A mobile hotspot is a key to getting your laptop online when you’re away from regular Wi-Fi, but what do you do when it’s not working out as planned? Below are several fixes for when your Windows laptop won’t connect to your mobile hotspot.
Why Is My Laptop Not Connecting to My Mobile Hotspot?
Since your laptop is trying to connect to another device that has its limitations and possible issues, there are several things at play that could go wrong and prevent your computer from reaching the internet.
All the troubleshooting steps are listed below; here are just a few things to consider:
- A temporary glitch severed the connection.
- You’re too far from the hotspot.
- The data connection is off.
- The hotspot is operating on a frequency band unsupported by your laptop.
- There’s no more data available on your plan.
- Network drivers are outdated.
- Your laptop isn’t on your phone’s list of allowed devices.
How to Fix It When a Laptop Isn’t Connecting to a Mobile Hotspot
- Below are several ideas you can try if your computer can’t reach the internet through the hotspot.
- From your phone, toggle the hotspot off and then back on. If you connected over USB, use this time to unplug and then reattach the cable.
- It’s a great first step to try because it doesn’t require you to shut down your whole device, but it will refresh the connection and force your laptop to try to connect to it again.
- Move closer to the hotspot if your laptop is too far away. When using a wireless hotspot, it’s easy to forget, but Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections don’t have unlimited coverage, so they only work within a specific range.
- If this is your situation, the hotspot won’t even appear as an available Wi-Fi network on your laptop.
- Disconnect from the hotspot by “forgetting” the connection on your laptop. Do this by opening the list of available networks, right-clicking the hotspot, and choosing Forget.
- Then, reconnect to the hotspot’s network using the same information you did the first time. It will effectively delete everything Windows knows about the hotspot and then establish a brand-new connection with it once more.
- Turn off the option on the hotspot that will automatically disable it if no devices are connected. Not all hotspots may have this data/battery-saving feature, but if yours does, it could be stopping your laptop from reaching the hotspot when you need it.
- Restart your laptop and the device delivering the hotspot. A simple disconnect reconnect should be one of your first troubleshooting steps for basically any tech, a hotspot included.
- If you’re connecting to the hotspot over USB, ensure the laptop’s Wi-Fi is off. It might connect to a different network instead of your hotspot.
- Turn off airplane mode on your laptop or your phone if it’s on. Especially if you’re trying to connect your computer to your mobile hotspot in a plane, your phone or laptop might have airplane mode enabled, and it’s thus preventing access to mobile data.
- We’ve seen this be the fix for a “tethering has no internet” error on an Android phone. See how to turn off airplane mode on Android for directions.
- Run Windows’ built-in network troubleshooter. Microsoft says it can help diagnose and fix connection problems.
- Get there through Settings > System > Troubleshoot > other troubleshooters > Internet Connections.
- Check your mobile data usage to ensure you haven’t reached the limit. If you’ve created the hotspot with your phone, it’s most likely sharing data with your phone’s plan, in which case it’s possible you’ve met the maximum usage for the month, and mobile data has been disabled.
- One easy way to verify this without calling your provider is to disconnect the hotspot and see if your phone can reach the internet away from Wi-Fi.
- You can usually contact your mobile operator to get more data.
- How to Fix It When Mobile Data Is Not Working
- Try a different connection method. Most laptops can connect to a mobile hotspot via USB, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. See the bottom of this page for a brief overview of how they work.
- Change the name and password of the hotspot. Some users report that their computer had difficulties connecting to a hotspot whose name had spaces, so be sure to remove them. Also, take this time to see if a password change is a solution.
- The name option is on the hotspot settings page for most Android devices, but you’ll need to change your iPhone’s/iPad’s device name to change the hotspot name if you’re using an Apple device.
- Switch the hotspot’s frequency band to 2.4 GHz. Your laptop might not support higher frequencies, like 5 GHz and 6 GHz, so if you see the option to switch between them in the hotspot settings, give it a try.
- Not all phones support this level of customization, but you’ll see it in the hotspot settings if yours does (you might need to start the hotspot setup process over from scratch)
- Some Android phones, for example, call this toggle Extend compatibility. It’s named Maximize Compatibility on Apple devices. Turning it on switches to 2.4 GHz
- Check your laptop for outdated or missing network drivers. Drivers are necessary to properly communicate with your hardware, in this case, the network card.
- The easiest way to do this is with a free driver updater tool.
- Ensure your phone and laptop are fully updated. Although an unlikely solution for most people, you might be running a severely outdated OS that’s missing important bug fixes and features that could address the hotspot issue.
- Update Windows through Windows Update. Update your Android phone through the Settings app, or update iOS in your iPhone’s settings.
- Temporarily disable any firewall, antivirus, or another security program, such as a VPN, on your computer or phone. If those apps are doing their job too well, they might be blocking everyday network-related events, like an attempt to start or join a hotspot.
- If this is the fix, you’ll need to go into the security app’s settings to see if you can make an exception or toggle something on/off that’s interfering with its ability to use a hotspot.
- Add the computer’s name and MAC address to your phone’s list of allowed devices. This step isn’t relevant for all phones, but it doesn’t hurt to see if this applies to yours if you’re this far down the list.
- For example, some Samsung Galaxy phones have an Allowed device section in the hotspot settings. If your laptop isn’t on that list, select the add icon and enter its name and MAC address.
- See how to find your computer’s name in Windows and how to find your laptop’s MAC address if you need help.
- Reset the network settings on your phone and your computer. Before contacting your mobile provider (the final step, below), take one last chance at it yourself by removing all network-related information stored on your phone, and then try to connect to the hotspot once more.
- Learn how to reset an iPhone’s network settings if you’re unsure how. You can also do it on most Android phones through Settings > System > Reset options. Don’t forget to reset the Windows network settings.
- Contact your carrier, especially if this is your first time using the hotspot. They might need to enable or refresh the feature on their end, or you might need to pay extra for hotspot capabilities.
- After attempting everything described above, you could have better luck at this point following a troubleshooting guide specific to your device. See how to fix hotspot issues on iPhone or fix USB tethering issues in Windows.
- How Do I Connect My Laptop to My Mobile Hotspot?
- The method you use depends on the kind of hotspot you’re using. Most laptops and phones that can create hotspots support Wi-Fi (the fastest option), USB (the easiest), and Bluetooth.
- Assuming the hotspot is already set up correctly (e.g., the Wi-Fi or USB option is chosen in the hotspot settings), connecting using any of those three methods is easy:
Choose your hotspot from the list of available Wi-Fi networks, and enter the password.
Plug your phone into your laptop.
Pair your laptop and phone together to get internet on your laptop over Bluetooth.