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Share Your MacBook's Internet Connection with Your iPhone or iPad

Some hotels are greedy and charge for internet connectivity, or even worse they limit internet to a single wired connection per room - like the hotel I'm staying in right now. They only have a single Ethernet cable in the room and no WiFi.

Fortunately I'm using a MacbookPro which makes it's fairly easy to share the internet connection with my iPhone and iPad. Just turn on Internet Sharing and the built-in Airport will act like a wireless access point that you can connect to from any wireless device, just like you would connect to your wireless home network.

Here's the step-by-step:

1. Make sure an Ethernet cable is plugged into your Mac and you can browse the web.

2. Make sure your Airport is also turned on, by clicking the wireless icon in your menu bar and selecting "Turn Airport On".

3. Open System Preferences (click the Apple icon on the menu bar and you'll see it as a menu option) and select "Sharing".

4. Click "Internet Sharing" and make sure "Ethernet" is selected in the "Share your connection from" dropdown, and "Airport" is selected in the "To computers using" listbox.

5. Click "Internet Sharing" one more time and you'll be asked if you're sure you want to turn on Internet Sharing. Click "Start" to turn it on and start sharing your internet connection with your iPhone or iPad.

That's all it takes to share your Mac's internet connection and then you'll be able to connect your iPad or iPhone to it the same way you'd connect to any other wireless network.

How to Pair a Bluetooth Device with Your Windows PC

Question: How do I connect my Bluetooth wireless phone with my laptop, so that I can send and receive files?

Answer: Connecting your Bluetooth wireless phone with your laptop is called pairing, and I'll use a Blackberry Curve to show you how it works. You can do this with any bluetooth-enabled phone, although the menu options might be slightly different depending on the type of phone you have.

Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on your phone. For Blackberry phones, that means selecting the "Set Up Bluetooth" application from the main screen, and then selecting "Enable Bluetooth" after clicking the menu button.

I'm assuming your laptop comes with a built-in Bluetooth adapter (or you can get a bluetooth adapter like this one, that plugs into one of your USB ports).

Next, set up your computer to allow Bluetooth connections. If your computer comes with Bluetooth, then you'll see a Bluetooth icon in your Control Panel (Start button -> Control Panel from Vista):

Double-click the Bluetooth icon and you'll see a Bluetooth Devices dialog. Click the Options tab and make sure the options to "Allow Bluetooth devices to find this computer" and "Allow Bluetooth devices to connect to this computer" are both checked.

How to Connect to the Internet using a Tethered Cell Phone

Question: "My cell phone lets me browse the web, so it seems I should be able to use that connection from my laptop. Is there a way to connect my laptop to the Internet using my cell phone?"

Answer: Yes, you can use your cell phone's internet connection to browse the web on your laptop, by connecting your cell phone to your laptop with a USB data cable and software that handles the connection(also known as "tethering").

What you'll need

  • A web-enabled cell phone with a data plan. If you can browse the web on your cell phone, then it's web-enabled, but you still need to have a data plan with your wireless service provider (e.g. AT&T) in order to use your cell phone as a tethered laptop modem.
  • A USB data cable or a Bluetooth adapter. You'll use the USB data cable to connect/tether your cell phone to your computer, or the Bluetooth adapter to connect without any wires.
  • Tethering software programs like DataConnect or Mobile PhoneTools Bluetooth that use your cell phone as a modem.

Tethering your cell phone to your laptop

  1. Connect your web-enabled cell phone to your laptop
  2. If you're using a USB data cable, then you'll plug your phone into your laptop which will also charge your phone's battery while it's connected.



    If your phone is Bluetooth-enabled - and most new phones are - then you can connect your phone without any wires by pairing it with your laptop.

    For Motorola phones, open the phone and select the following menu options:

    Menu --> Settings --> Connection --> Bluetooth Link --> Setup --> Power

Why can't I connect to the Internet with my iPod touch?

Question: I own the iPod touch but am having difficulty getting a wifi signal. How do I get around this?

Answer: The iPod touch gives you wireless access to the web, but only if you're in range of a wifi access point.

From Apple's web site: "iPod touch finds wireless networks and connects you to the Internet". That can be a little misleading to some people, especially since not everyone knows that most wireless networks only have a range of a few hundred yards.

Not all wifi networks allow free Internet access either. Many wifi centers like Starbucks or McDonald's charge you 2 or 3 bucks for the connectivity, which can add up quickly!

Here's how to connect to the Internet with an iPod touch:

Assuming you have a wifi network at home, or are near a wifi hotspot, go to Settings and then Wi-Fi on your iPod touch.

Choose your Network, and enter a Password if prompted, and you should be connected to the internet. Note: Make sure the password you enter is the password for the wifi network and not the password for your computer.

If you don't see a network in the list of networks, then you might not be in range of any wifi access points.

Connecting to Commercial Networks (hotels, cafes, etc)

If you're trying to connect to a cafe wifi like Peet's Coffee, or a hotel wifi network like The Hilton, then you'll usually need to agree to their Terms & Conditions before they'll let you access the internet or check email.

Open Safari and try to visit a web site like google.com and you'll see their terms and conditions page. Accept the terms (and pay any usage fees if applicable) and you should be able to get online.

Try renewing the DHCP lease

If you are having issues connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot, like at an airport or coffee shop, try renewing your DHCP lease.

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