In early January, I attended CES 2023 for the first time in two years (and the 18th time overall). After I checked into my hotel and set up my computer to be ready after my first few evening events, I noticed that my hotel room Wi-Fi was having trouble connecting. The connection either wasn’t working at all or was slow as molasses. I figured it was time for the guests to go online, and I’d probably have better luck later that night, I let it slide. Big mistake. Throughout the entire 7 day trip, the internet was never reliable enough for me to do any work from my room.
I was in a panic. As someone tasked with writing and posting content and uploading tons of photos and videos from the show, not being able to connect could have set me back further than it was. And my schedule was too packed (and my sleep severely deprived) to bother requesting a room change (and potentially face the same problem in another room anyway). For a journalist at the biggest trade show of the year, it was like being plunged into the plot of a horror movie.
So what did I do to survive the horrible experience? The end of my horror story, and the hero that saved me from being bludgeoned to death by unusable Wi-Fi, was Personal Hotspot via my iPhone and wireless carrier plan. Let me explain.
What is iPhone Personal Hotspot?
Personal Hotspot is a feature that comes standard on all iPhones, including the best iPhones and many of the best android phones As the pixel 7 pro. It allows you to connect your phone to another device wirelessly, such as a second iPhone, iPad, Android device, or in my case, a MacBook Pro M1 computer (or computer of other brands). Once connected, you can tap into the phone’s cellular network and get online. You can browse web pages, stream videos, check emails, and more while connected to a personal hotspot. But while you’re doing it, you’re using that device’s mobile data, not Wi-Fi. It’s also easy to share personal hotspot from an iPhone to an Android device, that should be noted, and vice versa.
Personal hotspot to the rescue
Using Personal Hotspot on an iPhone is simple: see my article on how to use Personal Hotspot on an iPhone for detailed instructions. It’s just as simple from Android devices. But there are a few things that I had to keep in mind before participating in a streaming festival.
First, Personal Hotspot uses mobile data, which can add up quickly, especially with intensive tasks like uploading videos. My plan includes 25 GB of data, but it’s technically unlimited. This means that once I go over 25 GB, speeds are reduced to compensate until my next bill cycle, at which time 25 GB at 5G speeds resume once more. That’s still more than enough to do things like stream video (an hour-long HD movie will eat up about three concerts), let my son use the Hotspot for his iPad on road trips, and occasionally hook up my computer to get it working. for a few minutes. hours if I’m in a traffic jam. The traffic jam at CES was huge and justified the decision.
One week after my return, according to the updated statistics on my operator’s app, I used almost 9 GB of mobile data during the fair. This wasn’t all of Hotspot, but it did include all of the work I did from my hotel room (thankfully, the media room Wi-Fi at both convention centers worked). 11 days into my billing cycle. Having a good plan ensures that you don’t have to worry if you ever end up in a scenario like mine. However, if you have a smaller data plan, it’s important to keep that in mind and use Personal Hotspot sparingly, only for light tasks or emergencies.
The second is battery life. Use your phone as a personal hotspot It can drain your phone’s battery faster than other apps, so power is key. Working in my room was not a problem since I left the phone plugged in. While traveling I used a portable battery pack to charge the phone as needed.
Third, if Personal Hotspot isn’t working, and let’s face it, sometimes Personal Hotspot can be finicky, you can connect your phone to a computer via USB and then connect to your wireless mobile data that way. I would suggest always having a spare cable (and USB-A to USB-C adapter if necessary) in your bag in case you need it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to resort to a wired connection. But as long as you have a cable, it’s just as simple to do. Bluetooth is another option that drains your battery much more slowly, but can also cause a slower connection. For my tasks, which included uploading videos, large photos, and posting to sites, I couldn’t risk anything other than blazing-fast speeds.
In the midst of my frustration over meeting deadlines, I wirelessly connected my MacBook Pro M1 to iPhone 14 via Personal Hotspot and got to work. The connection was flawless. I uploaded video files as large as half a gig each in minutes, photos in seconds, and was able to get my work done without a hitch.
Personal Hotspot is an underrated iPhone feature
Over the years, technology has surpassed anything you could have imagined. However, having consistently reliable Wi-Fi anywhere and everywhere is still a problem. In an age where we are spoiled for choice when it comes to supposed Wi-Fi speeds, mesh networks, powerful routers, 5G, WiFi6, and network extenders, the truth is that networks sometimes it just doesn’t work.
In my case, at CES, it just didn’t work at the worst possible time. Without iPhone Personal Hotspot, I probably would have spent more time than I wanted in the Lobby Bar sipping red wine while using the better Wi-Fi signal on the main level, or in the hotel cafeteria fueling up with too much Java than I should be. . The same would be the case for Android users, who might find that the Hotspot feature on their devices also saves them in a bind one day.
The Personal Hotspot feature is one of the most underrated for Apple and Android smartphones. It can happen if you’re in a bind. With these tips and using them sparingly, you’ll find that Personal Hotspot could be your saving grace one day, too.