Anybody use wifi-only ipad tethered to iphone for mobile internet?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Lit Up*, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Lit Up* macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2010
    I want to get an iPad but am unsure of whether it is worth getting a 3G connection if I can just tether a wifi one to my iPhone 4's 3G connection. Does anybody else do this? Is there going to be any noticeable reduction in picture quality for example? I tethered my Macbook to the iPhone's 3G connection when on the go, and it loaded photos pixelated.
  2. Shearwater macrumors regular


    Jul 20, 2011
    Leeds , West Yorkshire
    I have used both

    I have tethered both my iPad2 and Macbook pro to my iPhone4. I had no problems at all.I am on Virgin mobile (UK)
  3. thinkadam macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I do it all the time.
    Shouldn't have any issues with pics.
    No point in 3G if u can tether
  4. Zcott macrumors 68020

    Oct 18, 2009
    Belfast, Ireland
    I do it regularly with my iPhone and iPad. I tether over Bluetooth so it stays connected even after sleep, and uses less battery power than wifi. It's a cheaper way to get online with the iPad and if your carrier allows free tethering, I'd suggest you do it.
  5. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    It's better than you may think to just be able to pick up the iPad and surf the Internet immediately without relying on a single other device, let alone not draining the battery of other devices. I love the 3G freedom, but if you're scarcely going to use internet on iPad away from your WiFi router then I can see how it'd not be worth it.
  6. jabingla2810 macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    Yeah all the time.

    Doing it over bluetooth is really convenient and simple.

    My iPhone has unlimited data, so no point paying for 2 data plans.
  7. Sandman1969 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2007
    Yup that is what we do. Both of our iPads are WiFi only. Love saving the money and I get the same capability. Only downside is you have to make sure the personal hotspot is enabled on the phone. Which is a piece of cake so it really isn't a downside. Plus you can enable/disable your tethering plan as needed.

    Plus you can always look at a 4G-LTE hotspot device and get faster speeds. ALthough the data rates are steep. Well at least for Verizon.


    What did you do for the tethering with the unLimited plan? I thought they can tell you are doing that and end up getting placed on a tethering plan with them automatically?

    We have tethering with my wife's phone atm. I haven't done my phone since I am still on the unlimited plan.
  8. thewitt macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2011
    I did with an iPad 1 for 6 months, then upgraded to 3G. I just can't be bothered by burning my phone battery up that fast and I use the iPad constantly online.

    I pay $10 a month for effectively unlimited data on my iPad that throttles at 6G... I never get close to that amount.
  9. jsh1120, Nov 5, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011

    jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    Just a clarification. The data rates for a 4G/LTE hotspot on Verizon are not "steep." (Or at least no steeper than the usual highway robbery for data plans.) In fact, my 5Gig plan from Verizon is $10. per megabyte. On the iPad the 3G plan is $30 for 2Gigs, i.e. $15 per gigabyte. And I can get 10Gig for $80 per month (i.e. $8 per gigabyte.) A 10Gig month on the iPad would be $110. And all of that provides access at 4G speeds, about 7-10 times faster than the iPad's 3G service.

    On the other hand, those with limited and/or only occasional needs for cell phone access are far better off with the iPad's 2Gig per month plan that can be turned on and off on a monthly basis.

    Another point of clarification is to recommend that Americans not compare the tethering costs with our European friends. My impression is that those in the UK (and Ireland?) as well as those in other European countries have considerably greater choice in (and less costly) tethering options than we have. The radically different business plans of cell phone carriers in countries where consumers can escape multi-year contracts is the source of that difference.

    I'm not saying that this is always the reason some people seem to have radically different options than are typically offered by our largest carriers (AT&T and Verizon), but the discussion can be confusing if American carriers are compared to those in Europe.

    Finally, accessing the internet via cell carriers is going to drain a battery on some device if you don't have access to a wall outlet. The fact that an iPad is a much larger device than a phone or a mobile hotspot means it has a larger battery. And that difference is important after about five hours (give or take) of use.

    If you use your phone a lot AND/OR you're away from a power source for more than four or five hours at a time while using the internet, tethering may be problematic unless you have a phone or mobile hotspot with a replaceable battery that doubles your capacity. (I do. It was a worthwhile $10 investment. But of course it's not an option on an iPhone.)
  10. macbookman83 macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2011
    New York
  11. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    Noticed that no one responded directly to the OP's comment above. The problem can come from two sources. First, and most likely, is weakness of the 3G signal, itself. That would affect any device connecting directly to the 3G signal. It is also possible, however, that the radio in the particular phone is less capable than might be the case with an iPad (or a mobile hotspot).

    I don't know any way to tease out the source of the problem without some extensive testing. Signal strength and bandwidth contention can vary tremendously even at a single location. In other words, trying the download an hour later at the same spot might have yielded different results.

    And it's unfortunately the case that there are individual variations in hardware quality at work, as well. i.e. a particular cell phone may have an inherently weak receiver. A different phone? Potentially different results.

    You may notice that reviews of various phones on web sites often try reception at several different locations and several different times and average the results. And even then the results may differ from your own experience with a particular device.
  12. Zcott macrumors 68020

    Oct 18, 2009
    Belfast, Ireland
    I think it's either phone related or carrier related. I used to have an old Windows Phone (years ago) which pixellated everything. Now, no pixelation at all on my iPhone, whether it's tethering my Mac or my iPad.
  13. AirForceOne macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2011
    I connect my iPad 2 to my HTC ThunderBolt. I rooted the ThunderBolt so I could get free 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, so now I get free unlimited 4G LTE data on my iPad everywhere I go. :)
  14. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    As long as Verizon doesn't catch you, that is.
  15. t0rr3s macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2010
    Picked up a first gen wifi ipad on the cheap and it's tethered to my ip4 through bluetooth whenever i'm out and about. Both devices are always on me so no reason to get a 3g enabled one or even a separate plan. Have got 12gb of data free per month and never breached 2 really. At uni and home theres always wifi anyway so it's all well covered. 
  16. AirForceOne macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2011
    I did it on AT&T for years and have been doing it on Verizon since March. The key is not to abuse it, or else they will catch you. I make sure and use wifi on my TBolt if it is available...this way I have have more leeway for wifi hotspot use
  17. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Like any question of worth -- depends on your needs/wants/priorities (see replies above and how they differ). If there was a single answer for everyone we'd all have 3G or we all would not.

    Sounds like you had a bad connection and you were loading progressive JPG's. Poor connectivity is always a possibility with any cellular data connection.
  18. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    If you realize that the carriers look for spikes or sustained increases in usage to detect tethering you understand how to avoid additional charges. Those who are identified are typically those who use their iPads (or PC's) for increased downloads of media because the experience of watching a movie on a larger screen is much more satisfying and therefore much more tempting than on a three inch screen on a phone.
  19. porky2017 macrumors member


    Aug 15, 2011
    If you have a iphone then there is no need for a 3g connection-I use my
    iPhone 4 wifi hotspot for my macbook pro & my iPad 32 g wifi-love it..
  20. JustMapIt macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2010
    South of Atlanta
    This sounds more like a bandwidth issue than a hardware or application issue. Keep in mind that when your device indicates it has a 3G connection that doesn't mean it's got access to all that blazing 3G speed </sarcasm>. All it indicates is that your device is hitting a 3G capable node. Your actual available bandwidth varies based on a large number of factors. Remember, advertised wireless data speeds are like automobile gas mileage numbers - they were calculated under the most ideal operating environments and are mostly just an advertising gimmick.

    I have the hot spot feature enabled on my iPhone 4 and regularly use it with my iPad and assorted Dell laptops. Technologically it's a good solution and I refuse to pay the outrageous extra freight a 3G capable iPad demands. In my opinion when you buy a 3G iPad you are buying 2008 wireless carrier and connectivity technology, and paying a premium for it. Better at this point to buy a wi-fi only iPad and tether it to a 4G-capable smartphone.
  21. abta1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2010
    Paris, France
    I'm thinking about changing my old O2 simplicity plan to allow tethering. I on an old plan that is rolling monthly for £20 with the old unlimited data bolt on.

    If I want to use tethering I have to change to one of their newer plans that has limited data, either 500mb or 1Gb but allows tethering but also has fewer minutes but unlimited texts.
  22. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    I have AT&T and use the hotspot with my iPad and iPhone. Given that I had an iPhone 3GS, it worked well with it and had no problems when traveling. Now with the 4S and haven't used it yet as no traveling has occurred yet.
  23. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
  24. pchipchip macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2011
    Just wondering, but how do you tether it to other devices?

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