How to Fix USB iPhone Tethering Connection Issues with 4 Easy Steps

Newer iPhone devices support tethering, which allows your iPhone to become an instant hotspot effectively. iPhone tethering is great until suddenly it doesn’t work.

Common errors can be attributed to improperly set iPhone settings, outdated device drivers, and incompatible iPhones.

Our tethering connection guide should resolve most of your connection issues.

iphone tethering issues

Step 1: Is Your iPhone Up To Date?

The iPhone must be 3GS or newer with a phone data plan that includes tethering. Preliminary steps to avoid promptly resolve the failure will require you to:

  • Restart the iPhone used for tethering
  • Make sure the latest iOS update is installed – Failing to update your iPhone could impact performance and cause issues.
  • Reset your iPhone Network – resetting your network can easily fix a tethering issue

Step 2: Is Your Hotspot Switched On?

To tether your iPhone first make sure the feature is switched on. The hotspot feature must be switched on in the iPhone. Do this by:

  • On the iPhone go to Settings
  • Then Select Cellular or Settings (this depends on your iPhone version)
  • Select Personal Hotspot
  • Swipe the Personal Hotspot slider to turn it on.

Note:  If the Personal Hotspot option is not present, contact your phone carrier. (Tethering is an optional feature that is not always part of a service plan.)

Step 3: Check Your Computer Settings (For Mac Users Only)

Computer settings may be improperly configured to accept new connections. These steps should resolve most iPhone USB connection issues:

  • Make sure iTunes is up to date
  • Use a USB Cable to connect the iPhone to the Mac (trust the device if a prompt is received)
  • Open iTunes and make sure that your devices are visible (if it’s not visible use a different cable)
  • Select System Preferences
  • Select Network
  • Select iPhone USB (if it’s not present, select the + sign to add it)
  • Click Settings and Make Service Active
  • Click Apply

Note: If a different network connection is active, the hotspot may not work unless Disable, unless needed, is unchecked.

Step 4: Check Your Computer Settings (For Windows Users Only)

Computer settings may be improperly configured to accept new connections. These steps should resolve most iPhone USB connection issues:

  • Make sure iTunes is updated to its latest version
  • Use a USB Cable to connect the iPhone to the Mac (trust the device if a prompt is received)
  • Open iTunes and make sure that your devices are visible (if it’s not visible use a different cable)
  • On Windows Start, open the Settings
  • Select Network & Internet
  • A Remote NDIS based Internet Sharing Device should appear
  • Enable it, and your devices are now tethered

If you are still unable to tether your iPhone: Continue to the advanced windows troubleshooting steps.

Step 4(continued): Advanced Windows Troubleshooting Steps

Additional troubleshooting may be required if the PC cannot detect the iPhone device on Windows.

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Open and Run the Network Troubleshooter

The built-in Windows troubleshooter can diagnose most network problems. Run the built-in Network troubleshooter by following the steps:

Step 5: Go to Windows Start

  1. Search for Settings
  2. Navigate to Network & Internet
  3. Select Status
  4. In Change your network settings select Network Troubleshooter
  5. Follow the prompts

Temporarily Deactivate your Firewall

Firewalls can occasionally cause tethering issues by blocking incoming connections. Check your firewall’s documentation to temporary turn off your firewall, then retry tethering your iPhone.

Be sure to re-enable the firewall with an exemption for your iPhone device if successful. Leaving your firewall off could leave your computer exposed to vulnerabilities.

Temporarily Deactivate Antivirus & Malware-protection Software

Like firewalls, malware-protection software may prevent iPhones from tethering. Check your specific antivirus software for directions on turning it off.

Be sure to re-enable the firewall with an exemption for your iPhone device if successful. Leaving your firewall off could leave your computer exposed to malware.

Step 6: Update your USB Drivers

The Network Troubleshooter cannot always Identify the Network Issue. Outdated USB drivers can occasionally cause issues with iPhone tethering.

Ensure that your computer drivers are updated – Download Driver Support to update computer drivers automatically.

Try This Time-Saving Shortcut
Start using Driver Support today and save time and frustration dealing with common Windows device issues. The software will inventory your computer for all active device types we support upon installation. When fully registered the service will update drivers for you and you get access to our technical support service for many common Windows issues.
Download Driver Support
Driver Support is an independent service provider for software products. It is a tool to help identify out-of-date or missing device drivers. Software Principles.
Full functionality requires $9.99 monthly subscription. By downloading you accept the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.
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