When I first bought the iPad mini, it was for the express purpose of reviewing it. He intended to return it in a couple of weeks. Once I decided that I couldn’t do without the mini, I decided to return it and buy the cellular version when it was available. The iPad is my full-time laptop and my Macbook Air hardly ever leaves my house. One of the reasons for this is the persistent internet connection on my cellular iPad. I sold my third generation iPad and went to wifi mini, full time. Despite my need for an Internet connection while away from home, this arrangement is not a problem. This is why:
I have an iPhone with an AT&T Share plan. Long before moving to my current plan, I was able to share my phone connection with other devices. That hasn’t worked for me in the past due to the unreliable nature of wifi sharing. You can connect to your phone’s personal access point before you leave home. A few minutes late, when you are ready to use your connected device, you have lost connection. To get it back, you need to take out your phone, turn it on, go to settings, then Personal Hotspot. Now, you need to point your iPad to the wifi settings and wait for your phone to show up as an option and reconnect. This is quite an annoying dance that needs to be repeated several times while you are out and about with your device. What I need is something that is always connected without the drama of losing connection every time I stop using my device for a few minutes. This inconvenience has been reason enough to keep buying the most expensive cell phone option, until now.
The other big downside to using your phone as a personal hotspot is that it tends to drain not one, but two batteries. Tethering is one of the most battery intensive activities you can do with your phone. For whatever reason, it seems to consume two or three times the power to share the connection, rather than just using mobile data for the phone on its own. The inability to maintain a connection and the loss of resources made the added expense of the cellular iPad worth it.
That being said, I have decided to keep the wifi only on the iPad mini. Turns out, Wi-Fi isn’t the only option available to share your phone connection. Bluetooth sharing is also available. When you initially set up the hotspot feature on your iPhone, you are reminded that you can also use bluetooth to share the connection. You just need to make sure the bluetooth is turned on, something the phone does automatically if you choose the option. Instead of using the wifi settings on the iPad, open the bluetooth settings. Pair the iPad with the iPhone in the same way as you would with a bluetooth headset. That’s.
Now when I start sharing my connection before I leave home, my iPad mini says connected whether I’m using it or not. When I take out my iPad a few minutes later, it is still connected and ready to use whatever information I need. It is the same as if you had your own data source. The only way to break the connection is to turn off the mini’s bluetooth when you’re done. This has worked brilliantly for me over the past few days. Also, I have not experienced any undue battery drain. This morning, I left the house around 10:30 am and came home around 3:30 pm. I’ve been streaming podcasts the entire time. Part of the time it was through an area where the signal is particularly poor. When I left the house, my iPhone battery was at 100%. It was 79% when I got home. It was even better for my iPad mini. That battery was 95% when I left and 89% when I returned. While catching up on podcasts on my mini, I read a few articles and managed my email.
I was surprised by the results, enough to confidently recommend that you go ahead and choose a wifi-only model, even if you need a persistent connection like I do. You’ll save money on your initial investment and continue to save on your monthly data plan. Unless you need GPS on your mini, which wifi-only device doesn’t have, then using bluetooth tethering to turn a Wi-Fi iPad mini into a persistently connected device is a complete no-brainer.