Tethering iPad to iPhone 3GS

If you have an iPhone 3GS, you might already know that the Personal Hotspot feature introduced in iOS 4.3 is somewhat limited. Only iPhone 4 received official WIFI tethering. So what if you want to use your older iPhone’s cellular connection on your iPad?

It turns out you can! Just update your devices to iOS 4.3 or later, then enable both Personal Hotspot and Bluetooth on your phone. Open up the Bluetooth menu on your iPad and pair with your iPhone. You’re carrier may require a plan add-on to enable tethering. It’ll sync up and show the Personal Hotspot icon at the top of the screen. Congratulations, you’re connected.

The setup was seamless, and certainly easier than others methods I’ve tried. Pages and videos load reasonably fast, and emails come through without delay. And, because this is essentially Bluetooth tethering, it has a relatively low draw on the battery.

13 thoughts on “Tethering iPad to iPhone 3GS

    • @CRL: All of the tethering features (Bluetooth, Wifi, USB) have been renamed “Personal Hotspot” under iOS 4.3. The 3Gs doesn’t support Wifi tethering (what you’re calling the HOTSPOT), but the other tethering features are found under the Personal Hotspot menu.

  1. Hi Brendan! Thank you for this tip. It actually worked! My Ipad 2 is now connected with my iphone 3GS.

    Much appreciated…

    • I tried this on my iPhone 3GS and iPad 2 16 GB Wifi-only. Both with iOS 4.3.1

      My iPad doesn’t show up in the Bluetooth menu, but the iPhone does…

      Any ideas?

      • So you’re iphon shows up in your iPads Bluetooth menu? That’s what we want. Just tap the name of your iPhone and it should connect, as long as you enabled personal hotspot.

  2. Currently have IPhone 3GS operating on Ios5. and IPad2 operating Ios5. IPhone on o2 contract with tethering enabled. Personal Hotspot on IPhone is turned on and rotating. VPN not connected should this be? Bluetooth on both turned on but will not find any devices. What have I done wrong. Any thoughts.

  3. I have an iPhone 3GS and iPad2, both running iOS 5.1 and a Macbook Pro. I had to sign up with AT&T for the personal hotspot tethering feature, turn on the personal hotspot feature on my iPhone, pair with my computer and then with my iPad2. At first I couldn’t see the computer or iPad on my iPhone. But then I turned the iPad and iPhone off and on again, turned the wifi feature off on the iPad2 (it trumps the 3G connection) and they both found each other. So now I can use both my laptop and iPad2 on the 3G network thru my iPhone 3GS. Sweet! And this after the Apple support guy told me iPhone 3GS wouldn’t tether with the iPad2. WRONG!!!

  4. Ok, I have iOS 5.1 on both devices the iPhone 3gs and the iPad 1st generation. ATT won’t let me add the personal hotspot because I have unlimited data plan. Is there anyway for me to use the phone to connect the iPad to the internet without the personal hotspot?
    Please help

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