How to Share Your iPhone’s Data Connection Right Now

Don’t want to wait until iOS 4.3 becomes publicly available to share your iPhone’s (s aapl) data connection? There’s a way to do it, but you’ll need to also have a Mac handy, so it isn’t the most portable solution. Still, if you’re travelling with a group and your hotel doesn’t have Wi-Fi, or you’ve setup a multi-device mobile workstation on a train, it could come in handy. And since the iPhone 3G won’t be getting iOS 4.3, this could come in handy for users not yet wanting to retire older devices.

First, you’ll need to have tethering enabled on your iPhone. Tethering allows you to share your connection with one device over Bluetooth or USB. If you don’t know how to enable tethering, or get it working on your Mac, has a great step-by-step guide.

Once you’ve got tethering enabled, you can share your connection with other devices using your Mac’s built-in AirPort Wi-Fi. You can do this in System Preferences under “Sharing.” The screencast below shows exactly how to do this.

You can also enable WEP password encryption by clicking on the “AirPort Options” button on the Internet Sharing screen.

Now that you’ve set up Internet Sharing, you should be able to find a Wi-Fi network on your other devices with the network name of your Mac, which in this case is “Darrell’s iMac.” Just select that network, and enter the WEP password you chose if you enabled password protection.

I’ve used this little trick frequently on family vacations, and will probably have cause to use it more than once before iOS 4.3 becomes available to everyone. Watch your usage, though, as you could hit your monthly bandwidth limit pretty quickly depending on who you share with.

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