You can use your phone's mobile data to connect another phone, tablet, or computer to the internet. Sharing a connection this way is called tethering or using a hotspot. Some phones can share Wi-Fi connection by tethering. Most Android phones can share mobile data by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB.
Important: Some mobile carriers limit or charge extra for tethering. We recommend checking with your carrier. Important: Some of these steps work only on Android 9 and up.
Third-Party Tethering Apps
Learn how to check your Android version. Swipe down from the top of the screen. If you don’t find Hotspot , at the bottom left, tap Edit and drag Hotspot into your Quick Settings.
If you don’t find Hotspot , at the bottom left, tap Edit and drag Hotspot into your Quick Settings. On the other device, open that device's list of Wi-Fi options. Pick your phone's hotspot name. Enter your phone's hotspot password.
If you don't want your hotspot to require a password:Swipe down from the top of the screen.Touch and hold Hotspot .Under "Security," tap None.
Swipe down from the top of the screen. Touch and hold Hotspot .
- Under "Security," tap None. Tip: You can share your phone's mobile data with up to 10 other devices via a Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Swipe down from the top of the screen. Touch and hold Hotspot . Turn on Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Tip: To find or change your hotspot name or password, tap it. You may need to first tap Set up Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Pair your phone with the other device. Set up the other device's network connection with Bluetooth.
- On your phone, swipe down from the top of the screen. Touch and hold Hotspot . Turn on Bluetooth tethering.
How to Tether Your Phone
Important: Mac computers can't tether with Android by USB. Connect your phone to the other device with a USB cable. A notification shows at the top of the screen.
On your phone, swipe down from the top of the screen. Touch and hold Hotspot . Turn on USB tethering. Plug in your devices while tethering. Turn off tethering connections when you're done with them. If your phone can turn off your hotspot for you when no devices are connected, turn on that setting.
How can we improve it? Tethering is the act of sharing your phone’s mobile data connection with another device—such as your laptop or tablet—connecting it to the Internet through your phone’s data connection.
Extra: Tethering Tips
There are several ways to tether on Android. Tethering is useful when you’re somewhere where and don’t have Wi-Fi access, do have cellular data access, and want to do something on your computer instead of your phone.
But you may pay extra for the convenience. Depending on your carrier, this may or may not cost you money. In the US, most major carriers charge extra for tethering. Consult your carrier’s website for more information about what they charge for tethering.
An additional $20 fee to tether isn’t unusual in the USA. RELATED:How to Use Android’s Built-In Tethering When Your Carrier Blocks It.
It’s possible to get around these restrictions by installing and using a third-party tethering app, or if you’re rooted, unblocking Android’s built-in tethering feature.
Turn on your hotspot
However, your carrier may notice you’re tethering anyway — they can tell because web traffic from your laptop looks different from web traffic from your mobile phone—and they may helpfully add a tethering plan to your account, charging you the standard tethering fee.
If you’re lucky, they may not notice, just don’t be surprised if they make you pay the tethering fee.
Of course, standard data limits and charges apply. For example, if your carrier provides 2GB of data per month and you use 3GB between tethering and your normal smartphone usage, you’ll be subject to your plan’s normal penalties—extra charges or speed throttling—even if the carrier doesn’t notice you’re tethering.
- Lastly, tethering drains battery—fast. When not actively using tethering, you should disable it to save power on your Android phone and keep its battery going longer.
- We’ll cover how to use each tethering method. Here’s how they compare:. Wi-Fi Tethering: Wi-Fi tethering turns your phone into a little Wi-Fi hotspot.
- It creates a Wi-Fi network that you connect to with your computer. It has decent speeds and you can connect more than one device—but the battery will drain faster than if you used one of the below options.
- Bluetooth Tethering: Bluetooth tethering is significantly slower than Wi-Fi, but uses less battery. You can only tether one device at a time via Bluetooth as well.
- It probably isn’t worth using unless you’re really trying to stretch your battery.
USB Tethering: USB tethering has the fastest speeds, but you have to connect your phone to your laptop with a USB cable. Your phone’s battery won’t drain because it will draw power from your computer’s USB port.
In addition to the standard Android tethering options, there are other ways you might want to tether:. Third-Party Tethering Apps: If tethering is disabled on a phone you acquired from a carrier, you can install third-party apps and use them to tether. Your carrier may charge you anyway if they notice. Reverse Tethering: In rare situations, you may want to share your computer’s Internet connection with your Android phone instead.
- This is useful if you only have wired Ethernet connections in the area and don’t have access to Wi-Fi.
- Let’s talk about how to do all of these things, one by one. Android has a built-in Wi-Fi tethering feature, although it may be disabled by some carriers if you don’t pay for a tethering plan.
- (Again, though, if you’re rooted, you can unblock Android’s built-in tethering feature with these instructions.). To access this feature, open your phone’s Settings screen, tap the More option under Wireless & Networks, and tap Tethering & portable hotspot.
- Tap the Set up Wi-Fi hotspot option and you’ll be able to configure your phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot, changing its SSID (name) and password.
- Leave the security set to WPA2 PSK unless you need to use an older device that doesn’t support this encryption standard. WPA2 PSK is the most secure option, and you don’t want other people connecting to your hotspot and running up your data bill.
After configuring your hotspot settings, check the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot option. You can now connect to your phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot from your laptop, tablet, or any other device.
Types of Tethering
You can also opt to tether via a Bluetooth connection. If your laptop has built-in Bluetooth (which most do) you can enable Bluetooth on your phone and enable Bluetooth tethering. First, you’ll need to pair your PC with your phone. In Windows 10, you’ll first open the Bluetooth menu and make sure the device is discoverable.
- On your phone, jump into Bluetooth settings and look for new devices to pair. Wait for your PC to show up. Once it shows up, tap on it to initiate the pairing process.
- As both devices start to communicate, you’ll get a prompt on each asking to confirm that unique code is the same.
- If it is (and it should be), click Pair on both the phone and the computer. They should be connected over Bluetooth after that.
- Now that the two are paired, you’re almost ready to use the Bluetooth tether feature. First, jump back into the Tethering & Portable Hotspot screen on your phone, then enable Bluetooth tethering.
- Back on the computer, right click on the Bluetooth icon in the system tray, then choose “Join a personal area network.”. When this menu opens, your phone should be present. Click on it, then the “Connect using” dropdown. Choose “Access Point.”. Once the connection has been established, you’ll get a quick confirmation popup.
- Done and done—you can now use the Bluetooth connection to access the web. Connect your phone to your laptop via a USB cable, and you’ll see the USB tethering option become available.
- Your computer should automatically detect this a new type of internet connection and make it available. There are quite a few third-party tethering apps you can download from Google Play.
- Many are paid apps or require root access, however. PdaNet+ offers Bluetooth and USB tethering on all Android phones, while its Wi-Fi tethering will only work on some phones.
The free version will automatically turn itself off and force you to turn it back on occasionally—you can have it stop bothering you by paying up for the full version.
Rooting Your Smartphone
Unlike many other such apps, PdaNet doesn’t require root access. The bundled Wi-Fi tethering feature is new in PdaNet+, and is the same as the popular FoxFi app. You may also want to look for other tethering apps in Google Play, if you may want a free app that uses root and doesn’t require you to re-enable it regularly, or if PdaNet+ can’t provide Wi-Fi access on your phone.
In that case, we recommend using the Magisk/Xposed module that bypasses your carrier’s restrictions. RELATED:How to Connect Your Android to Your PC's Internet Connection Over USB.
Lastly, if you’re rooted, you can reverse tether—connect your phone to your computer and share your computer’s Internet connection with your phone.
This is a fairly rare situation, but you may someday find yourself in an office where there’s no Wi-Fi. If you can connect your Android phone to a computer with a wired Internet connection using a USB cable, you can share its wired Internet connection.
Check out this guide for more detailed instructions on how to reverse tether. READ NEXT› What Is A Wi-Fi Hotspot (and Are They Safe to Use)?› Windows on ARM Doesn’t Make Any Sense (Yet)› How to Use Android’s Built-In Tethering When Your Carrier Blocks It› How to Use Your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot to Tether a PC or Mac› 5 Terrible Cellular Carrier Practices That Are Changing› 10 Android Tweaks That Still Require Root› How to Find Free Wi-Fi Hotspots When Travelling› The 5 Most Bizarre Phones of All Time.
› What Is A Wi-Fi Hotspot (and Are They Safe to Use)? › Windows on ARM Doesn’t Make Any Sense (Yet). › How to Use Android’s Built-In Tethering When Your Carrier Blocks It. › How to Use Your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot to Tether a PC or Mac.
› 5 Terrible Cellular Carrier Practices That Are Changing. › 10 Android Tweaks That Still Require Root.
- › How to Find Free Wi-Fi Hotspots When Travelling. › The 5 Most Bizarre Phones of All Time. Jump to a Section. Step-by-Step: Tether a Phone. Root Your Smartphone. This article explains how to tether your Android phone so that you can share its internet connection with your laptop, tablet, or another mobile device for free when you're away from your home or office.
- The directions below generally apply regardless of the device manufacturer. Before setting up tethering, check your carrier's terms. Some carriers have no restrictions regarding tethering, whereas others offer it at low speeds, require a supplemental plan, or block it altogether.
- Three types of tethering are common to most phones:. Wi-Fi sharing is easy and quick, supports sharing with multiple devices, and tends to drain the phone's battery.
- Bluetooth is the slowest and allows sharing with one device at a time. A USB connection is faster, and the laptop simultaneously charges the smartphone. Connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot is the easiest, most convenient, and most commonly used option of the three types.
- Essentially, the phone creates a Wi-Fi network to which you connect your laptop in the usual way. Here's how to set it up.
Turn your Android into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot
On your phone, go to Settings > Connections > Mobile Hotspot and Tethering. Depending on the Android version and manufacturer, you might see something like Tethering, Mobile Hotspot,or Tethering & portable hotspot instead.
Turn on Mobile Hotspot. Choose a network name and password. Connect your second device to the network you just created, just as you would to any other Wi-Fi network.
Types of Tethering
Alternatively, to share your connection via Bluetooth, pair the devices and toggle Bluetooth to On in Mobile Hotspot and Tethering.
- Likewise, to use USB, toggle on USB tethering and connect your phone to your other device with a USB cable.
- If your carrier blocks tethering, try a third-party app. For example, PdaNet+ is a free mobile app with a companion desktop app that shares a smartphone connection over your choice of Bluetooth, USB, or Wi-Fi.
- Depending on your carrier, you might not be able to download the app directly, but the app maker offers a way around that.
- See the app's Google Play listing for other possible restrictions.
Another method involves rooting your smartphone; free, unrestricted tethering is one of its many benefits. Rooting a phone could void the warranty or, if done incorrectly, render the phone unusable. In most cases, though, the good outweighs the bad.
Once your smartphone is rooted, you'll have no restrictions on apps (such as the Wi-Fi Tethering app from OpenGarden) that you can download.
Tethering is best in scenarios where an alternative secure connection is not available. When you're finished tethering, be sure to turn it off in Settings. Turn off any connection you're not actively using, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which will save battery life.
- Also, tethering uses data, so it's best used for short periods if your plan doesn't include unlimited data. If you need to tether your phone to your laptop's data connection, check out our article on setting up a reverse tether.
- wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 15 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.
- This article has been viewed 211,052 times. Most modern smartphones can be turned into portable networks through a process called tethering.
- Devices can connect to your phone’s network, using its data signal to access the internet. Follow this guide to get tethering set up on your phone. Open the Settings menu. This can be accessed either by hitting your phone’s Menu button while on the home screen or by tapping the Settings app in your Application drawer.
Open the "Tethering and portable hotspot" menu. This will be accessible underneath the "Wireless and network" section of the Settings menu. Depending on your device, you may have to tap "More settings" in order to find the option.
Slide the Mobile Hotspot switch to On. If your plan allows you to use Mobile Hotspot, you will be taken to the settings screen. If you do not have access to Mobile Hotspot on your plan, a message will open telling you how to add it for your particular carrier.
Will It Cost Money?
Adjust your settings. You can set passwords and limit the number of devices that can connect to your hotspot. It is highly recommended that you set a password to keep unknown devices from using your data.
The SSID that you enter is the name of the network that you will connect to with your other devices. Connect your devices. Once tethering is enabled, open the network settings on the device that you want to connect.
- Scan for the network that you created by tethering.
- Enter the password and your device will connect to your hotspot. Download a third-party app.
Some carriers have blocked the ability to download third-party tethering apps from the Play store because they allow circumventing of the paid tethering service.
- To download these apps, you will need to get them directly from the developers’ websites.Download the .APK file through your phone’s web browser.
- When it is finished, tap on the file in your notification bar to install it.You will need to make sure that third-party apps can be installed to your phone.
- Open your Settings menu and scroll down to the Security option.
- In the Security menu, check the box next to "Unknown sources".
- This will allow you to install apps that have not been downloaded through the Play store.
Download the .APK file through your phone’s web browser.
Using an App
When it is finished, tap on the file in your notification bar to install it. You will need to make sure that third-party apps can be installed to your phone. Open your Settings menu and scroll down to the Security option. In the Security menu, check the box next to "Unknown sources".