The iPhone 4 features built-in support for tethering with other portable devices such as the iPad. The Personal Hotspot feature, available for both Verizon and AT&T iPhones, allows users who have purchased the option to access their carrier's cellular data connection. Connections can be made through USB, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Both Verizon and AT&T's Personal Hotspot plans charge an extra $20 a month on top of your existing data plan, as of June 2011. AT&T and Verizon's versions of the tethering option also have different limitations.
Personal Hotspot on Verizon Wireless only allows five devices to connect to the iPhone at once. This includes a maximum of one through USB, three through Bluetooth or five by Wi-Fi. Verizon's Personal Hotspot plan includes 2GB of data, with each additional gigabyte used costing $20. Verizon also suspends data usage when the iPhone receives a call.
AT&T also allows up to five devices to connect through the Personal Hotspot. However, only three may be Wi-Fi. Other users will need to connect through USB or Bluetooth. AT&T's Personal Hotspot plan enables up to 4GB of data usage. AT&T charges $10 for each additional gigabyte of data used. Unlike with Verizon, data usage is not suspended when the iPhone receives a call.
After purchasing the Personal Hotspot plan from your cellular provider, you will need to enable the option on your iPhone. To do so, go to "Settings," then "General," then "Network. Turn on "Personal Hotspot" by tapping it. The Personal Hotspot requires a password for users to access it. The password may be set on the "Personal Hotspot" page. To connect to the hotspot, a user needs to select it from the network options on their device. The iPad, for example, connects through the Wi-Fi option under "Settings." The hotspot will be named after the iPhone's device name.
After setting up the Personal Hotspot, the settings may be accessed by tapping "Settings" and then "Personal Hotspot." Bluetooth and USB connections can be turned on in the Personal Hotspot settings.The settings tab also includes information on how to use each type of connection. The Wi-Fi password may also be changed here. The Personal Hotspot feature uses WPA2 encryption.
The Personal Hotspot feature works on older iPhones, however the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS only support USB and Bluetooth connections. On the iPhone 3G, the Personal Hotspot option is called "Internet tethering."