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Turn your Mac into a WiFi hotspot using OS X’s internet sharing

Turn your Mac into a WiFi hotspot using OS X\'s internet sharing

Have you ever been in a situation where you had multiple devices that needed to connect to the internet, but only one available source (like an ethernet cable or cellular air card)? Sharing your internet connection is only a few clicks away.

Although free WiFi access points are spreading like wildfire, let’s say you’re on vacation and the hotel you’re staying at only offers internet via a single ethernet port in the wall. It may not be a big deal if you’re traveling alone with one laptop, but you’re most likely staying with friends or family that have their own technology addictions to feed. So what are you going to do about this little situation where there are a mix of PCs, Macs, and iPhones clamoring for contact with the outside world? Patiently take turns? Ha! Good luck relaxing on that vacation.

The answer is in the Sharing pane of System Preferences on your Mac. Mac OS X actually lets you turn your computer into a mock wireless router for others to pick up the signal and connect to the internet. It’s an easy and secure way to get a variety of devices online when WiFi isn’t available. Here’s how to do it:

1. Open System Preferences and go to the Sharing pane under the Internet & Network heading.

2. On the list of services to the left, select Internet Sharing. Don’t check it quite yet — there’s a few options that need to be set first.

3. Depending on what your current internet source is, select it from the menu next to “Share your connection from.” As you can see below, I chose Built-in Ethernet since that is how my Mac is getting online at the moment.

Setting up Mac OS X Internet Sharing

4. In the “To computers using” box, select and check AirPort from the list.

5. While it is not required, it’s generally a good idea to lock down the WiFi hotspot you’re creating with a password just in case unwanted visitors are tempted to steal your bandwidth. Click on the AirPort Options button to configure these security settings.

6. In the window that pops up, type a basic Network Name and check the “Enable encryption (using WEP)” box. Enter an easy to remember (but not easy to guess) password in the boxes below. Remember you will have to provide this password to anyone you want to have access to your Mac’s shared wireless network. Click OK.

Setting up Mac OS X Internet Sharing

7. The configuration portion is finished, so the only thing left to do is check the box next to Internet Sharing and enable it. A confirmation message will appear — click Start to complete the process.

Setting up Mac OS X Internet Sharing

Now that your Mac’s internet is being transmitted from your AirPort WiFi card to other devices, you should see an icon like the one pictured at the very beginning of this tutorial in your menu bar. If you do, you’re in business! Virtually any tech gadget with built-in wireless networking (including Windows PCs, iPhones, iPod touches, PSPs, and of course other Macs) should be able to connect successfully when the security password you set is entered.

93 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Users using windowsxp can’t connect to mac wifi when i am activating wep key using 40 bit (5 character), why?

I used to have this configuration back with Leopard but since I installed Snow Leopard niether my mac mini or macbook pro can share their internet connection or create a adhoc network.

Lots of people have the same problem

Funny you mentioned that problem today. Apple just pushed out a Software Update called Airport Client Update 2009-002, which addresses this issue.

worked but the signal is astonishingly weak and doesn’t hold for more than 60-seconds before cutting out completely.

for me it worked great, thanks!

Airport Client Update 2009-002 broke the sharing instead of fixing anything for me (i.e internet sharing has to be restarted after every reboot).

When I try to connect my PS3 to the network I get a message saying that the PS3 can’t obtain the IP address. It sees the wireless netowrk just fine but cannot connect. Anyone have any ideas why this might be?

I have the same problem as Harald and Brent.

After sleep i have to restart sharing for it to work, really annoying. How can it stay on even after boot or sleep?

Also PS3 does not obtain IP from mac mini hotspot (no luck in win7 either).

What if I want to connect my iPod? My problem: My iPod is too far away from my router and my mac is close enough… I want wi fi upstairs so I can use it on my iPod aswell, is this possible?

Router-wifi)))))mac)))))iPod_)))))=wifi signals

You won’t be able to do this, unfortunately. You can’t share your Mac’s internet via WiFi when it’s getting its own internet wirelessly too. Your Mac has to get internet from a different source (such as Ethernet) than it is giving it to other devices.

What if the Macbook is getting it’s internet via a data stick, could it then share it’s internet via WiFi?

@Greg -yes, it can.

I’m able to share my internet connection from a USB stick (EVDO) through wifi and use it with iPod touch using this method.

However, there’s one thing that annoys me. My mac wouldn’t remember this setting after a restart. I have to go to Sharing preferences and turn off internet sharing then click on the Airport options (without changing any of the setting) then turn Internet sharing on again to make it work after a restart.

I know I don’t need to restart my mac but there’s been problem with my Finder that I have to restart once in a while. As soon as this problem is taken care of, I might not need to restart again but I still think Apple should fix this. Users shouldn’t have to jump through all the hoops to get it to work after a restart.

This works great for me! ive saved hundreds in internet costs through this method!

I live 2 story townhouse about a 1/2 mile from the CSUS campus in which i attend. They broadcast a large enough wifi range to get picked up by my BearExtender Wifi antennae ($45+shipping off the website) on my macbook from about a half mile away.

I also have an iphone 3g v3.1.3 that i just threw my sim card into with no data plan. This technique has now allowed me to connect my iphone up to wifi via my macbook network using the usb antanne connected to a public network with an access login and airport, thus getting blazing fast California State University network speeds on my iphone anywhere in my house. This is also not illegal because my tuition pays for such services, so why not take full advantage

$40-$50/mo for a slower cable or dsl connection
$30/mo for an iphone data plan

it adds up quick and thats beer money wasted!

I have the same problem as eg Phoebe, the Mac refuses to remember about internet sharing and I have to switch it off and then on again each time I start up. This always happens after a system up date. If I am lucky it may start to remember, but then we have a further upgrade and it is lost again. I try to lock the system preferences, but that too is not remembered

Thank you for walking me through the steps on turning my iMac into a WiFi source for my one week old iPhone4. I called Apple and they didn’t mention this technique but rather suggested I buy an Airport Extreme. Now that I know how to set up the sharing I will gladly, if need be, duplicate the process if ever, as mentioned above, this fails to be available after an update, etc. Thanks for your helpfulness. I only wish the Apple guy, and his supervisor, was as forthcoming.

This is just GREAT!

It doesn’t work on my Macbook.
The icon mark on the menu bar does not change.
Actually I really need this facility so that I can connect my other devices to internet.

Trying to do something similar that is just not working.

Active iPhone USB connection via Eth4 using PDANET software. This connection works great to tether the Mac to the phone.

I then go to Sharing and enable Eth4 input to Airport internet sharing. Computer is then shared.

Then try to connect a WiFi device (happes to be a Kodak Pulse frame), It sees the Shared Mac computer, but refuses to connect regardless of what I try.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

I have done the settings as i am using a usb modem to connect to the net what should i select in share your computer.

Thanks,worked great!

I battled for an hour total to setup a iPad with “Create Wireless Network” option under Airport and the Internet sharing.

It was a frustrating hour. Nothing worked. All latest patches applied and all.

I finally got it working as follows:

1) Setup a new network location just with my Airport and iPhone USB network connection. I could not get the iPad to connect without an active Internet connection which the iphone gave met.. stupid… The ipad would connect for a few seconds and then disconnect if my mac did not share an Internet connection

2) I set a static IP for my Airport

3) I setup a Intenet connection share with a alphanumeric password “abcde” – 5 characters. When I used a numeric password for the Wep 40 bit encryption – NOTHING worked!!.

So – then I could use my AirSharing to run a second screen on the Ipad while in the coffee shop. Apple should fix 2 things:

1) The iPad should connect to a wireless even if it does not have Internet and NOT drop it after a few seconds

2) The Mac Airport sharing should work more reliably and require less tinkering!

Hope that helps.

How secure is this setup? I my iMac can “see” my neighbors networks, I assume they can see mine? Does this have a firewall protection? I am new to wireless and apple products.

Under my internet sharing, in the “to computers using” files, I can’t select airport like you have, how do I get this up if I can?


Hi, I have somewhat of a complex configuration question for
you. I would like to share my VPN conncetion to other devices, iPad
and Apple TV via Wi-Fi using my Mac Book Pro and Airport. I know
that OSX Supports sharing of VPN connections via Airport, as there
is the option to share my Ethernet and Strong VPN Connection via
Airport. However, when I attempt to connect my iPod Touch to my
shared VPN coonection via Wi-Fi (from MBP) the iPod gets a full
signal but nothing will load in Safari. Yet, if I disconnect Strong
VPN, then my iPod works fine with the shared Ethernet (Broadband)
via Wi-Fi. This leads me to think that there are specific IP
Address details that need to be entered for the iPod or Apple TV to
make this work. Does anyone have any past expereince with this type
of setup?

That works great!Thanks a lot!

Im using a Data Stick internet, and i shared it with other laptops, it was working well, but now when i share its internet and close the systems preferences window, in few seconds it stops sharing. If i keep the window open then it works.
Can any one help me how to solve the problem?

Thanks, your guide was the most complete one that helped me make this work.

I had to create a new network though (snow leopard).

I’ve tried this several times but still cannot connect laptop and phone onto the network, are there any other options?

thanks buddy it sure is working amazingly and perfectly for me

I love internet sharing from my Verizon USB G3 modem. Problem: on my MBP 5,1 every other system update breaks internet sharing. Right now I’m holding at 10.6.5, which works fine. Afraid to update to 10.6.6 until I test on a spare drive.

my devices are connected to my hotspot, but unable to browse

Sabina Trigueros
April 15th, 2011, 1:06 PM

I’ve tried to share my USB 3G connection, but it refuses to allow it. It gives me no options for that particular “share with” except EVOModem, and shows nothing under “to computers using”. Any ideas?

WARNING! This no longer works with OSX lion, you need an active internet connection before it will create the hotspot, so if you want to transfer files while your out of the house, or stream a movie to your phone when you don’t have a wifi connection nearby then you cant! Also, it means i need an internet connection to move spotify tracks to my iphone. Can you tell im annoyed with lion right now?

Thanks APPLE, fix this!

thanks you Hardy Jonck

it’s all to do with the password in my case

effin numbers!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I really should have done this earlier!

works wonderfully on my eathernet only connection at school!

There is no ‘Airport’ on my iMac? Only FireWare and Ethernet?
My Wi-Fi of my iPhone 3G istn’t working either. It doesn’t find routers, so i need internet but how?

Btw: I do live in Belgium?

You just saved me a trip to the store and $170 I was about to spend on an Airport Extreme. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

I have a droid 3 and used this method and it worked great for 1 day and now my phone says I have a wifi connection but it doesn’t work. I didn’t password protect at first but i did now and it still doesn’t work . HELP

I use internet sharing from a wired macbookpro to my iPhone. However, I lost my password. Stupid, I know, but now I can’t connect my iPhone any more. Can I delete this account, or reset this password any where? I looked on the most obvious places, but found nothing.
Please, any help greatly appreciated!

pls open wifi model ai332 tnx

This is fantastic! I didn’t have an airport port, but with your post, I was able to enable the wi-fi on my mac after many failed attempts. And to think, this post was in my bookmarks for god knows how long. THANK YOU!! :-D

work like a motherfu#$%# harm!


Nice one thanks, I had seen this setting already but could not get it to stick. A simple guide with pictures always helps!!!

I set this up on my Mac Mini running 10.6.8 about 8 months ago & it worked just great! I recently up graded my iPhone to IOS 5.1 and now it does not work. I just keep getting the rotating gear. I tried forgetting the hotspot and reconnecting. It gets past the join command just fine and then the gear starts but no check mark and no connection. My phone connects to my airport extreme wifi at home just fine. Any ideas I loved this connection at work. Thanks Dave

You saved me lots of time, Thank-you

This is totally great tutorial to share my WiMax Internet without any extra devices :) Thank you.



Thanks so much!!!

Dude thank you so much! Your explanation is very precise and now my whole hostel floor is using the connection via my macbook! \m/

My iMac doesn’t show the ‘Airport’ icon… why is that?

this is cool and really works , thanks bud

It works great for me. Cheers………..!!!

I am using a prepaid dongle in my imac what do I select from the list of “share your connection from” menu???

tried to set up a hotspot on my Mac for the first time today.
have upgraded to Mountain Lion and…
1) AirPort option described in earlier discussions has been replaced by “Wifi”
2) only security options offered are “none” and WPA2.
3) HERE’S THE KICKER. the WPA2 option requires a 13-character password. except that it doesn’t tell you that anywhere in dialogue box. so if you’re wondering why your “OK” button isn’t lighting up after you’ve entered and confirmed a pass word, make sure you’re password is exactly thirteen characters long.

My building provides Wifi but I can only access it from certain parts of my apartment. I want to share my Mac to share the Wifi to my ethernet cable to my own Wifi router. But when I hook it up, my computer says the Ether connection is connected but the router is not broadcasting internet. Is this a settings issue? Thanks!

m using osx lion 10.7.3… i can turn my mac into wifi… & i can use it in my other wifi devises bt i cant use it in my iPhone. my iPhone can find the wifi network bt can’t access any web.. bt other wifi can easily work in my iPhone bt my mac wifi doesn’t work.. my phone is iPhone 3gs 4.1.. plz help me…

i have a ibook macintosh. um i have wifi..enabling me to pick up others internet but i would like to some how download something to make my laptop a sorta hotspot is that even possible?

I followed the steps and my Mac became a hotspot. My Xbox360 found it but it won’t connect. Any suggestions? My Ipad found it as well but again, no internet even though the Mac was still working on the internet just fine. Help…

Thanks, that is my situation exactly: vacation apartment with a TWC “bundle” but wifi is simply not working. Spent half an hour on hold with them and gave up; tried to get into the cable modem’s login but it was not default pw. My Mac Book works with the CAT5 cable that was still in the bag left next to the modem, but 3 other devices in the family are wifi only. I looked for a hotspot app to no avail; glad to know it is built in! Just have to know where to look.

I do wonder about the WEP only though. Why not more up-to-date security?

BTW, the wifi 2.4GHz band is very crowded here in a Manhattan apartment! But the 5GHz band is empty. I wanted to point that out: on the details you can pick the channel, and there is a split dividing channels from the two bands. The 5GHz band is often not used, or in any case use a wifi scanner to find the best place to set up your own.

pls i have a problem. i cant turn on my internet sharing because it displays ” you cannot turn on internet sharing because you have not selected a port for which to share your internet connection” what do i do to solve the problem

Thank you very much. Literally, the tears were about to flow :(


Excellent! Thank you very much.

thank you very much. works like charm. what a tips.

dude, thanks so much for posting.
this worked like a dream, immediately.

much appreciated.
take care.

hi, can i share my Mac’s wi-fi to my iPhone? no, it’s not crazy, i paid for Boingo wi-fi access and they charge extra to connect additional devices.

when i select ‘Share internet from’ as AirPort, then under ‘To computers using’ there is no AirPort option (understandably)


I use MacBook Pro 15″ Core 2 duo with Mountain Lion OS. my problem is that I can’t find the option of “Airport” on the Internet Sharing. Please how do I go about this in other to set my mac Hotspot. Thanks.

Thanks a ton,it worked like a breeze!!!

April 13th, 2013, 1:18 AM

I’ve been using SHARING for a few years. This morning I wanted to use WEP and I set up the password. iPhone running 5.1.1 works flawlessly, but the Nexus 4 will NOT connect. If I stop using a password, it WILL connect. Anyone know WHY the Nexus 4 will not connect when WEP is enabled? And would anyone know how to fix it?

April 13th, 2013, 3:29 AM

I figured it out!

Just use a-5-character-password!

The “Share Your Connection From” box is unavailable. As in im not being able to click on it. Why?

Work flawlessly on iMac with Snow Leopard, to give wifi connection for Blackberry.

I couldn’t connect to internet

Safari and another app that requires Internet, both told me that my Interent was not connected

I CHANGED share your connection from > Ethernet


share your connection from > my connection PPPoE

work correct

i remember my friend who bought brand new Mac and buy wifi tethering app, :D, until i came and give him a guide to tethering Internet without using app, and how i look he is regret,
btw nice guide.

WIFI is connected but no internet… pls help

I’ve tried this several times with and without WEP security. It allows my Mac Mini to act as a hotspot but stops the internet working on the MAC!
I tried setting Ethernet at the top of the Order Preference, followed by WiFi but this didn’t sort it.

Any ideas???????


upgraded my mac to OS X Maverick and it’s not working anymore :(

same thing here: upgrade to Maverick and it is no longer working :-(

It works. Thanks. I have been looking for this facility in my Mac for long, thanks to this site who served well.

Works Perfect! Thank you!

works great.. this what i was looking for.. thanks to apple..

in the part ( to computer using ) I dont have an airport choice ! only ethernet and firewire ! what should I do ?

Thanks very much. with Maverick I barely chose Ethernet, share with WI.FI to be able to connect on ipad and iphone. Luck to you all.

I am able to establish the connection successfully in my macbook pro OSX 10.8.5 by this method. But i am not able to access the internet from my iPhone 5s. The browser says i am not connected to the internet. Can anybody help??
Thanks for the help!

[…] or Windows. For OS X, just a few steps in System Preferences turns your computer into a hotspot. MacYourself has easy to follow directions. (If you have a MacBook Air, you’ll need something to convert that […]

amazing this is just brilliant…. u saved my life…. thank u so much mate….

I use MacBook Pro i5 13″ Mid 2012 with OS X 10.9.4. my problem is that I can’t find the option of “Airport” on the Internet Sharing. Please how do I go about this in other to set my mac Hotspot. Thanks.


Thanks for your support. But I am facing the problems in running some app on android like play store, youtube and chrome. Although watapps, facebook and etc are running g8 but these three apps are not running.

plz help. showing reload page.

Excellent! Thank you very much.
Is there any way to hide the SSID(hidden network).
I don’t want others to see my wifi name.

for all those using new version of OS (OS 10.9 OR later) instead of Airport option they show wifi option. try this..
System preferences > Sharing > Internet sharing… share your connection from to computers using

Click Wifi Options button… give your network a name and choose your security if any and set the key and click “OK”

enter your administrator password if prompted…
tick the box for’ internet sharing ‘ again…then a popup window will appear then click start.
note: save a password more then 8 characters…in some system they don’t show the number of characters.

I can successfully share my wifi with other devices. But it is not secured with WPA2 Personal. I set the 13 digit password on “Configure an Internet Sharing” section. But the device was not asked for any password. It directly connect with my mac mini. What should i do.

On step 4, what if Airport doesn’t show up as one of the options? Does the iPhone USB option mean I have to connect my iPhone to my MacBook Pro (OS X Yosemite 10.10) with a USB cable if I want to use the Mac’s internet connection (from the ethernet cable) on my iPhone?

Otherwise, thank you for being incredibly helpful!

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