Bluetooth Personal Hotspot in iOS 4.3

The marquee feature of iOS 4.3 is the WiFi hotspot feature available only for iPhone 4 users. Many of us with laptops and WiFi-only iPads can now have convenient net access on the go.

So WiFi iPad users can connect to their iPhone 4s via WiFi. What about WiFi iPad owners with iPhone 3G and 3GS who don’t get the WiFi hotspot feature in iOS 4.3?

At a whim, I tried connecting my WiFi iPad to the iPhone 4 via Bluetooth (with WiFi on both devices turned off). It works!

Why would you want to use Bluetooth instead of WiFi?

  • Bluetooth uses less power, so both devices can save a little juice—important when you’re on the go
  • However, WiFi would provide higher bandwidth when you have a really fast 3G connection that exceeds Bluetooth 2.0’s typical 1.4 Mbps speed


  • Any iPhone with Personal Hotspot (iOS 4.3 and above) or Internet Tethering (before iOS 4.3)
    • Includes iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and of course, iPhone 4
    • Of course, you need to ensure that your carrier has unlocked Personal Hotspot or Internet Tethering on your iPhone (boo to greedy telcos that charge extra for this)
  • The iPad (or other iOS device) acting as the client needs to be updated to iOS 4.3, which has a new feature that allows the device to act as a Bluetooth client
  1. Enable Personal Hotspot or Internet Tethering on iPhone
  2. Turn on Bluetooth on both devices
  3. Wait for them to discover each other
  4. Tap on the other device’s name and pair the devices
  5. Whenever you need to connect via Bluetooth, tap on the iPhone’s name in the Bluetooth settings of the iPad
  6. There should be a Personal Hotspot icon at the top left of the status bar

Happy surfing and do visit again!