Using Personal Hotspot with Straight Talk


Many readers ask me how to use their iPhone’s Personal Hotspot or Android’s Tethering & Portable Hotspot feature with Straight Talk WirelessUnfortunately in most cases you can’t even turn it on and even if you can your not supposed to use it. Straight Talk’s Terms of Service agreement explicitly prohibits the use of this feature.

For those of you who do not know, Personal or Portable Hotspot is a feature that lets you share the cellular data from your phone with your laptop, tablet, or other devices so they can connect to the internet. With Personal Hotspot, you connect your other devices to smartphone using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a USB cable and use the cellular data connection on your phone to get on the Internet.

If you find that the feature does work for you, use it at your own risk. I don’t use it myself, others report using it with no issue, others have said that if Straight Talk detects you are using it they may disable your account.

If you really want or need hotspot, consider switching to another prepaid wireless carrier. AT&T’s, Verizon’s, Cricket Wireless’, and Total Wireless’s support Personal Hotspot and Tethering & Portable Hotspot. And in 2017, many of these other prepaid wireless plans over as much or more high speed data as Straight Talk and our competitively priced.

As I said though using Straight Talk’s Terms of Service specifically states you can “tether” other devices to your phone and share the data. From TERMS AND CONDITIONS: STRAIGHTTALK WIRELESS see section 6.
sttos

Turning on Personal Hotspot

As you can see in my video below, I tried using Hotspot with four different combinations. I tried to use it with iPhone and my Google Nexus 5x (Android) using both Straight Talk’s AT&T and Verizon Networks. Out of the four combinations, I was only able to get hotspot working on my Nexus 5x using Straight Talk’s Verizon network. When I tried to use hotspot with the Nexus 5X and Straight Talk’s AT&T network, I could see the Tethering & Portable Hotspot options in Settings, but when I tried to turn it on a message saying “Account not set up for tethering: to enable go to att.com/mywireless or dial 611. Since my wireless company is Straight Talk and not AT&T, I not able to use AT&T’s mywireless to enable tethering.

I also tried to turn on Personal Hotspot on my iPhone SE using Straight Talk’s Verizon network. I was able to go into Settings > Cellular and choose Setup Personal Hotspot. Unfortunately, as soon as I tried to turn it on a message saying “Set Up Personal Hotspot: To enable Personal Hotspot on this account, visit http://mobile.vzw.com/hybridClient/mvn/hotspot appeared. Since my wireless company is Straight Talk and not Verizon, I not able to use Verizon’s My Verizon Mobile to enable tethering. Finally I tried to turn on Personal Hotspot on my iPhone 6s using Straight Talk’s AT&T network. I didn’t get very far. The Setup Personal Hotspot option in Settings is missing.

So I was only able to get Portable Hotspot to work with my Nexus 5x using Straight Talk’s Verizon network, and even then I’m still breaking my service agreement if I use it.

So what should you do if you really want to use hotspot? Well if hotspot is an important feature for you, consider switching to a prepaid wireless serivce that supports the feature. For people that want to use the Verizon network, Verizon Wireless prepaid supports hotspot. For those who want to use the AT&T network, I’m currently looking to see if I can find a alternative. It looks like AT&T GoPhone may let you add data as well.

See my video below.

65 Comments

  1. Brandon | | Reply

    I bought a temporary phone from walmart LG something like 100 bucks that was straight talk branded and the mobile hotspot worked right out of the box and it works like a dream. I have had straight talk for about 3.5 years now.

    • Brandon | | Reply

      Also I would like to add that it will not work on my IPhone 6S Plus. Which was ATT branded.

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        I couldn’t get it to work with the iPhone on either network

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      In my video I show it worked for me with an Android phone on Straight Talk’s Verizon network. Was your phone using the Verizon or AT&T network?

  2. Phillip | | Reply

    Thank you for the video share. I just wish I would’ve seen this earlier. I was wondering why I couldnt find the tethering option on my iphone7plus.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      you are welcome. glad it helped.

  3. Suzanne | | Reply

    Hi! My husband and I have been using Verizon Straight Talk through Walmart for several years. We’re on the road alot and our phones have always sufficed when it came to using the internet. Recently we needed something more and bought a “hot spot” plan. First purchased 2 gigs, then 5, and 5 again. We are already down to 800 mb’s on this 3rd purchase…all in a span of less than a few weeks!

    My question (and what led me here) is ‘what is taking so much data/bandwidth?’ And, ‘Is there a better way??’

    We’re both using the Galaxy Grand Prime phone and seem to have always been able to watch as much video (not whole movies or anything) as we like, listen & download many podcasts, shows (audio) etc etc with never any over-use issues. He uses a Surface Pro and I a large HP laptop. Other than email, Facebook (I am the only one on it), news, amazon & craigs list browsing, articles/blog reading I can’t think of what’s taking all our data so quickly…we could have $200 into this in less than a month.

    Sometimes I’ll have many tabs open, is that a data-sucker? Does leaving the hotspot on all the time somehow suck data? Could there be a program running in our computers backround having an effect?

    Thanks so much for any advice, or just pointing me in the right direction to figure this all out! 😀
    Suzanne

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Off the top of my head, if you are using windows 10, set you internet connection as metered. https://www.howtogeek.com/226722/how-when-and-why-to-set-a-connection-as-metered-on-windows-10/

      Unlike a cell phone, I don’t think windows has a centralized place to track data usage by app. Check to see if your browser has a prefetch feature and make sure it is off. If you use dropbox, online backup, or some other file sync make sure that is off too.
      See if that helps. Are you connecting the two phones and two laptops to the hotspot? Your phone will also think they are on an WiFi connection so you need to make sure they aren’t downloading stuff in the background too.

  4. Tom | | Reply

    I had windows phone for a while and it worked flawlessly out the box with ST. now I got iPhone and no luck

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      They claim not to support it. In the video I got it to work on an android phone with one of the SIMs. I don’t recommend Straight Talk if you want hotspot. Other prepaid carriers support it.

  5. A.M. | | Reply

    Thank you so much for the info! I looked at a few different answers for this on the web and found no real answer so I appreciate this, a real answer. I have an iPhone 5s with ST. Part of my work is in office with laptop connected wifi other part is away from, I could be more productive if I had a hotspot for my tablet or work laptop when away. A friend has the same phone but has hotspot but he goes through att. I thought it had to do with carrier, which seems to be the case.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi A.M.
      I am glad you found the article helpful. Several other prepaid wireless carriers offer hotspot as a feature. You might consider changing services is this is a feature you would like. Check out smartphonematters.com for more info.

  6. Ed | | Reply

    Bob,

    Thanks for the article. What I find interesting specifically with respect to ST’s MVNO/resale of access to Verizon’s network is that there are specific Open Access rules (see 47 CFR 27.16) for the 700MHz ‘C’ block that Verizon uses that expressly state, with limited exceptions, that “Licensees offering service on spectrum subject to this section shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network. . .’ These rules were forced by Google as part of their bid for the C block which VZW ultimately won and it was these rules that forced VZW to reverse course and allow tethering apps on Google’s Play Store.

    Those with a grandfathered VZW unlimited data plan know the cat and mouse game with VZW regarding rooting phones to open up tethering, but newer ‘data bucket’ plans, and even VZW’s own pre-paid plans allow tethering. The interesting question is whether ST’s ToS restrictions on tethering violate the C-block rules and whether a case could be made that, for those ST customers using VZW’s network, the tethering restriction could be invalidated.

    While ST’s ToC may prohibit tethering

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Ed,
      Interesting points about the Open Access rules. You know it not clear to me if Straight Talk, Verizon, or both are responsible for the no tethering policy. I wouldn’t be surprised if both companies are responsible for the restriction. Verizon’s MVNO offering has always been the most restrictive compared to AT&T and T-Mobile. Verizon didn’t open its LTE network to MVNOs for a long time and even still Verizon has restricted the download speeds to 5 Mbps. On the other hand, Straight Talk doesn’t support tethering on any their networks so perhaps they chose not to.

      As of Winter 2016, I generally recommend that people choose Verizon prepaid over Straight Talk’s Verizon network. is pretty close and Verizon offers faster speeds and advanced network services.

      Thanks for the citation, they question comes up frequently.

  7. Scott | | Reply

    I have Samsung 6 on straight talk Verizon and personal hotspot works great

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      That’s great. It seems to work with some model phones. But you are still violating your terms of service by using it though.

  8. Allen | | Reply

    Is there anyway I can add a mobile hotspot to my Samsung Galaxy sky on Straight Talk Network need to setup Google Chromecast

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Not that I am aware of. It’s been a while since I set up my chromecast. Why do you need hotspot to set up a Chromecast? Is it you just need any internet connection.

  9. Dallas Black | | Reply

    Thank you, this is the only link that had the answer I was looking for.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Glad it helped. This article is actually pretty popular. A lot of people want to know about this.

      • Beach Bum | | Reply

        I’m confused , can I buy a mobile hotspot from straight talk and use there hot spot with my iPhone 6s ?

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          You can buy a mobile hotspot from Straight Talk and use it with your iPhone 6s. You cannot however use your iPhone 6 as a hotspot using iOS’s personal hotspot feature. That is what this article is about.

  10. CJ Christian | | Reply

    Bob, if someone is looking to use their phone as a hotspot and has good network coverage by T-mobile I’d recommend Wal-Mart Family Mobile. You can get unlimited talk and text plus 5Gb of high speed data for less than $40 and there’s no additional charge for the hotspot service.
    To be honest…… after seeing that I’m thinking my Straight Talk S4 might just have an accident. I hate that ST doesn’t allow their phones to update the version of android they’re running.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi CJ,
      You are correct that Family Mobile supports tethering, or mobile hotspot so you can connect your laptop or other devices to the Internet using your cellular data. They do use the T-Mobile network, so you need to be in an area where T-Mobile has coverage. T-Mobile has come along way in coverage in the last few years.

      Unfortunately, wireless carriers are responsible for deciding when if and when the Android phones they sell get updates. Several readers have commented about the lack of updates recently. I wonder if there is a website that tracks Android updates by phone and wireless carrier somewhere. On some level I can understand that ST doesn’t update low cost Android phones but not having updates for higher end models like the Galaxy S series is troubling. I’m a big fan of BYOP for prepaid myself. I myself use iPhone and Nexus phones, so all the phones get updates from Apple and Google respectively.

  11. Lyric | | Reply

    I have a iphone5s and when I first activated my straight talk phone it had personal hotspot for a day but it didn’t work then i powered it off and when I turned my phone back on personal hotspot was not in my setting and then I tried searching but it’s not on my phone what can I do to get it back on my phone

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I don’t know. Using hotspot is against the Straight Talk terms of service.

      • Ryan O. | | Reply

        I’ve had my iPhone 5C since May 2015, and only just today did the personal hotspot feature appear in my settings. The setting quickly disappeared again after a few minutes, but it is weird that it showed up at all more than a year after I got the phone, especially considering that StraightTalk does not support such a feature

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          The phone may have switched Carrier Profiles for a moment. This does happem

  12. Jake | | Reply

    Thank you very much

  13. Brian Blanton | | Reply

    I have a Galaxy S5 Verizon phone unlocked with Straight Talk plan is there anyway I can use the mobile hotspot everytime I try it says number not found any ideas thank you

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Straight Talk doesn’t offically support hotspot. A few other people with the S5 say they couldn’t get it to work or even set it up. I know one person using the ST AT&T network on the S6 had it working. Still, using it is against your Terms of Service .

    • Matt B | | Reply

      It can be done. You will definitely have to ‘root’ your phone first. ‘Jailbreaking’ only refers to Apple devices like iPads and iPhones.
      That being said, some phones are easier than others to turn your hotspot on. Once rooted, you have to install certain apps which allow you to edit the programming code of your phone. It is a fairly intense process and not for the faint of heart. But it can be done. I have had numerous phones over the past couple of years and have used my hotspot on each of those phones. I just don’t like anyone telling me what I can and can’t do with the data that I paid for.

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        Hi Matt,
        I appreciate you sharing your perspective.

        And yes, on some phones you can get it to work if you root the phone or jailbreak it and install special software. This is, mostly, beyond the scope of smartphonematters readers. I have nothing against anyone that wants to do that. I’m not going to recommend to my readers that they bypass the security on their phones to use a feature that wasn’t offered as part of the service they signed up for.

        You may not like the fact that Straight Talk prohibits use of hotspot, but you agreed to it in your terms of service when you signed up. You could choose a carrier that supports hotspot. In your case, you have chosen to ignore the TOS you agreed to. That’s fine. I doubt its legally enforceable, and in reality the only recourse Straight Talk would have would be to terminate your service.

        As I said in some of the comments, some people have said it works for them and they have no issues. I’ve read on other forums that Straight Talk used to actively look for and prevent customers from using hotspot.

        Regards,
        Bob

  14. Angelina | | Reply

    Under cellular i dont have personal hotspot. Can somebody please help me

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      The point of the article is that you aren’t supposed to. And they even go as far as hiding the options for it on many phones..

  15. Larry | | Reply

    Yes that’s true I have a galaxy s5 and can’t connect it to my laptop using my wifi Hotspot .is there a way to get my Hotspot to work on this phone with straight talk ?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      good question. I know someone using it on the S6… Can you even find the options for it in the menu.

  16. Austin | | Reply

    I have a Samsung galaxy s5 and I am wondering how to get the mobile hotspot to work on it. I have literally looked EVERYWHERE on the settings and still nothing… anything?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Austin,
      I don’t have a Galaxy S5, on my Nexus 6, the hot spot option is under Settings > Wireless & networks – More > Tethering & portable hotspot. Do note that using hot spot is against Straight Talk’s Terms of Service. I use an iPhone 6 with Straight Talk and I was never able to get it to work.

      • Austin | | Reply

        Ok, thank you for the feedback.

  17. Zach | | Reply

    Ive been streaming my hotspot for offend on for over 2 years and never had a problem the trick is to buy a less popular phone. I got an Asus zen fone 2 and hotspot worked like a charm.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Using hotspot with straight talk is against their terms of service. That said what you say seems to be true. It doesn’t work on some popular phones at all. On other phones, it does. And for years, I heard people claim it worked by straight talk detected it and shut them down. Others say the use hotspot with no problem.

  18. Ethan | | Reply

    Can this be done legally?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Ethan,
      It’s not illegal. It is against Straight Talk’s terms of service. They can cancel your account. No on cam take legal action against you. From what I’ve been told, it’s a cat and mouse game. I don’t advocate violating the terms of service. Shop for a plan than offers hotspot and your other needs.

  19. Ms.Pickels | | Reply

    Dont plan on trying to use the personal hotspot if you have Straight Talk because they will kick you off your plan if the find out

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Yes. I have heard that. Did it happen to you?

  20. Trevor | | Reply

    Hi Bob,
    I found ST has one activation service “mobile hot spots”. Would that be the service ST do provide now ?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Trevor,
      Mobile hot spot service from Straight Talk is for a separate modem you need to buy to link wifi devices to cellular data. It’s still against straight talk’s Terms of Service to use your phone as a personal hotspot with your calling plan.

  21. Jacob McDonald | | Reply

    I have a ST iPhone 5c is there any way to get personal hotspot on my iPhone so I can use the service on my laptop if so what do I have to do

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Jim,
      Pretty much what I said in the article hasn’t changed. No, unless you want to jailbreak.

  22. Jaystew | | Reply

    2015. Let that sink in ST. Wait for it.

    Okay. So data is throttled after 3gb.
    Why do you care that my $750 byod is allowing another device to use my data that you will throttle to below dialup after 3gb.

    Love the service area coverage. Love the robot I talk to to refill (read as dislike to offshore support.)

    Wut?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Jaystew,
      I don’t know what criteria Straight Talk used to determine their tethering or personal hotspot policy. It could be that more users will use the 3GB of high speed data. Maybe it is also part of the business agreement they have with att, tmobile, Verizon, and sprint to use their networks or affects the price they pay. I would imagine that providing tech support for tethering would be a nightmare. I admit it’s been a while since I checked but doesn’t the big 4 charge extra for personal hotspot?

      I am not sure if any prepaid wireless company offers tethering. I think I’ll look into that. If that feature is important for someone, they should certainly take that into consideration when shopping for a wireless plan.

      • Cindy | | Reply

        MetroPCS allows their phones to be used as a hotspot. Cost is $5 extra a month.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Hi cindy,
          That is good to know. Maybe a good option for those who live in places where MetroPCS has decent coverage. They use the TMobile network.

  23. Andrina | | Reply

    can I get some help regarding the pic messaging. I have been on the phone with customer service for the past one week and they couldn’t help me out with the problem. I can send pic message and receive it via mms, but I cant open it. Every time I open it, it will download it and then my phone blank out and then it will say “unfortunately messaging had stopped” and then will make u press “ok”.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Andrina,
      I replied to your first comment on the 9th. What version of Android is your phone running?

      • Andrina | | Reply

        Hi Bob
        Thanks for your reply. I didnt able to see yr previous comment. Anyway, m using samsung galaxy s2 skyrocket unlocked phone from att. The model is SGH l727.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Hi Andrina,
          If you phone is running a version of Android earlier than 4.03, try using this app https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tracfone.straighttalk.stdatasettings&hl=en.

          Otherwise
          Go to the APN settings page, do a reset to defaults.
          Delete any APNs left in the list after the reset.
          Create a new APN with your settings and test.
          Other wise try following this Help Setting up Straight Talk Data and MMS on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Running Android 4. You can also try setting your APN type to default, mms, wap.

          If that doesn’t work. Try this. Note I did this on my nexus, you should be able to do this on your phone.
          You are going to put your phone in recovery mode and clear the cache!

          Turn your phone off
          once off, hold the volume down. and the power key
          use the volume up until you see recovery mode
          tap the power button
          After the phone restarts,
          volume up
          scroll to Wipe the Cache Partition
          Tap the power to select
          wait
          Reboot system is selected in the menu
          tap power key

          wait for reboot.
          Follow the guide again and use the APN values below.

          A couple of notes.
          You can backup you phone before you do this, but it shouldn’t erase any data
          I did it to my phone 15 minutes ago to make sure it was safe to recommend to you.
          I didn’t notice any data missing on my phone.
          My nexus 5 is my second phone, so all I can say is all my pics and texts were still there.
          My MMS already worked, so I can only say it worked for someone else.

          This youtube video is pretty good to see how to do use recovery mode on the nexus 5. PLEASE NOTE, he is selecting a DIFFERENT OPTION than the one you want to choose. you want ******Wipe the Cache Partition*****

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMjDL1FVtcA

          Please let me know if you try this or not and how you make out.

  24. D butler | | Reply

    Hi I was reading this topic and I wanted say that I used the hotspot on my ex boyfriends iPhone 3gs for my iPad for over a year..now I have a motorola g 2nd gen with straight talk and I use the hotspot thru the phone for my iPad all the time. This is with the unlimited talk, text ,and web. After ureach 3gigs they slow the speed down, but it isn’t illegal like it was a long time ago…I have had straight talk for over 5 yeArs. And I love it. I also have the mobile hotspot, but I like using the phone better, u use it thru bluetooth and the mobile hotspot thru wifi.
    Thanks

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi D Buter,
      I am glad to hear that the tethering is working. And yes, on some phones you can get it to work. I never said that tethering was illegal, I said it was against Straight Talk’s terms of service When I read the Straight Talk terms of service, it clearly says:
      “STRAIGHT TALK UNLIMITED PLANS CANNOT BE USED FOR: any applications that tether your device to a laptop or personal computer other than for the use of Wireless Sync.”
      Have you read anywhere on the Straight Talk web site that references that tethering / hotspot is a feature they support?

      All that said, I’m glad it is working for you. Did you need to use any apps on your 3GS or Moto G to get this to work? On my iPhone running iOS 7 and then iOS 8, the options to even set up Hotspot are all hidden. I’ll have to look on my Nexus 5.

      I don’t have a dedicated hotspot either, and I agree you that given the choice I’d rather use my phone than carry an extra device.

      Regards
      Bob

    • jenny | | Reply

      What did you use to get it to work. I can’t get iy

  25. Dylan | | Reply

    Sorry to go off topic any news on the 6 usage Bob? Buying one this week…. Thk you

    • Jake | | Reply

      Wow, that’s a real bummer as that’s the whole reason I switched to ST in the first place (to get away from such expensive data+use with laptop)…. Thanx for your time & all u do here Bob 🙂

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        Hi Jake,
        It’s prepaid wireless, so your only committed for one month. Take the time to look at some options.
        Regards
        Bob

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Dylan,
      I picked up an iPhone 6 a week before Christmas. I bought the 128GB TMobile Gray model. The phone was sim unlocked. I have had no issues with Straight Talk. I like the bigger screen. The phone is a a little wide and slippery to hold without a case. I put it in a case but still keep thinking I might drop it. My Nexus 5 is about the same time, but I find it easier to hold.

      I haven’t had a chance to play with the camera. Do you have any specific questions?
      Regards
      Bob

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