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How to share Internet connection on a mac

Mac OS X has a built-in Internet Sharing function that can be a real life saver while travelling. If you’re in a hotel room with one Ethernet jack, you can make wireless hotspot to share the connection with other computers. On the other hand, if you have only wireless access, it’s possible to share that connection with a wired PC. Read on to find out how.


This guide has two parts:

Sharing Wireless connection over Ethernet

My MacBook Pro is connected to the Internet over Wi-Fi, and I need to get my Windows desktop PC online. It only has wired Ethernet adapter. What can I do?

  1. Connect an Ethernet cable into the wi-fi connected mac, and the other end into the PC, simple as that. No crossover cable or other networking hardware needed.
  2. Open System Preferences. It’s typically found on your dock, if not, it’s in your Applications folder.
  3. In System Preferences, under Internet & Wireless, go into the Sharing menu.
  4. In the Sharing manu, choose Internet Sharing from the list on the left. You will see Internet Sharing options.
  5. Select to share your connection from Wi-Fi, to computers on Ethernet.
  6. Lastly, click on the Internet Sharing checkbox to enable the service.
  7. Your wired PC should now discover the Internet connection, and you will have Internet access. If it doesn’t, try rebooting.

That’s it. Have fun.

Sharing Wired Ethernet connection wirelessly (making a hotspot)

I’m at a hotel that doesn’t have wi-fi, but there is a Ethernet jack in the wall. I’ve got multiple wireless devices (iPad, iPhone, other computers, etc…) that need net access. What can I do?

Lets say you can actually get a hold of an ethernet cable, you can make your mac computer into a wireless hotspot. If you have one of those fancy slim MacBook Airs or Retina MacBook Pros, unfortunately you will also need a USB or Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter.

  1. Connect the mac to the network with Ethernet. Make sure you have a working Internet connection. Test it in your web browser.
  2. Go into the mac’s System Preferences, under Internet & Wireless look for Sharing menu.
  3. From the list on the left, click on Internet Sharing, and you will see Internet Sharing options.
  4. Select to share your connection from Ethernet to Wi-Fi.
  5. Click on Wi-Fi Options button to configure the name and password of your wireless network. The name is up to you, keep the channel as it is. And it’s always a good idea to use a password for any wireless network you create.
  6. Lastly, don’t forget to check that Internet Sharing checkbox to enable sharing.
  7. Now your mac is acting like a wireless router, providing wi-fi for all your gear.
  8. Connect your wireless devices to your new hotspot.

This guide was written on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, but will also work on earlier versions. Steps may vary slightly.


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