View iPhone Cellular Signal & Battery Life from Mac OS X
The Instant iPhone Wi-Fi Hotspot feature in OS X is incredibly useful if your Mac is on the go or you need an alternate internet connection, but even if you’re not aiming to use the cellular internet sharing capability of iPhone there are some other handy uses for the feature, like checking two of your iPhone vital stats without having to pull the device out of a pocket or purse. As long as Instant Hotspot has been set up and the compatible Mac and compatible iPhone are nearby one another, you can remotely check on the battery life and cellular signal strength of that iPhone right from the Mac with a quick glance, even if the iPhone and Mac are in different rooms.
Viewing the cellular connection strength, cellular connection type, and battery life remaining on the iPhone, is a really simple trick, it’s more about knowing this ability exists than any complex walkthrough. So, assuming you’ve used the OS X Instant Hotspot before, all you need to do is this:
- Pull down the Wi-Fi menu on the Mac as you would to toggle or switch wireless routers
- Under the ‘Personal Hotspot’ section, find your iPhone name to see signal strength, signal type (LTE, 3G, 4G, Edge, • GPRS), and the battery level indicator
The cellular connection strength indicator will change as the signal strength adjusts, as will the connection type. The signal indicator will always display as the five dots, ignoring the numerical indicator of Field Test Mode if that was enabled on the iPhone. Similarly, the iPhone battery indicator shown from the Mac wi-fi menu is the battery icon only, and at the moment there is no way to view the battery percentage remaining of the iPhone, even if you have that feature turned on in iOS.
It’s important to note this quick-stats check feature requires a few things to work as described: both devices must use the same iCloud ID, you must have OS X 10.10 or newer installed on the Mac, the iPhone must be on iOS 8.1 or newer, and the iPhone must also have a cellular network plan that allows for Personal Hotspot internet sharing from the iPhone in general, which are the same requirements as using Instant Hotspot from a Mac anyway.
And now you know, you’ll never have to wonder what your mobile connection is or how much battery life is remaining on a pocketed iPhone (or even one charging across the room) again, just check it from your Mac. Give this a try the next time you’re traveling, working from a public space, or even just charging an iPhone a ways from your computer. A similar trick works to view the battery levels of many connected Bluetooth devices too.