iOS 4.3 is around the corner, and one of the new capabilities brought to iPhone 4 users by the new OS is personal hotspot, a neat feature designed to allow users to share their phone’s 3G connection with up to 5 devices via WiFi. To be able to use the feature, wireless carriers such as a&t and Verizon charge an extra $20 per month, on top of the phone’s regular data plan fees, for a dedicated personal hotspot ‘data bucket’ of 2GB. While this may be all nice and dandy, many iPhone users who do not even use the full potential of their regular data plans are not excited about having to pay this extra fee to be allowed to use a data conection they already paid for in the first place. For those users, a little $0.99 app called TetherMe will enable personal hotspot in a matter of seconds. The app is not new, as it has been available since iOS 3.0 has been released, but until recently, the app was limited to USB and Bluetooth tethering. Thanks to the new version of iOS, the app now offers WiFi tethering as well. Note that the app is only compatible with jailbroken devices, and is only available on the Cydia store, under “TetherMe.” Once the app is installed, and after a quick reboot, the Settings app will allow iPhone users to turn their devices into personal hotspots.
TetherMe may not be free, but for less than $1, the app is a steal. Note that while the app seems to be working very well for the vast majority of iPhone users, wireless providers may eventually shutdown the data connection of heavy users, as after all, the personal hotspot feature is not supposed to be free. In other words, users are encouraged to remain below their monthly data caps, and are invited to sign up for the full blown personal hotspot data plan if they happen to need more data. Also, older iPhones not compatible with iOS 4.3 can still be turned into mobile hotspots via other apps such as MyWi, also available on the Cydia store. While MyWi a lot less straightforward to use than TetherMe, the app will still do the trick.