How to use mobile data on a laptop

8th January 2021
cloud computing image of mobile data uses and new laptop computers

The practice of remote working has taken on a whole new meaning this year. Many office workers are now accustomed to full-time working from home or any number of other locations, and this trend looks set to continue in some capacity long past the return to office operations.

Wherever workers are based, one thing that isn’t due to change is a need for a reliable internet connection. Those working from home can often use a household Wi-Fi connection, although poor service and/or increased network demand from other family members can mean slow and patchy performance. There are usually freely available public networks in coffee shops or on public transport, but these too can be slow and unreliable.

Thankfully, most of us now have a wealth of mobile data included with our smartphone plans. This can prove invaluable as a back-up internet connection for team members working at home, out and about or on the move.

Using mobile data on a laptop – or ‘tethering’ as it’s also known – is easy. Here’s how it’s done.

Using mobile data on a laptop   

Many smartphone contracts now come with vast amounts of data, and this can be a life saver for your team when working from home or any other location. Alternatively, there are also mobile data SIM tariffs available for all types of laptops and tablets. We also have a FREE tariff where you can get 6GB Data free when you lease a 4G/5G mobile data laptop.

Whether team members have iPhones or Android phones, it’s possible to connect, or tether, a phone to a laptop via USB, Bluetooth or portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Our laptops are available on our Flexi-Lease or Pure Rental solutions.

Tethering a phone to a laptop via USB

Using a USB cable to tether a phone to a laptop creates an exclusive wired connection that no other devices can use, so it’s the best way to get fast and stable internet access.


  • Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes downloaded on your laptop.
  • With iTunes open on your laptop, go to Settings > Mobile Data > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Personal Hotspot on your iPhone.
  • Turn on Personal Hotspot and connect your laptop to your iPhone via a UBS cable.
  • Open Network Settings on your laptop and you should see iPhone as a new wired connection available to join.


  • Plug your charging cable into your phone, and the USB side into your laptop.
  • Open Settings on your phone and then the Wireless and Networks section.
  • Choose ‘Tethering & portable hotspot’. 
  • You should see a ‘USB tethering’ option. Make sure the cable’s plugged in, otherwise this option will be greyed out.
  • Tap on ‘USB tethering’, wait around 30 seconds and refresh your laptop browser. Once it’s refreshed, you should be online.

Tethering a phone to a laptop via Bluetooth

Bluetooth is short-range wireless technology that can be used to create a mobile data connection between a phone and a paired laptop.


  • On your iPhone, go to Settings and enable Personal Hotspot.
  • Also under iPhone Settings, go to Bluetooth and make sure it is switched on and your iPhone is discoverable.
  • On your laptop, attempt to pair with your iPhone by searching for available Bluetooth devices.
  • Once paired, go to Network settings on your laptop, where you should find your iPhone listed as a network interface.


The first step is to pair your phone with your laptop.

  • Open your phone’s Bluetooth settings by long-pressing the Bluetooth icon in Quick Settings, or go to Settings > Connected devices.
  • Select Pair new device.
  • On your laptop, go to Settings and select Devices > Bluetooth & other devices.
  • Switch Bluetooth on, then select Add Bluetooth or other device followed by Bluetooth.
  • Select your phone when it appears and follow the pairing steps.
  • Once paired, open Settings on your phone and go to Network & internet > Hotspot & tethering and turn on Bluetooth tethering.

Now, you can share your laptop’s mobile internet connection with your phone.

  • Expand the Windows System Tray and right click the Bluetooth icon, then select Join a Personal Area Network.
  • Find your phone’s icon in the menu and right-click it.
  • Choose Connect using > Access point.

Tethering a phone to a laptop via portable Wi-Fi hotspot

Using mobile data via a portable Wi-Fi hotspot is useful if you need an internet connection for more than one device. It basically turns a smartphone into a mini Wi-Fi router.


  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > Mobile Data > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Personal Hotspot.
  • Turn Personal Hotspot on, making a note of your Wi-Fi password.
  • Open Available Networks on your laptop and select your iPhone from the list.
  • Enter your iPhone’s Wi-Fi password to connect.


  • On your phone, go to Settings, find the Wireless and Networks section and tap on ‘Tethering & portable hotspot’.
  • Still on your phone, go to ‘Set up Wi-Fi hotspot’ and set your network name and password to something recognisable and memorable.
  • Switch on your phone’s hotspot.
  • On your laptop, open Available Networks and select your phone from the list.
  • Enter your phone’s Wi-Fi password to connect.