How to turn your Galaxy S4 into a mobile hotspot

I’m going to show you how easy it is to turn your Galaxy S4 into a personal WiFi access point.  Then you can access the internet from your laptop, tablet, or even another phone all while using your phone as an access point.

1. Enter Settings

The fastest way to get to Settings is to swipe down from the top edge of your phone to open the notification drawer.  Then tap the Settings gear in the upper right corner.

Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot Settings

2. Open More Networks

When holding your phone upright in portrait mode, you’ll see four tabs along the top: ConnectionsMy deviceAccount, and More.

Touch the Connections tab then tap More Networks to enter the Mobile Hotspot settings.

Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot View More Networks

3. Swipe the Mobile Hotspot Switch On

After tapping More Networks, the Wireless and Networks screen appears.  Swipe the Mobile Hotspot switch to On.

An Attention notice pops onto the screen telling you that the phone has to disable Wi-Fi in order to turn your phone to a personal Wi-Fi access point.  This is okay; tap OK

Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot Toggle On

Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot Attention Warning

4. Configure the Mobile Hotspot

When you touch OK, the configuration box opens.

The Network SSID (Service Set Identifier) is the name of the network.  I called my fixedByVonnie.

If you tap Hide my device then the phone won’t send out a beacon advertising itself to the world.  That way, the guy sitting next to you in Starbucks won’t even know about your little personal hotspot.

Hiding the network name increasing security a little (security through obscurity) however, you’ll have to manually connect your devices to your mobile hotspot since it won’t automatically show up the WiFi list.  I often find that having a strong password is good enough so I usually leave this unchecked.

Incidentally, strong passwords get stronger faster with length not characters.

So

howPizzabarkcanadagaziboYah00flue

is significantly stronger than

$dk@#Z

even though the latter looks more complex. When it comes to security, a random string of desultory text is always superior to a short string of unintelligible alphanumeric garbage.

Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot Configure Name and SSID

5. Optional – Limit Access to Specific Devices based on MAC Address

You can even tighten security a little more by restricting access to devices that have a specific MAC Address.

Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot Allowed Devices Setup

After you choose Save on the mobile hotspot configuration screen you have a choice.

Right now any device can connect to you as long as it knows your password; however, if you want to change this, touch the hotspot name you created, just under the green on button, and then change the connection mode to Only allowed devices.

Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot connection mode

Now press the Allowed Devices button in the bottom left corner of the screen.

Next tap the plus sign in the upper right corner of the screen to add the MAC Address of your device.  In this example, I’m going to add the MAC address of my laptop.

Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot Add an Allowed Device

On my Windows 7 laptop, I opened a command prompt by clicking Start, typing cmd, and pressing Enter.

Then I typed:

getmac

The Physical Address is another name for the MAC address.  In the graphic below you can see my MAC address is 080027193d4a (neither the dashes nor case counts, uppercase is identical to lowercase)

Windows 7 getmac command

Then back on my phone I entered that MAC address and touched OK.

Now I can use my laptop to connect to my mobile hotspot.  And it’s secure.  Even if someone guesses my password they couldn’t connect unless they could somehow spoof my MAC address.

Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot enter MAC address of allowed device

Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot enter MAC address of allowed device summary

Now back on my laptop I can connect to the new mobile network!

Windows 7 Connect to Galaxy S4 Mobile Hotspot

That’s all there is to it.  Don’t forget to swipe the mobile network off when you’re finished so you don’t kill your data plan and battery.  Also, you should check your mobile data usage and set alerts to warn you before you hit the limit.

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  • Psalm41013

    Wow, that was very well explained! The visuals were a huge help!! Thank you for posting this or I’d still be sitting here probably ready to throw my phone at the wall ;)

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      Great news! I’m glad I saved you a broken phone :)

      • Hotspot

        My Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 does not list Mobile Hotspot as an option. Is there any way to upgrade my device? I’ve added a Hotspot and Tethering app, it says “No network adapter available”.

        • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

          In Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 it’s usually in Settings > More Settings > Mobile Hotspot. Hmm… does that not show up? Whose your carrier? What’s your data plan?

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  • Aileen Lamb

    brilliant. Now I can happily use my laptop & tablet wherever:)

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      So glad I could help!

      • Susan Walker

        Vonnie, my hotspot (S4) does not appear on my laptop as an available network. I added the hotspot to my Sprint account back when I had the Galaxy S3 – no problems EVER. SInce I bout=ght the S4 I’ve been unable to use this great service (that I am paying for every month) Suggestions??? Thanks in advance!

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  • James Chill

    Hey Vonnie – I’ve been using my s4 as a mobile hot spot via an app called ‘Portable Wi-fi hotspot free’ since I first got it in April. Although it seems after an update a few weeks ago that app won’t turn it on anymore and I get an error message. Have you heard of this happening with anybody else? Thanks in advance.

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      Someone else emailed me about this a few weeks ago but I haven’t found the answer yet. If you figure it out before me please share

  • Dan

    I don’t get the 4 tabs across the top when you hit settings. Any idea?

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      Maybe you’re in a different settings screen? The other way to get there is to visit the Home screen then press the Menu Soft Key immediately to the left of that home button and tap Settings there.

  • james perez

    Will at&t charge me extra if I do this? I have an unlimited data plan.

    • more

      I have t mobile I want to know the same thing?

      • Hillary Coates

        I have t mobile pre pay unlimited data plan and would have to pay extra to use the hotspot. I downloaded the PDaNet+ app to get around it. It throttled me in no time though.

        • more

          mine is unlimited talk, Text.

    • Fred Zonker

      My Galaxy s4 Active uses about 1 gig an hour when I tether it to my laptop. I went to the AT&T store to ask about the huge data “cost” when simply browsing with out up loads or downloads of anything. The personel were not sympathetic but became defensive. I told them I did not blame them or AT&T for the issue, I just wanted a solution or to know where to track down the cause of such a drain on the data usage. The best answer I came up from what they told me was “to not use it” then I could be assured that there would be no data useage….and “No, you can not cancel the data portion of your plan and keep telephone only”
      My laptop may very well have something running in the back ground but they said it was not their job to help me find it.

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    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ vonnie

      about a year

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  • Ray

    If I use my S4 as a hotspot, can I still get calls or make calls?

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      That’s a good question. Incoming calls typically abort the data connection. You can also call while your phone is functioning as a mobile hotspot; however, I haven’t tested to see what happens to the data connection in this scenario. Maybe you can try it out and let us all know?

  • Angela

    Thanks so much…

  • Kathi Mihalak Crombie

    I get an error message that says data connection not available-

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  • jackmurphystadium

    Great job. I searched for help to find the mac address on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

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