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How to Use Your iPhone or Android Smartphone as a Modem

These days, many people tend to tether their smartphone to their laptop or tablet while out. This generally creates a hotspot for your device as you can rely on getting Internet service with your phone. The iPhone is one of the easiest devices with which to do this. If you have an iPhone 4, 4S or 5, you can use it as a modem that will deliver nice 3G or even 4G LTE speeds to your laptop or tablet no matter where your location. This is the best way to get online when you cannot find access to a Wi-Fi connection.

First and foremost, you must have the tethering service connected to your iPhone in order to effectively use it as a modem. Tethering means that you are sharing your cellular data connection with a laptop, tablet or any other device that is capable of accessing the web. Your iPhone must also have at least 3G connection speeds, which means that you will not be able to successfully do this with the first generation iPhone.

You should have a hotspot feature with your wireless carrier. This generally costs extra money, and all of the major wireless carriers and some prepaid networks offer this service. You will also need a computer that runs on Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP with at least Service Pack 3 or a Mac that runs on OS X 10.5.8 or later.

No matter what operating system your laptop runs, it must support WPA or WPA2 encryption in order for tethering your iPhone to work. If you are attempting to use your iPhone as a modem on a Mac, it must be noted that you will need to have iTunes installed.

The next thing you can do is to set up the personal hotspot. Go to “Settings” on your iPhone and select “General” and then “Network” and finally, “Personal Hotspot or Internet Tethering.” You should easily be able to locate this setting on your device if you have a tethering service with your wireless provider.

Finally, you will need to connect your iPhone to your laptop or tablet via its USB connector. Turn on your computer and launch your web browser. You should now be able to surf the Internet.

Of course, you can also use a different type of smartphone if you do not have an iPhone. Android powered phones are commonly used to tether so that you can access the Internet on your tablet or laptop while you are out and on the go and have no known Wi-Fi access.

To use your Android smartphone as a modem, you will have to ensure that your device runs on at least the 2.2 Froyo operating system. Unlike with the iPhone, you are freely able to use your Android phone for tethering, although you will have to watch your data usage to ensure that you do not go over your monthly limit so you won’t have to pay more than usual.

The best way to use your Android powered smartphone as a modem is to first obtain an app called PdaNet+ from Google Play. This app is free. Once you have it, you can install the program that goes with it to your computer. Go to the url and choose the appropriate version for your system. Go back to your smartphone and access “Settings” from “Menu.” Choose “Applications” and then “Development.” From there, you should check the box that reads “USB debugging.” Press on OK when you receive the confirmation. Your smartphone will now be able to stream its data to your computer or tablet. Connect it to a USB port on your device and enjoy browsing the web.


This is a guest post by Skylar James. Skylar is a freelance tech writer and gadget enthusiast currently representing


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