How Much Data Does a Laptop Use on a Hotspot

Chris Campbell17 Mar 2022

When you're about to sign a new mobile contract, it can be very tempting to choose a deal that gives you a lot of data. In that way, when another device needs the internet, all you have to do is to link to your hotspot with a laptop and you're all set. But how much data does a laptop use on a hotspot?

How Much Data Does a Mobile Hotspot Use?

Many years ago, hotpots would have been a bad idea. But nowadays, with major carriers offering unlimited plans, using a hotspot to access the internet via your laptop doesn't seem too scary.

Knowing how much data a laptop uses when connected to a hotspot is relevant because even the biggest data plans have a cap on how much data you can use. Hotspot data use is directly related to what you do on your laptop.

If you want to get an idea of how much data your laptop might be using, here are a few:

  • Web browsing uses around 30MB per 30 minutes
  • Email uses around 1MB per 30 minutes
  • Streaming music uses up to 75MB per 30 minutes
  • Netflix uses around 125MP per 30 minutes
  • Facebook uses around 40MB per 30 minutes
  • YouTube uses around 150MB per 30 minutes
  • Instagram uses around 360MB per 30 minutes

Using Mobile Hotspot With Your Laptop

Perhaps you're in the middle of nowhere, and you need to link your mobile phone's data to your laptop so that you can use it. Or you might be traveling and the hotel's Wi-Fi is too slow for your liking so you opt to use a hotspot instead. Whatever the reason, there are times when it can be very useful to share the data on your phone with other devices.

You can share the mobile data you have on your Android or iPhone with different devices, including your laptop and other gadgets.  There are three ways to use your mobile hotspot - WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth, and USB tethering.

How To Use Mobile Data on Laptop With Hotspot

To share your mobile data with other devices, you can set up a WiFi Hotspot. If you choose this option, you can connect to as many as 10 devices at a time. Simply  follow these steps:

  • Launch "Settings" and navigate to  Networks and Internet
  • Choose WiFi Zone / Connection Sharing.
  • Choose "WiFi Access Point / WiFi Hotspot" and turn it on.
  • Pick a name for the hotspot and a password for the hotspot to connect to.
  • Connect your laptop. Open the list of WiFi options. Then select the name of the access point from the mobile hotspot, enter your password, and tap "Connect." Your laptop is now connected to your hotspot.

How To Use Mobile Data on Laptop Without Hotspot

Need an internet connection for your laptop, but don't have access to public Wi-Fi? Use your mobile hotspot instead. Tethering is the term for connecting your mobile device to your laptop so you can get online via your phone's mobile hotspot. There are two other ways to use mobile data on your laptop and that’s Bluetooth and USB tethering.

USB Tethering

Mobile phones have always had a modem feature, which lets you connect the phone to your laptop through USB tethering. A wired connection lets you share the mobile hotspot with your laptop or other devices.

It's simple. Hook the USB cable that came with your phone to your laptop. Then, insert the other end of the cable into your phone. Next, you'll need to set up your Android device to activate the hotspot:

  • Navigate to Settings > Network and internet > Advanced > Hotspot and tethering.
  • Swipe the USB tethering slider to turn it on. If grayed out, make sure that the USB cable is connected properly in both devices.
  • The Hotspot and tethering warning will show up, telling you that continuing will stop any data transfers between your phone and laptop.
  • Tap OK to move on.


Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that has enough bandwidth to send and receive data between your phone and your laptop, even though it isn't very far away from each other.

To start, link your phone to your laptop:

  • Go to the Bluetooth settings on your Android phone. You can do this by long-pressing the Bluetooth icon in Quick Settings, or you can go to Settings > Connected devices and look for the Bluetooth icon there.
  • Pick "Pair new device," and your device will be found.
  • It's time for you to open the Settings app on your laptop. Press Win + I to get there.
  • If you want to see Bluetooth and other devices, click Devices.
  • If Bluetooth isn't already on, turn it on. Add Bluetooth or another device, then Bluetooth, and then click Add.
  • When your phone shows up, choose it and follow the steps to connect it.
  • Then, on your phone go to Settings > Network and internet > Hotspot, tethering, and turn on Bluetooth tethering.

As soon as you connect the phone to your laptop, you can share the mobile hotspot:

  • When you open the Windows System Tray, look for the Bluetooth icon. Right-click this, and then select Join a Personal Area Network.
  • Then, locate your phone's icon and right-click it.
  • Select Connect using > Access point.
  • Lastly, your phone should show that Bluetooth tethering is on.

Laptop Consuming More Data From Mobile Hotspot

With tethering, you can access the internet on your laptop using your smartphone's data connection, but you're likely limited on how much data you have. You might also have a heavily loaded laptop that needs a lot of data. Most likely, you don't want your laptop to automatically download and install big updates and sync a lot of data until you get back to your usual internet connection.

You can stop your laptop from consuming more data by setting your hotspot as metered. When you tell Windows that a connection is metered, the operating system recognizes that it should be more careful with this connection.

To set your hotspot to metered:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Hit Network and Internet, and then tap "Wi-Fi."
  • On your Wi-Fi network, tap the name of the network you're connected to. Then, set the "Set as metered connection" option to "On."

In the end, the volume of data that you use when you're linked to your hotspot will depend largely on what you do. This is why it is important to know how much data you are using when you use your mobile hotspot to connect your laptop to the internet, or else you'll end up using all of your data.

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Thanks for reading! I'm Chris, an avid tech fanatic that enjoys keeping up with the latest laptop models. Hopefully my tips & tricks can help you out!

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