How to Fix a Hotspot That’s Not Working

Even hotspots need a hotfix. Here's what you can do to get your hotspot working again.

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Last Updated: Dec 11, 2023
Woman holding up her smartphone in an attempt to get signal
It can be frustrating when your hotspot doesn’t work properly, but fixing it can be easy. (Image: Shutterstock)
  • Personal hotspots and mobile hotspots provide fast internet on the go, but they’re prone to connection issues, just like Wi-Fi at home or on a public network.
  • You can resolve most hotspot issues with simple solutions like restarting your phone or turning off battery-saving mode.
  • Fixing hotspots differs across all devices (iOS and Android), and device versions might also be a factor.

Hotspots are great when you need quick access to the internet, but there are times when connecting to it can go awry. Just like home Wi-Fi, personal and phone hotspots are prone to network issues. We’ve looked into common hotspot issues you may encounter and provided some tips and tricks to help you get back into your network.

Personal Hotspots vs. Phone Hotspots

A phone hotspot is exactly as the name states: It’s a hotspot hosted on a smartphone. On the other hand, personal hotspots use a dedicated device to set up a hotspot using a cellular network. It’s important to know which device you’re using to host your hotspot before troubleshooting.

Reasons Why Your Hotspot Isn’t Working

There are many reasons why your hotspot may not be working. If you’ve turned on your hotspot but can’t connect to it, then it may be because of one of the following reasons:

  • Your device is in battery-saving mode. Hotspots use cellular data to function, so having your phone reserve battery might interfere with its ability to connect to other devices.
  • You’ve reached your data limit. If your hotspot plan has a data cap, reaching or exceeding your data limit will prevent you from properly hosting a personal or phone hotspot.
  • Your device needs a software update. Some smartphones delay phone updates until the user manually restarts their phone. Keeping your phone up to date means less hassle when troubleshooting your hotspot.

Common Fixes for Hotspot Issues

Person holding a phone between two hands with no Wi-Fi connection
Fixing your hotspot can take just minutes when you know the right steps. (Image: Shutterstock)

You don’t have to be an IT professional to fix your hotspot. Rather, several common fixes for hotspots can get them working almost immediately. Below, we break down all the ways you can quickly fix your hotspot, whether it’s a personal hotspot or a hotspot on your iPhone or Android smartphone.

Make Sure Your Hotspot Is Turned On

While it might seem like a no-brainer, it’s easy to toggle your hotspot off or on with the tap of a finger or a click of a button. Ensure it’s on first before worrying about anything else.

For iPhone and iPad

Screenshots of how to turn on a hotspot for iPhone or iPad
Turning on your hotspot for iPhone or iPad is as easy as toggling one setting.
  1. Go to Settings > Personal Hotspot.
  2. Toggle Allow Others to Join to enable your iPhone or iPad hotspot.

For Android

Screenshots of how to turn on a hotspot for Google Pixel 6 Pro
Toggling your hotspot will differ slightly on Samsung and Google devices.
  1. Go to Settings > Network & internet > Hotspot & tethering.
  2. Toggle Wi-Fi hotspot on to enable your phone’s hotspot.

Check Your Data Usage

If you have a data cap on your cellular plan, it could be why your hotspot is running slow or not working correctly. Make sure you still have enough hotspot data remaining in your monthly cycle by checking your cellular data settings.

For iPhone and iPad

Screenshots showing data use on iPhone or iPad
You can find your individual app data usage on iPhone or iPad.
  1. Go to Settings > Cellular.
  2. Check to see if you’ve reached or exceeded your monthly data cap (if your plan has one).

For Android

Screenshots showing data use on Google Pixel 6 Pro
Your data cap will depend on your cellular provider’s plan.
  1. Go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet.
  2. Tap the cog button next to your cellular service.
  3. Check to see if you’ve reached or exceeded your monthly data cap (if your plan has one).

Turn Off Battery-Saving Mode

Whether you have an iPhone or an Android smartphone, both types of operating systems have built-in battery-saving modes that can prevent you from using your hotspot to its full capability. Make sure your phone is charged and this mode is not active to get the most from your hotspot.

For iPhone and iPad

Screenshots showing battery settings for iPhone or iPad
Low Power Mode on iPhone can be why your hotspot isn’t working correctly.
  1. Go to Settings > Battery.
  2. If Low Power Mode is on, toggle it off. You can also go to your phone’s control center to check if Power saving is enabled. If it is, toggle it off.

For Android

Screenshots showing battery settings for Google Pixel 6 Pro
Android 14 allows users to pick between Standard Battery Saver and Extreme Battery Saver settings.
  1. From your home screen, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Saver.
  2. If Use Battery Saver is on, toggle it off.

Update Your Phone to the Latest Software

Software changes on your phone can make advanced features, such as hotspots, more effective. Always update your phone with the latest software to get the most out of your hotspot.

For iPhone and iPad

Screenshots of the Software Updates for iPhone or iPad
Keeping your iPhone up to date is the best way to get full functionality out of your device.
  1. From your home screen, go to Settings > General > Software Update.
  2. Choose the updates that you want to install and tap Install Now. Some updates might require that you enter a password before installing.
  3. You can also toggle Automatic Updates to On to always stay up to date.

For Android

Screenshots of the Software Updates for Google Pixel 6 Pro
Google phones typically update automatically, but you may need to check to make sure you have the latest version of the Android operating system.
  1. From your home screen, go to Settings > System > System update.
  2. Tap Check for update to see if there are any new updates.

Other Fixes for Hotspot Issues

Screenshots of restarting a Pixel 6 Pro
When it comes to broken hotspots, simply restarting your device may be enough to fix your issues.

While the methods above are good fixes for hotspots (especially hotspots through a phone), they might not get your hotspot up and running. If you need another solution, try some of these other fixes for hotspot issues.

Restart Your Device

You can solve some hotspot issues by simply restarting your phone. Alternatively, you can turn on Airplane Mode and then turn it back off to reset your network connection. This way, you can reset your device without turning it off completely.

Use the 2.4 GHz Frequency for Your Hotspot

If your hotspot uses the 5 GHz frequency, changing to the 2.4 GHz frequency might help smooth out your connection and prevent your devices from disconnecting. The 2.4 GHz frequency has better connection capabilities, though it is much slower than the 5 GHz band.

Reset Your Network Settings

In a few cases, resetting your network settings could also fix hotspot issues. Try forgetting your current network in the settings and reconnecting to it with your credentials. This process works for both iOS and Android devices.

Make Sure Your Phone Is Not Connecting to Other Networks

If you see that your hotspot is on but you don’t see your device, check to see if your device is connected to another network. If it is, disconnect from that network and connect to your hotspot using the password provided by the hotspot owner.

See If Your Device Is Within the Hotspot Range

Where you set up your hotspot determines its connection range. If your phone suddenly disconnects from the hotspot, check to see if your device is within range of the hotspot. Moving closer to the hotspot might help solve connection issues.

Move Any Objects That May Interfere With the Connection

Solid walls or other objects may interfere with your hotspot’s connection. Move any objects between you and the hotspot device away if you can. You can also move your hotspot device to a different location free of interfering objects.