Problem: WiFi tethering/hotspot with iPhone – can’t connect

If you want to use your iPhone Tethering (hotspot) to connect your Surface Tablet on the Internet you can get surprise – Your Tablet doesn’t see your iPhone Hotspot at all.

Problem is that Surface doesn’t recognize WiFi network with special character and you probably have some of not allowed characters in your iPhone name – just go to iPhone Settings -> General -> About -> Name and change the name of your iPhone (don’t use spaces too), switch on Personal HotSpot and your Surface will recognize your Network.

21 comments on “Problem: WiFi tethering/hotspot with iPhone – can’t connect
  1. Nick Eatock says:

    I still can’t seem to reliably connect. Invariably my Surface does not even see the iPhone. When I first removed the offending characters (an apostrophe), the Surface instantly saw it. But since then it hasn’t seen it the last few days, despite reboots etc… Help!

    • Chuck Patton says:

      Surface problem appears to be related to laying the computer down flat. When I prop it up, it finds my IPhone okay but when I first start it and lay it flat, it doesn’t find it until I prop it up.

  2. admin says:

    You have to be on iPhone Personal Hotspot page to be able to see it. As soon as you are out of that screen and there is no actual connection, iPhone will switch off Hotspot.

  3. Dennis says:

    I am at at ” General -> About -> Name ” but i could not edit to change it ….

  4. Jingless says:

    Fantastic I dont have a surface tab but this trick worked just the same on my other tablets so it may be a generic problem. Thanks for the info was gettin frustrated!

  5. Howard says:

    That’s great. Now the Surface see’s the hotspot. Only problem is that after I type in the WPA password, Windows asks me if I want to share devices. I say YES or NO. Regardless, Surface notifies me that it CANNOT CONNECT. No reason given.

    Frustrating!

    BTW — iPad connects to hotspot w/out issues.

  6. David says:

    Apparently numbers are special characters too. I was having this same problem and deleted spaces and apostrophes but left in a number. Did not work. Deleted the number and it connected!

  7. Ken Edwards says:

    Absolute legend I was just about to throw it through a window.

  8. Flexy says:

    I have a Surface with similar issues. But after applying David’s advice (deleting special characters, including any apostrophe) it worked fine

  9. Totally Frustrated says:

    I am also finding once the surface tablet recognises my iPhone it “can’t connect to this network” Have to say no Internet connection makes this tablet a hunk of junk – t’is beyond ridiculous and am getting more and more tempted to throw it out a window and hope it lands on microsofts head …. Unless anyone out there has a solution

  10. testdomain says:

    I’m glad I came across this blog.

  11. Paul says:

    I have had similar issues with my Surface a few times. Its very rare, but occasionally gets finicky. Airplane mode on and off wouldn’t fix it. Here is how I got it to see my hotspot.

    1. Go to desktop
    2. Swipe from the right -> Settings
    3. Control Panel
    4. Network and sharing center
    5. Change Adapter Settings
    6. Select the wifi adapter and click ‘Disable this Network Device’
    7. Wait a few seconds and enable it again.
    8. Now it shows up.

  12. Hakan says:

    The tablet sees the hotspot on the iphone and it connects, it even loads the first page that I search for, but than it halts. Can’t get past or beyond first page. If iTunes could be loaded to android than I think the problem would be solved.

  13. george says:

    I changed the name on my Iphone and deleted the spaces and special characters and it now works great . Thanks to all for your help

  14. Bosco says:

    I have changed my name to not have any symbols and spaces. It can detect it. I key in my password and then they say it can’t connect.

    I try using bluetooth but my iphone says that it does not support my surface rt.

    I am using iphone 4.

    Anybody knows how I should get around this?

    Would appreciate any help.

    Thank you!

  15. gregg t says:

    I could always get it to connect after 1 or 2 reboots. Had an apostrophe and now its connected 5 times without a problem. Even passes transfer to home WiFi seamlessly. Thanks!

  16. bigj says:

    1. Go to desktop
    2. Swipe from the right -> Settings
    3. Control Panel
    4. Network and sharing center
    5. Change Adapter Settings
    6. Select the wifi adapter and click ‘Disable this Network Device’
    7. Wait a few seconds and enable it again.
    8. Now it shows up.

    then go to
    Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Devices and Printers

    and set the iphone as a wireless network. the password for this is in personal hotspot.Boom

  17. big J says:

    1. Go to desktop
    2. Swipe from the right -> Settings
    3. Control Panel
    4. Network and sharing center
    5. Change Adapter Settings
    6. Select the wifi adapter and click ‘Disable this Network Device’
    7. Wait a few seconds and enable it again.
    8. Now it shows up.

    then go to
    Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Devices and Printers

    and set the iphone as a wireless network. the password for this is in personal hotspot.Boom

  18. evan says:

    thanks so much changing the name of my iphone did the trick for me! that was so ridiculously frustrating

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