When you’re away from home or your office, mobile hotspots can be your next best solution to get an internet connection on your laptop using a smartphone. This can come in handy when your primary internet connection goes down and your only other source of internet is the cellular data on your phone.
In this post, we’ll help you understand what Android WiFi Hotspot is, how it works, and how you can fix issues revolving around Android hotspot not working.
What is Android Hotspot?
With Android’s native hotspot feature, the mobile data on your Android phone can be shared wirelessly with other devices like a computer, tablet, or other mobile phones. The feature takes your cellular data and transmits it to other devices by creating a Wi-Fi network from within your smartphone without the need for any external transmitting device.
How Android Hotspot Works
Old smartphones as well as new ones come with wireless transmitters which can act as a mini WiFi router for the data it receives through a cellular network. When you switch on an Android hotspot, your mobile device treats your cellular connection like a broadband modem and uses the data to distribute it to a wireless network as if it were a router.
The device which you enabled as a hotspot will now be visible in your list of WiFi sources that are available for connection nearby. Turn ON your cellular data and Android hotspot, you have got yourself internet access to connect all of your other devices.
Related: How to use Roku without WiFi
How to fix Android hotspot not working problem
The following solutions can help you solve the Android hotspot not working problem on your Android device.
Solution #1: Check if your mobile internet connection is working
The first thing you need to check when your mobile hotspot isn’t working is to see whether your cellular data is actually available for use or not. You can check if your mobile data is working by browsing through different websites or apps on the phone that is set as the hotspot.
Since most mobile data connections are metered, if you cannot open a webpage or use an app, there’s a chance that you have already surpassed the daily/monthly data limit that your ISP has set for you. Depending on how you have configured your carrier services, you might be able to use data beyond the limit, which could cost you more than your expected billing amount.
Solution #2: Turn WiFi OFF, then ON on the receiving device
In some instances, the internal WiFi modem on your phone might not be able to directly connect to a wireless network, even if you have previously connected to the same network with no problems. Turning the WiFi OFF on the receiver phone and switching it back ON might be able to solve the issue.
To switch your mobile WiFi OFF and ON, swipe down on your screen from the top edge to get the Quick Settings toggles and tap on the WiFi icon.
Alternatively, you can also access this option by opening the Settings app on your phone, selecting ‘Network and Internet’, and then toggling the switch adjacent to WiFi to OFF and then ON.
Solution #3: Restart your phone
Modern smartphones work similarly to that of computers and most of the time, fixing an issue just needs a simple fix which is to restart the phone. When a device is restarted, many low-level problems get resolved as your device’s cache and logs are clearing during the reboot process.
You can restart an Android device by pressing and holding the power button on your phone and then tapping on the ‘Restart’ option that pops up on the screen.
Solution #4: Connect to the hotspot network and check if you’re entering the correct password
Since the need for your Android hotspot only comes with your primary internet connection fails, then it’s important to go check if you’re actually connected to the mobile hotspot. You can also manually connect to a particular wireless network by going to Settings > Network and internet > WiFi and then selecting the network you want to connect to.
If you have previously attempted to connect to the hotspot but entered an incorrect password, then you might be unable to connect to the network. To solve this problem, open the WiFi Settings (Settings > Network and internet > WiFi), select your network, and click on the ‘Forget’ button. This network will now be removed from your ‘Saved networks’ list.
You can now manually connect to the hotspot by going into WiFi Settings as described above, tapping on the wireless hotspot again and this time, entering the correct password.
Solution #5: Change the frequency band to 2.4GHz
Many recent Android devices allow you to connect to and create hotspots with a 5GHz frequency band because it allows data to be transmitted faster over a wireless network.
However, some Android phones do not come with the ability to connect to a 5GHz band, even if you managed to create one from one of your devices. In such cases, the 5GHz hotspot network that you created won’t even be visible on the unsupported receiving device, preventing you from connecting to it.
If your device doesn’t support 5GHz connections, you can switch the Android hotspot to a 2.4GHz band, which is supported by any device which has WiFi support. You can do so by opening the Settings app and going to Network and Internet > Hotspot and tethering > Wi-Fi hotspot. In this screen, tap on Advanced, then tap ‘AP band’ and select ‘2.4 GHz band’ from the popup menu. Now try connecting your device to the hotspot network.
Solution #6: Verify whether the problem is with the receiving device
Sometimes it might not be the phone that’s used as the hotpot but the device you’re trying to connect it with that might have a problem. It could have something to do with the device software or a hardware failure, preventing it from connecting to the hotspot.
To check if the inability to connect to the hotspot is within the receiving device, try to connect to your Android hotspot on some other device, like a laptop, tablet, or another smartphone. If other devices are able to connect the hotspot, then there’s something wrong with your receiver device.
Solution #7: Check if you have surpassed your daily mobile data limit
Besides your carrier restricting you from accessing the internet after you have consumed a significant amount of data, your Android device can also be configured to issue a warning when you’re closing in on your daily/monthly data consumption. This not only monitors your data consumption but also sets a limit beyond which your device won’t be able to access the internet, even if your carrier lets you do it.
The option to set mobile data limits dates all the way back to Android 4.4 KitKat, meaning almost all the Android devices that you might see in the market come with the feature, under different names. If you have reached your daily/monthly data limit on your Android phone, then sharing your internet connection using a mobile hotpot will result in no internet access on the receiving smartphone.
You can proceed to disable this limit by going to Settings > Network and Internet > Mobile network > Data warning & limit and then toggling OFF the ‘Set data limit’ option.
Note: Disabling data limit will get your internet working again but this might result in additional costs if you’re on a metered data plan.
Solution #8: Recreate a new Open network hotspot without password protection
Android hotspot tethering comes with password protection so that only you can connect to your device’s wireless network and that it’s no exploited by others in your vicinity. But sometimes, your devices might just fail to connect to an encrypted network for no underlying reason.
If your device isn’t able to connect to the hotspot even after entering the correct password, you should try switching to an Open network. You can do so by selecting your hotspot connection (Network and Internet > Hotspot and tethering > Wi-Fi hotspot), tapping on Security, and then selecting ‘None’ instead of ‘WPA2-Personal’.
You can also change the hotspot name to avoid any previous connection problem. Now try connecting to the new hotspot network. If your device is successfully able to connect to the open network, you can try creating a new hotspot network with password protection to keep it from getting exploited by others around you. If not, leave your network open.
Note: Open networks can leave you unprotected from someone else trying to access your internet connection which might in turn result you in paying more than you were supposed for your monthly cellular bill.
Solution #9: Create an open network hotspot, connect to this network, and switch hotspot back to password-protected network
You can easily create a new network as we mentioned in Solution #8. To help you protect your open hotspot, you can take this necessary precaution before you continue using your hotspot. This solution is connected to Solution #8 and depends on the fact that your device is successfully able to host a hotspot network.
Here, you will first be creating an open network as we helped you in Solution #8 and then connect your other device to this open network. Once the device connects to the hotspot, go to Settings > Network and Internet > Hotspot and tethering > Wi-Fi hotspot. In this screen, tap on ‘Security’, select ‘WPA2-Personal’, and create a password for your hotspot.
Try to connect devices to this password-protected hotspot (you don’t need to forget this network) and enter the password that you just used to create the password-protected network. If the device successfully connects to this network, your issue should be considered resolved.
Solution #10: Disable automatic hotspot switching
Some new phones come with the functionality that switches OFF the hotspot automatically when no device is connected to it for a few minutes. This means, your receiving device won’t be able to access the hotspot after it gets into sleep mode or if it has been restarted.
You can disable the feature by heading over to Network and Internet > Hotspot and tethering > Wi-Fi hotspot and then switching the ‘Turn off hotspot automatically’ toggle to OFF position. This will make sure your hotspot is active all the time, even when the receiver device is idle.
Solution #11: Disable Battery saving mode
Android has a built-in Battery saving mode which turns off several power-consuming features of a phone to run the bare essentials. Using the Android hotspot with battery saver mode enabled can sometimes affect the former’s functionality, leaving you with no hotspot to connect to.
It’s thus advisable to turn off Battery Saver mode on your phone when it is being used as a mobile hotspot. To turn off Battery Saver on your phone, open Settings, go to Battery > Battery Saver, and tap on the ‘Turn off now’ button.
Solution #12: Reboot your phone into safe mode
If none of the above solutions work and you have tried rebooting your phone normally, you can proceed to restart your phone but in Safe mode. Booting up your Android device in safe mode lets you check whether an ongoing problem is being caused due to a third-party app. That’s because, in Safe mode, all third-party apps are disabled by default and do not start up unless opened.
You can reboot your phone into safe mode by pressing and holding the Power button until the Power menu appears. On the Power menu, tap and hold on the Power off button after which you will be asked if you want to ‘Reboot to safe mode’. Tap on OK and let your device restart and boot into Safe mode.
When inside Safe mode, try enabling the Android hotspot and check if it works. Reboot back to normal Android by pressing and holding the Power button when done.
Solution #13: Editing access point inside Mobile network
In one of the responses to a Pixel Phone help page, a user suggested that they were able to solve the hotspot not working issue by editing the access point settings of the mobile network. Other commenters to the post have also reported that this fix has worked in making hotspot on their phones to work.
The fix essentially involves modifying APN type inside access point settings. To do that, head over to the access point settings screen on your phone by opening the Settings app and going to Network and internet > Mobile network > Advanced > Access point names. Tap on the 3-dots icon at the top right and select ‘New APN’.
Inside this ‘Edit access point’ screen, tap on the ‘APN type’ and here, enter “,DUN” inside the APN the box. After this, save the new access point name by tapping on the 3-dots icon and selecting ‘Save’. This should resolve your hotspot internet immediately.
Solution #14: Try Bluetooth tethering instead
Besides WiFi tethering, Android also takes advantage of the inbuilt Bluetooth components to tether your cellular data to other devices wirelessly. Although slower than traditional WiFi networks, Bluetooth tethering is a reliable alternative if you wish to use your Android device’s mobile data on some other device.
You can enable Bluetooth tethering by opening the Settings app and heading over to Network and Internet > Hotspot and tethering. Here, tap on the toggle adjacent to ‘Bluetooth tethering’ to ON and you will be able to share your phone’s internet connection by pairing it to the receiving device via Bluetooth.
Solution #15: Reset your phone’s Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth settings
Android lets you reset a few settings within your phone before you decide to erase your phone in all its entirety. Inside the Settings app, you can individually reset just your phone’s network settings similar to how iOS offers a dedicated option for the same.
You can clear your network settings on Android by opening the Settings app, going to System > Advanced > Reset options, and selecting the ‘Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth’ option. Wait till Android clears your network settings, set up a new hotspot connection on your phone, and check whether the mobile hotspot is working.
Solution #16: Force Stop the Settings app and clear its storage
Some users have also revealed that clearing the Settings app’s storage might also help solve the hotspot issue on your Android device. Suggested by this user, you can first force stop the Settings app and then clear its storage after going to Settings > Apps and notifications > See all apps and then selecting the ‘Settings’ app from the list.
Inside the App Info screen, tap on the ‘Force stop’ button to close the app. The screen will now close and when it does, you need to come back to this same screen by following the instructions above. Once you’re back in the same App Info screen, select ‘Storage’ and tap on the ‘Clear storage’ button on the next screen.
All the settings that you saved on your phone will now be cleared. However, your data is still safe and sound. You can follow this method and check if the hotspot is working for you before you decide to reset your entire phone.
Solution #17: Reset the device to factory settings
If you’ve reached a scenario where none of the above solutions solve your Android hotspot problem, your only option is to reset your Android phone to its factory setting. Keep in mind that resetting your device to factory settings will remove all of your user data including your photos, videos, settings, contacts, and other info. So do this only if you’re out of any other option.
To factory reset your device, open the Settings app, go to System > Advanced > Reset options and select ‘Erase all data (factory reset)’.
Solution #18: If nothing works, take it to the Repair center
Factory resetting your phone turns your phone into a new device, at least in terms of software. So, if your device isn’t able to function as a proper hotspot device, then the problem is hardware-centric, in which case, there’s nothing you can do personally. If that’s the case, we suggest you go to the Authorized repair center of your phone’s manufacturer who will be able to verify where the problem really is.
Did this post help you solve the Android hotspot not working problem on your phone?