Auto point to point feature on iPhone, iPad and Mac: what is it and why is it better to turn it off?

Customization, introduced with the release of iOS 13, iPadOS 13 and macOS Catalina, allows you to control automatic connection to iPhone or iPad, working in modem mode, subject to unavailability of the Wi-Fi network.

To find out, how to manage this feature and prevent unwanted data costs, read this manual.

What has changed in modem mode with the release of iOS 13?

iPhone has long supported the ability to create a wireless access point. This handy feature, dubbed Modem Mode allows you to distribute the Internet from your iPhone or iPad to any other device.

Starting with iOS 13, Apple has made some changes to the behavior of your devices (which are connected by one Apple ID in iCloud), when there are no known Wi-Fi networks nearby. One of the useful tools was the Auto Access Point switch, allowing iPhone or iPad automatically (without password) connect to modem mode, configured on your nearest cellular-enabled iPhone or iPad. Auto-access to point option is active by default.

Feature debuted in iOS 13, iPadOS and macOS Catalina 10.15. Thus, this opportunity was given to iPhone mobile devices, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Mac computers.

Auto point access allows without password restore Internet connection in case of poor Wi-Fi connection or its complete absence, by connecting to an iPhone or iPad using Modem Mode, connected by one iCloud account.

iPhone or iPad with Auto Point Access enabled (set to Automatic) can independently connect to your other device, even if the modem mode on it is turned off.

It is worth dwelling on this circumstance. The fact, what’s with the release of iOS 13 power button / the modem mode shutdown disappeared and the Allow to others switch appeared instead.

iPhone or iPad with the Allow others option enabled will be able to distribute the Internet not only to devices, who use the same Apple ID account in iCloud (without password), but also to any other device (with password).

iPhone or iPad with the Enable others option turned off will be able to distribute the Internet only to devices, who use the same Apple ID account in iCloud without having to enter a password.

Why you need to disable Auto-access point on iPhone, iPad and Mac

All this relates to the control of mobile traffic consumption. Before iOS 13, you had to manually connect to an access point.

With the release of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Modem mode on iPhone or iPad, who use the same Apple ID account in iCloud is always on, so your other device can connect to the access point, even in sleep mode.

In combination with the Auto point to access setting, this simplifies use and eliminates problems in terms of using Modem Mode. But if you use a fixed-rate mobile plan, it’s best to prevent Apple devices from automatically connecting to Modem Mode without permission.

In fact, users constantly forget about connecting devices to the modem mode of their iPhone. You can understand this after downloading heavy updates or content, what turns out to be unpleasant news.

Here is another example: your home wifi has stopped working, this will force your Mac to automatically connect to the modem mode on the iPhone. The computer can quietly start updating your photo library, or it will decide, it’s time to download the next macOS update and t.d.

No matter how comfortable it is, at least in certain scenarios you can disable such a function. This will help prevent unwanted payments for traffic transmitted over the cellular network. We will show, How can I do that.

How to disable Auto Access Point on iPhone, iPad and Mac

To change the script, will your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac use the nearest modem mode every time, when there is no access to saved Wi-Fi networks, follow these steps:

1. Open app «Settings» on iPhone or iPad with iOS 13 (iPad OS) or later. On Mac, run the application «System settings».

2. For iOS and iPadOS, select the section Wi-Fi.

On macOS – section «Network».

3. On iPhone or iPad, click the option «Auto Access Point».

The following options are available here:

Never. Prevent this device from automatically detecting and connecting to Modem Mode, if the Wi-Fi network is unavailable.

To ask. Allow this device to automatically detect nearby devices with Modem Mode, when wifi is unavailable. Before connecting to them, you will be asked permission to do so.

Automatically. Use this option, so that the device automatically detects and connects to the nearest personal access point, when Wi-Fi networks are unavailable.

On a Mac, select a Wi-Fi network in the left column and check the box next to «Ask about connecting to personal access points».

Disable the option Auto Access Point, if you want to stop automatically connecting to the nearest Modem Mode on your iPhone or iPad and avoid excessive use of cellular data in the absence of access to a known Wi-Fi network.

Wi-Fi and Modem Control in the Control Center

Optionally, in Settings, you can prevent the iPhone from connecting to known Wi-Fi networks, and also forget the saved network, view passwords of previously connected Wi-Fi networks, prohibit the phone from requesting a Wi-Fi network connection and much more.

And using the advanced Control Center in iOS 13, iPadOS and watchOS 6 you can connect (shutdown) to Wi-Fi network, Modem mode or connect to a Bluetooth accessory, without even resorting to settings.