Tethering iphone 3GS and ipad 1G using bluetooth…

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Yep, it works. I was kinda disappointed when firmware 4.3 was introduced and the 3GS owners were left in the cold as far as wifi hotspot sharing. Apple only activated that function on the iphone 4. Anyhow, after messing around with the menus a bit tonite, I figured out how to do something similar to wifi tethering (hotspot) of ipad to the iphone 3GS using bluetooth. Here is how you do it:

  1. Turn wifi off on your 3GS and ipad device. I’m testing from home so I wanted to make sure I was NOT using wifi.
  2. Turn on Bluetooth on both your 3GS and ipad device. This is under Settings/General
  3. On the iphone 3GS turn on “Personal Hotspot”.
  4. On the ipad go back to the Bluetooth menu and let it scan for a second. You’ll find a Entry for your iPhone soon. Click on the entry and connect.
  5. You’ll be prompted on the iphone and the ipad to make sure you see the same code. Just say Okay/Yes.
  6. Viola, you’re tethering your ipad to your iphone 3GS using bluetooth. You should see a Blue throbbing menu bar on top of your iphone 3GS saying “Personal Hotspot: 1 Connection”.

To stop turn Personal Hotspot off on the iphone. If you need to connect again, turn Personal Hotspot on (assuming BT is on already) and click on the iPhone entry in the Bluetooth menu on your ipad.

N.B. The iphone can also “share” it’s wifi connection with the ipad using bluetooth. Neato :-). Oh and that GPS location transfer thing that people are talking about using wifi tethering doesn’t seem to work when using BT…..Oh well, small price to pay.

UPDATE: After a bit of testing here are some numbers. These were done around midnight on Rogers/Fido Network through bluetooth (iphone 3GS on 3G):

  • Ping: ~320ms
  • Download: 1.53 Mbps
  • Upload: 0.23 Mbps

Not bad for bluetooth I guess.

8 Comments

  • Rick

    I just wanted to let you know that your iPhone 3GS tethering blog was the best info I’ve been able to come across on a lot of surfing: clear, step-by-step, and most importantly it worked! That is awesome, great to have the use of the interweb on the iPad on the rare times I need it away from wi-fi!
    By the way, you also know more than the tech support at Rogers, who said it couldn’t be done on the 3GS. (Shocking, I know.)
    Thanks for posting – keep up the good work!

  • dubster

    I agree with Rick – great instructions.

    I had a problem where the iPhone was already in my iPad’s list of Bluetooth devices but wasn’t connecting.

    Solved the problem by tapping “forget this device” pairing again as shown above and it all worked.

  • Les

    Hi good info but I am trying to tether my iphone 3gs to my laptop – no bluetooth – any ideas?
    thanks

  • kck

    Just checked and it looks like you have to modify your data plan with AT&T if you want to setup your 3Gs as a hotspot — assuming you don’t have it already.

    I currently have an older unlimited data plan (yeah!) — would have to go to the $60/mo 4GB limited data plan for the hotspot feature. ugh!

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