone to the hotspot.

If your friend enters the wrong password for the hotspot network, they won’t be able to connect, no matter what. The same is true if you want to connect to a local hotspot but don’t know the password to the wireless network.

How To Fix

The first troubleshooting fix is obvious: input the correct password for the personal hotspot connection. But what if that doesn’t solve the issue?

In that case, you can change the password on your hotspot. This may reset the device’s hotspot password driver enough that your friend can connect.

Make your hotspot password something simpler (although not easy to guess) so your friend doesn’t have as much chance of entering the wrong password by accident.

You’re Using Low Power Mode

On Android and Apple devices like iPhones, battery saver or low power mode may prevent anyone from using your phone's hotspot. That's because battery-saver mode limits your phone's nonessential functions to conserve electricity.

While this isn’t supposed to prevent you from starting or connecting to a hotspot, it can happen, particularly on Android phones.

How To Fix

Fixing this is similarly easy: turn the battery-saver mode off and see if you or your friend can connect to your phone's hotspot afterward.

If turning off battery-saver mode doesn’t solve the problem, consider recharging your phone to a higher power level. It may be that your phone won’t turn hotspot functionality back on until it has enough juice to run the operation entirely.

Remember, hotspots do take a lot of power.

Your Device Isn’t Paired With USB or Bluetooth

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t just have to connect to your phone’s hotspot using Wi-Fi. You can alternatively connect to your phone’s hotspot using Bluetooth or USB connections. If your Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t working, you might use these methods instead.

How To Fix

Apple and Android devices have different ways of connecting to USB or Bluetooth connections. In both cases, you need to open your Settings apps and find the alternative connections from the default Wi-Fi connections your phone may be trying to reach.

Your Software Update Is Causing Problems

Sometimes, software updates can cause issues with modern smartphones. Sometimes, this may prevent your hotspot from working correctly or even allow others to connect to your phone's hotspot.

This may be the case for your phone if none of the above fixes have worked.

How To Fix

Unfortunately, you can only fix this problem if you have an Android device. Android smartphones let you roll back software updates if they don't work or you don't like them.

You can do this by entering your phone's settings, going to the update section, and tapping Roll Back. Note that the exact process will depend on your phone and the Android OS version your phone runs on.

Automatic Hotspot Switching Is On

Some Android phones also have a feature called automatic hotspot switching. Your hotspot’s data connection may turn off if a device isn’t connected for a few minutes or more.

How To Fix

Fortunately, this is a pretty easy fix to get your hotspot connection up and running. Open up the Settings app on your Android device, then:

  • Tap Connections.
  • Tap Mobile Hotspot and Tethering.
  • Tap Mobile Hotspot.
  • Tap Auto Hotspot’s toggle and turn it off. You’ll know you’ve done it correctly when the toggle has a gray background.

Then, once you turn your hotspot on, it will stay on until you manually turn it off.

Your Frequency Band Is Too Limited

Your hotspot may automatically run on a 2.4 GHz frequency band if you have a newer Android phone.

Still, your newer phone may allow you to change your signal frequency or may automatically run on a 5 GHz frequency band instead. This alters the frequency of your phone's signal to make a hotspot.

5 GHz bands are faster, but some devices may not see a 5 GHz hotspot under possible connections if they are too old.

How To Fix

If you suspect the to-be-connected device is too old to detect a 5 GHz frequency:

  • Open the Settings app on your Android
  • Tap Connections
  • Tap Mobile Hotspot and Tethering
  • Tap Mobile Hotspot
  • Tap Configure
  • Tap Band
  • Tap 2.4 GHz


As you can see, there are many potential reasons why your hotspot may not work. Whether you have an Apple or Android device, the above fixes should help you get your Internet connectivity back to where it should be in no time.

Of course, you may also have an outdated phone. In that case, it may be time to upgrade your handset. Navi can help with our Phone Navigator page, on which you'll be able to compare dozens of different phone offers to find the right smartphone for your needs. Check it out today.


How to use a smartphone as a mobile hotspot | Computerworld

Should I use 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz WiFi? | CenturyLink

What Is a Hotspot? - WiFi Hotspot Definitions and Details | Intel

Want the best deal on a new phone or plan?

Find and compare offers from top providers, all in one place.

Search Deals