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This chapter is from the book

Making Mobile Connections with the iPhone and Cellular Data Cards

If you’re one of the millions of people with an iPhone or a cellular data card, also called a wireless wide area network (WWAN) network access card, chances are that you can use it (with the proper plan!) to access the Internet using your MacBook wherever you are. This process is called tethering and can be performed either wirelessly via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or through a direct (USB) connection to your MacBook.

Tethering Wirelessly to an iPhone Using Wi-Fi

To access the Internet wirelessly using your iPhone’s data services, you first need to subscribe to a tethering plan through AT&T or Verizon. Once your plan is ready, you have several options for how to connect your phone to your MacBook. If you have an iPhone 4 or newer, you can create a Wi-Fi hotspot to quickly get your MacBook and other Wi-Fi-ready devices online.

Enable tethering on the iPhone by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings application.
  2. Choose Personal Hotspot.
  3. Enter a password you want to use to connect to your iPhone hotspot in the Wi-Fi Password field on the iPhone.
  4. Turn Personal Hotspot ON using the switch in the iPhone interface.
  5. After a few seconds, your Wi-Fi hotspot will be ready—it will be named using the name set for your iPhone. Follow the instructions described in “Making a Wireless Connection” earlier in this chapter to connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot.

Tethering Wirelessly to an iPhone Using Bluetooth

Another Internet access method is via Bluetooth. You will need to use this (or USB tethering), if you have an iPhone 3GS. Enable Bluetooth tethering by completing these actions:

  1. Open the Settings application.
  2. Choose Personal Hotspot.
  3. Turn Personal Hotspot ON using the switch in the iPhone interface.
  4. Open the System Preferences application on your MacBook, and click the Bluetooth icon.
  5. Make sure that Bluetooth is turned on.
  6. Click the Show Bluetooth Status in the Menu Bar checkbox. This provides a convenient place for you to disconnect and connect from the network through your iPhone.
  7. Click the Set up New Device or + button to set up a new device. You need to “pair” your iPhone to your computer to use the iPhone’s Internet service. (Pairing is covered in depth in Chapter 10, “Connecting Devices to Your MacBook.”)
  8. The Bluetooth Setup Assistant launches and searches for devices.
  9. After a few seconds, the Bluetooth Setup Assistant displays an entry for your iPhone.
  10. Make sure your iPhone is selected in the list and then click Continue.
  11. The Setup Assistant provides a PIN and, simultaneously, you are prompted on your iPhone.
  12. Confirm the PIN and tap the Pair button on the iPhone screen. The iPhone-specific setup is now complete.
  13. The Setup Assistant on your MacBook shows that setup was successful. Click the Quit button.
  14. Open the System Preferences and click the Network Preferences button.
  15. Select the Bluetooth PAN interface.
  16. Click Connect to begin using your iPhone to access the Internet using your MacBook’s network.

Tethering with USB to an iPhone

If you find your iPhone low on power or are having signal strength problems with Bluetooth, you might want to use a USB connection to charge your phone and access the Internet simultaneously.

  1. To tether to your iPhone via USB, make sure that iPhone Internet tethering is active (as described in “Tethering Wirelessly to an iPhone”).
  2. Using an Apple iPhone cable, connect the iPhone to one of your MacBook’s unused USB ports.
  3. Open the System Preferences and click the Network icon.
  4. iPhone USB appears in the list of network interfaces. Click to select it.
  5. Click Apply to connect and begin using the iPhone’s Internet connection on your computer.
  6. To disconnect, unplug your iPhone.

Using Cellular Data Cards

If you don’t have an iPhone, you might want to use a cellular data card (WWAN card) to connect your MacBook to the Internet. There are a wide variety of WWAN cards that work out of the box on Snow Leopard.

Configuring a WWAN Card for Use with Your MacBook

Using a supported WWAN card is easy, as long as the card has been properly provisioned by your service provider!

  1. Plug the WWAN card into your computer.
  2. Open the Network System Preference panel.
  3. The Network Preference panel opens, showing the new device. Make sure it is selected in the interface list.
  4. Configure the settings using the information provided by your ISP. In most cases, you won’t need to do anything.
  5. Click the Show WWAN Status in Menu Bar button to display a menu item for the card.
  6. Choose to connect automatically, if desired.
  7. If you have been given specific network settings instructions by your ISP, click the Advanced button and enter the options as described in “Manually Configuring Network Settings.”
  8. Click Connect to begin using your WWAN card.

Managing Your WWAN Connection

If you chose to add the WWAN status to your menu bar as described in the previous section, you can use it to monitor and manage your connection.

  1. The WWAN menu bar displays the signal strength of your device.
  2. Use the Connect and Disconnect options under the menu to connect or disconnect from the Internet.
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