Instant Hotspot is a lot like Personal Hotspot with one big difference: you don’t have to configure anything or enter a password to connect to it. It’s “instant.”

Enabling Instant Hotspot is also extremely easy. If you’ve connected to personal hotspots before, you already know how to work this thing. For those of you who are looking for some info on connecting to Instant Hotspot, here’s how:

How to Enable Instant Hotspot in iOS 8

Important: Your carrier should let you use personal hotspots in order for Instant Hotspot to work. If your plan doesn’t feature personal hotspot, you won’t be able to enable/use Instant Hotspot.

How to Enable Personal Hotspot on iPhone/iPad Running iOS 8:

Step #1. Make sure that in all the devices, you are logged in to the same iCloud account. (Settings → iCloud). This is important.

Step #2. Next up, on your iPhone/iPad (which will act as the hotspot) open Settings

Step #3. Tap on Personal Hotspot (if you don’t see this option after data is enabled, you should contact your carrier).

Step #4. Turn on the switch for Personal Hotspot.

That’s about it.

How to Use Personal Hotspot on Yosemite:

Now, on the device you want to connect to, check Wi-Fi sources. (On an iDevice, you go to Settings -> Wi-Fi; on a Mac, click on the Wi-fi icon from the task bar and you should see your iPhone/iPad listed).

You won’t be asked for a password when you connect to this device. That’s the major change – no more setting up and entering passwords to connect to a hotspot iPhone/iPad that has the same iCloud account.

Apple uses your iCloud account as verification that it’s okay to connect to this hotspot without a password. Naturally, that’s why you need to be logged in to the same iCloud account on both the devices.

But remember that all this is possible only when your carrier lets you use Personal Hotspot. Some carriers disable this feature by default, requiring customers to change plans or cough up more to enable Personal Hotspot.

Using personal hotspot / instant hotspot will use up more battery on your iDevice.

  • Michael Vasovski

    Why is it called Instant Hotspot, in one instance, and Personal Hotspot in another? Also, why do I have to drill down into Settings, when I could just have a button on that little slide up drawer thingy?

  • Arne

    I’m sorry, but this is bullshit.
    First of all, you’ll need two supported devices, visit http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT6337 to find out if your device is able to use Instant Hotspot.

    You just have to be logged into the same iCloud-account, but for features like Handoff and Instant Hotspot, you have to have bluetooth on on both devices too.
    If you click on the Wi-Fi icon on your Mac, you’ll see your Cellular iPads or iPhones name, the cellular network signal strength and a chain. You do not have to enable the Personal Hotspot on your iDevice, it does it automatically. When you select your iDevice on your Mac, it automatically connects, without you having to type your password.
    Only making and receiving phone calls or sending and receiving text messages works on all iOS 8 devices and on all Yosemite computers.

  • sorry but thats NOT the instant Hotspot…thats just the normal personal Hotspot that should work since the point in iOS is integrated!

    Instant Hotspot is working over the Bluetooth/WiFi Netork without turning on the personal hotspot in the iOS menue.

  • You should also make clear that if you don’t have keychain turned enables on all the devices then this won’t work.

    • That is strange. I don’t think Keychain has any connection to this feature (afaik, we havent seen this happen.)

  • Elle

    The key is that you must leave the hotspot on? Doesn’t that drain the battery running it constantly on the iPhone?

  • the way i got this to work without a password is to set this up through Bluetooth. it works great but the issue is it requires an admin password to connect to the network via Bluetooth PAN. it does require personal hotspot to be turned on. I’m assuming there’s an easier way? if I go the WiFi route, it still asks for a password and I verified it’s the same iCloud account on both devices…

    • This is quite strange. If it’s asking for a password, that isn’t
      ‘instant hotspot’. We’ll try to find out use-cases where this is
      happening and get back.

      • Oppo Power

        Having the same problem. Logged into same iCloud account and still asks for PW and does not show battery life and signal strength of iPhone.

      • unsupported hardware issue: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6337

      • JPKelliher

        I have not heard anything on this comment. This was 4 months ago. What is the resolution? None of the handoff features work on my phone either. Is it only for iPhone 6?

    • GeLiGeLu

      I get the same issue as well. I used personal hotspot prior to Yosemite / iOS 8.1 and it was just like connecting to any other hotspot.

      Tried it now, and it has the chain symbol, but no information about the battery or operator. Also, I’m on the same Wi-Fi network and bluetooth is turned on and I’m signed into the same iCloud account.

      It may be a pertinent point that none of the supposed “handoff” features are working either.

      • I found out older hardware doesn’t support the new feature: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6337 – no biggie – still pleased with Yosemite on a 2008 iMac :)

        • GeLiGeLu

          Except mine is a mid-2012 Mac Book Pro retina…

        • GeLiGeLu

          Except I have a mid-2012 Mac Book Pro Retina.

          It’s more than supported

  • vertigo235

    I think with the new instant hotspot feature you don’t even have to have he personal hotspot turned on, it just has to be capable and in range of your other devices.

    • jeff

      You’re right. It will turn on personal hotspot if you click on your iOS device from the wifi connections. Does anyone know how I can disable this?