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When I work away from home (and home wifi) I use my phone's hotspot to connect my Macbook to the internet. However, it's always surprised me that I just have to click on the name of the hotspot to connect. It never asks for a password, not even the first time, and it also happens with different phones. The wifi list shows phone hotspots with a different icon, which makes me think the "protocol" used is different. In any case, it makes me a little uncomfortable that it's just a click away. I'm assuming that the Macbook is not brute-forcing the password.

Also, if I do this in a public space, could someone with a Macbook (I'm assuming this only happens with Mac computers) also join my phone's hotspot just like that?

Could someone explain what's happening or point me to documentation about it?

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  • MacBook by default wouldn't brute-force. Which phone are you using? Are you sure when you try with a new phone, the hotspot is protected with a password?
    – pri
    Aug 16, 2021 at 8:00
  • I'm 100% the hotspot is password protected, since I have to enter the password in Windows. The phone offering the hotspot is a xiaomi.
    – Gonan
    Aug 16, 2021 at 10:35

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I'm reasonably sure this is because of Apple's Instant Hotspot.

You haven't mentioned with phone you are using, but assuming it is an iPhone, if both devices are signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID and have Bluetooth turned on, then they can connect without requiring a password.

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  • I've used several models of Xiaomi phones. POCO X3 NFC, Redmi 9... Never used an iPhone.
    – Gonan
    Aug 16, 2021 at 10:31
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    @Gonan Okay, then I don't know what is going on. Are you are using the same SSID and password for the hotspots every time you try with a new phone? In that case, maybe your mac just connects automatically because it thinks it's the same wifi that it remembers the password for.
    – nobody
    Aug 16, 2021 at 10:53
  • Not the same SSID. However, I don't think it would "share" the credentials among networks with the same SSID. It wouldn't make much sense to me. I will try deleting all stored credentials from all hotspots and wifi's and see if it was my mistake or if this is really happening. I see that the icon for the mobile hotspot is actually the same as in that link for iOS devices hotspot. Not sure if it's a generic icon or if it's only for iOS-specific hotspots.
    – Gonan
    Aug 16, 2021 at 12:24

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