Using Your Old Smartphone as a Mobile Hotspot

Mobile Hotspot
Mobile Hotspot

The new smartphone models boast of a wide range of features not previously available to older smartphones. One of these features includes the ability to use the phone itself as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. This is true with iPhone models and select Android smartphones. But did you know that you can actually use your old smartphone and make it a mobile hotspot? You don’t need to upgrade to the latest smartphone model or use up your current phone’s battery and data in order to create your own portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Here’s how to turn your phone into a hotspot, even if you don’t have a plan:

Wi-Fi Tethering

In case you did not know, most (not all) smartphones are capable of being used as a Wi-Fi hotspot. In fact, there is no need to enable a hotspot service using your cell phone carrier.

A feature known as Wi-Fi tethering will automatically transform your smartphone into a wireless internet router. All you need is a data connection on that phone. When you are connected to a data, you can easily distribute your connection to other devices that can connect to it. It functions just like any other Wi-Fi hotspot devices.

Even without a data connection, you can still turn your old smartphone into a Wi-Fi hotspot. All you have to do is manipulate Wi-Fi tethering in order to create a Local Area Network (or LAN). This network can then be used for sharing files, playing games, and other things you can do with a LAN connection.

You can learn more about the Android Wi-Fi Tether in order to maximize this feature on your smartphone. There are also a few other apps for Android smartphones that toggle on or off the Wi-Fi hotspot feature. Some of these apps included Extended Controls or FoxFi. Proceed at your own risk when using external apps to activate your phone’s hotspot feature.

How to Turn Phone into a Hotspot Without a Plan

If there are no restrictions on your Android smartphone to using it as a Wi-Fi hotspot, here’s how to turn your phone into a hotspot without a plan:

Step 1: Click Settings on your smartphone.
Step 2: Select the “Wireless & Networks” option from the Settings.
Step 3: Look for the “Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot” option. There is a button beside this option – tap onto that until the check mark appears. By doing this, you will automatically turn on the Wi-Fi hotspot feature on your smartphone. This will also turn your device into a wireless access point. There will be a notification message that will indicate this process was completed.


Take note of these additional tips when transforming your old smartphone into a mobile hotspot:

  • Adjust the settings for this feature by accessing the “Portable Wi-Fi hotspot settings” option on your smartphone. This is an essential step if you do not know the password on your hotspot. Make note of the password so it will be easier for other devices to connect to that hotspot.
  • Change the password from the default to a customized one. Update the security settings on your Wi-Fi hotspot. This is essential to managing the users who are able to gain access to your Wi-Fi access point.

Step 4: Using the other devices that you want to connect to your smartphone’s hotspot, look for the Wi-Fi access point. You will be able to search manually for that Wi-Fi access point using your tablet or other mobile devices. If not, it can automatically scan the wireless networks within the range.

Step 5: Once you have located the Wi-Fi hotspot that you just activated with your smartphone, you can choose it (from a list of wireless networks). You must then enter the new password (or the default one, if you haven’t updated it). This will enable your mobile device to automatically connect to the wireless internet hotspot on your smartphone.

It is important to turn off the Wi-Fi hotspot feature on your smartphone when not in use. Turning the Wi-Fi hotspot feature on can significantly drain your phone’s battery life. Make it a habit to switch it off when you are done using the wireless network.

Using the default password on your wireless network is not recommended. The password generated is generic and could easily be accessed by hackers – especially if you use it in a public place.

Some cell phone companies could charge you extra for using this feature. Take time to learn about the data restrictions on your data plan before you use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Source: MakeUseOf

Bonus: Turn Your Smartphone Into a Wi-Fi Extender

Another neat feature about smartphones, even the old ones, is that you can also use it as a Wi-Fi extender.

How many times have you felt frustrated about trying to connect to a Wi-Fi signal? When it is slightly out of reach, it can result in an unreliable connection. End your woes by using your old smartphone as a Wi-Fi extender. Now, you are free to surf and connect to the internet wherever you are in your home.

Your Android smartphone is capable of picking up a Wi-Fi signal and then repeating it. This will extend the distance with which your Wi-Fi signal can reach.

It requires a rooted device in order for you to transform your smartphone into a Wi-Fi extender. Use the process of Wi-Fi tethering mentioned above to extend the signal. You can use a USB cable in order to tether your device. Customize the signal using the Config button. This will enable you to create a new signal so other devices can connect even when the original source of the Wi-Fi is out of reach.

Have fun exploring the features available on your old smartphone. Just because your phone is old, it does not mean that you won’t have the same advanced features as the newer models.

If you want to know how to set up a mobile hotspot on any device, be sure to check out our guide by clicking this link.