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Create a WiFi Hotspot – Share Your Internet Connection in Leopard

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In the last few weeks I’ve been in a situation twice where only one person had Internet access (me) and needed to share it with other people or devices. The first time we were at a convention center and only had wired internet access at the booth. We had several iPhones we needed to use to display a website (we were demoing a new mobile website). The second time our wireless router went out in the office and only a handful of computers are running on a hard-wired ethernet connection.

In both cases, we needed to access the Internet and having a Mac saved the day. It was extremely simple and quick to share my internet connection on my MacBook Pro using built-in features in Mac OS X.

To share an internet connection over Airport, you will need to be connected to the internet by either a wired ethernet connection or by a cellular card. I used a Verizon V740 card to share the internet connection at the convention and hard-wired ethernet connection at the office when our router went out.

So how do you share your Internet connection using Mac OS X? See the tutorial below, or take a look at the video.

Open the preferences pane and click “Sharing”:

Click on the name “Internet Sharing” which will bring up the internet sharing information to the right of the preference pane:

Choose the type of internet you want to share (I have “Built-in Ethernet” selected to share):

in the “To computers using:” section check the box labeled “Airport”:

If you want to name the network, set encryption or a password, click “Airport Options…”:

Once you have configured the settings, check the box next to “Internet Sharing” on the left and you will be prompted with a warning: “Are you sure you want to turn on Internet sharing?” Click Start.

Now your internet connection should be shared. In place of your normal WiFi signal strength indicator you should see the icon on the right.

Also check out the video:

Internet Connection Sharing

43 Responses to “Create a WiFi Hotspot – Share Your Internet Connection in Leopard”

  1. Thanks for putting this together, I thought it must be possible to share a mobile internet connection wirelessly – I am not sure why any of the providers where I am do not provide a mobile internet wireless router.

  2. This worked great using my MacBook Pro at school. Was able to create my own personal WiFi network so me and some of my classmates could connect with our iPads and such.

  3. I’ve done it on my Macbook with 10.4.11, so it’s recognized with my PC, my other laptop with Win7, my DS, my iPod. and also my mobile, but it doesn’t connect. any option of solving it?

  4. My main router is in my loft and its built-in WiFi doesn’t reach too well to my lounge.

    As my iMac has a wired gigabit connection, the built in WiFi was redundant and always off. I have used this method to effective provide an extended WiFi service in my lounge to my mobile devices like my NDS, iPhone etc.

    It works well for providing Internet access from the iMac, but because it creates a secondary IP range of 10.0.x.x, I am finding it doesn’t allow some Remote apps on my iPhone to find their way back to any of my local computers (like my Mac Miini Media Center) which is a bit disappointing.

    The iMac and all my other computers are on a 192.168.x.x range.
    Is there anyway with this WiFi Sharing feature that you can allow a route back to your local area network too???

  5. I have done all the steps on my iMac (10.5.8) and have the airport with arrow icon, my macbook (10.6.2) sees the airport network and logs in to it, but will not work on internet (server not found, etc.)

  6. You sir (Brandon), are a Genius!!! I will admit when it comes to computers I am a three year old – but thank you!

    If you have any ideas on how I can win the lottery too that would be brilliant!

  7. I have tried this with my husbands iphone and it worked a treat … but now I am trying it with my ipod touch and it REFUSES to work. I have the upward arrow on the macbookpro and I have a good ethernet connection on the macbookpro and I can see the network with the itouch and connect.. but nothing comes down it. Any ideas? I’m in a hotel – can they block me from doing this? Is there some other setting I need to change? Been fiddling around for an hour now.

  8. Chicken Bus

    Hey everyone. I’ve been using the internet sharing for a while now. Seems faster and more stable than my wireless router as well (which seems a little odd, but not complaining.)
    My only problem with this set up is that my iMac’s aiport reverts back to receiving wifi (rather than emitting for sharing) every time I restart the computer. It’s not a big deal to set it up every time, but it seems that it should be possible to make the sharing set up the default set up. Any ideas how to do that?

  9. I tried EVERYTHING, but my ipod disconnects as soon as I try to connect to the internet that I just created from my MacBook. The little upward arrow thing goes away and my internet sharing turns off automatically.

    Also, when I click ‘>’ on my iPod to look at the IP Address of my MacBook, there is nothing… it is completely blank.

    Someone please email me at [email protected], I would greatly appreciate it. I’ve spent weeks trying to figure this out.


  10. @HD Boy: have you tried the Airfoil app? It should do what you are looking for. It is more versatile hzan the built-in iTunes remote speakers function, and is very easy to set up.

  11. I am running osx 10.4.11 and I want to share my built in ethernet connection with my wireless laptop so i can go anywhere at home and share the macs internet through the built in airport

    Cable Modem –to–
    Built-in Ethernet of iMac 700Mhz G4 PowerPc OS X 10.4.11–to–
    built-in airport–to–PC
    Dell Lattitude 850Mhz Intel P!!! XP SP2 With Linksys Wireless-G Notebook Apadter

    I can connect the computer together with the wifi but I get no internet on the pc
    I have enabled personal websharing and I tried turning off the firewalls still no internet.
    In some screenshots I noticed a few options not listed in my services pane. like internet sharing any ideas

    thank you all in advance for any information you have available on this subject

  12. Alyce LaGasse

    Great … I got it… and the other Mac recognizes mine via airport but can’t connect to the internet. How do I get it to be able to be online? I am using 2 MacBookPros and a verizon USB 720 air card.

    Thanks so much.

  13. This works fine for me as long as I keep my firewall turned off, which is really not a good idea. Has anybody figured out how to make this work, AND use the built-in Mac OS X firewall to protect your computer for attacks? If so, please post the solution here.

  14. HD Boy

    So, will this technique also allow iTunes to see and utilize any external speakers attached to the “Sharing” computer?

    I’d love to be able to remotely access the good Bose speakers in my office (connected to a Mac Pro) from iTunes on my PowerBook. This capability would enable the “Sharing” computer to replicate the Airport Express’ AirTunes feature, without having to install another Airport Express in small room…

    Now that would be cool.

  15. Philip Shane

    really love your screencasts. :-)

    but I have to convert them to get them to play on my iPhone. any chance of publishing an iPhone ready version of ’em?

  16. This never works for me when I’m at work.

    Since my office’s authentication certificates won’t work on my iPhone via Wifi, I try to share my ethernet connection from my MBP.

    It seems that regardless of my internet sharing options, my Airport automatically connects to the office Airport network. No sharing ever occurs.

    All that I can think of is to tell my Airport settings to ‘forget’ my office network… but I don’t want to do that everytime I want to share my ethernet wirelessly because I use both wired & wifi frequently throughout the day.

  17. Hah, I do this all the time at my Uni. Very useful and usually very speedy. In a vice versa method, at home I use the wireless access from my Mac to pipe a signal via ethernet to another computer without a wireless card installed.