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Tether with Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, or USB

To share your Android phone or tablet's data connection with another device, you can use a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth tethering, or USB tethering. For example, you may want to connect your laptop computer to the Internet using your phone's connection.

Important: Your carrier may charge you extra for hotspot and tethering connections. If you have issues, check with your carrier to see whether your device can have tethering enabled.

Note: Some of this information may not apply to all devices because Android isn't exactly the same on every device. These instructions are for devices with Android 5.0 and up. See what version of Android you have.

Expect high power use by hotspots and tethering

Hotspots and tethering can use a lot of battery. You may want to plug in your phone or tablet while using this kind of connection. You can save power by turning off a hotspot or tethering connection when you're done with it.

Set up and use Wi-Fi hotspot tethering

If your phone or tablet has mobile data, you can turn it into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 other devices, like laptop computers.

Turn your Wi-Fi hotspot on or off

To turn your phone or tablet on or off as a Wi-Fi hotspot:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings .
  2. Under "Wireless & networks," tap More and then Tethering & portable hotspot.
  3. Tap Portable Wi-Fi hotspot to switch it on or off.
    Tip: Switching on the hotspot for the first time fills in default settings, like a network name and password. You can change these at any time. See Customize hotspot settings below.

When the hotspot is on, it shows in your Quick Settings. Examples:

  • Wi-Fi hotspot active Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Multiple connections active Multiple tethering or hotspot connections active
Customize your Wi-Fi hotspot settings

To customize your phone or tablet's Wi-Fi hotspot settings:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings .
  2. Under "Wireless & networks," tap More and then Tethering & portable hotspot.
  3. Tap Set up Wi-Fi hotspot.
  4. Tap and change the option that you want to customize.
    • Network name
    • Security
    • Password
    • AP band
  5. Tap Save.

Tip: If you don't want security, you can choose None under "Security."

Connect a device to your Wi-Fi hotspot

After you turn on your phone or tablet as a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can connect another device to your hotspot.

On your phone or tablet, get your hotspot's network name and password.

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings .
  2. Under "Wireless & networks," tap More and then Tethering & portable hotspot.
  3. Tap Set up Wi-Fi hotspot.
  4. Tap Show password.
  5. See the network name and password.

On the other device, connect to your hotspot.

  1. Open that device's list of Wi-Fi options.
  2. On that list, select the hotspot network name.
  3. Enter the hotspot password.
  4. Click Connect.

Set up and use Bluetooth tethering

If your device has mobile data, you can set it up to share its Internet connection with other devices through Bluetooth.

Pair the other device for Bluetooth connection
  1. Pair your phone or tablet with the device that you want to have share your Internet connection. Learn how to pair devices using Bluetooth.
  2. Set up the other device to get its network connection by Bluetooth. You may need to see the instructions that came with that device.
Turn Bluetooth tethering on or off

After you pair the other device for Bluetooth, you can set up and use Bluetooth tethering with your phone or tablet.

To turn your phone or tablet's Bluetooth on or off:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings .
  2. Under "Wireless & networks," tap More and then Tethering & portable hotspot.
  3. Tap Bluetooth tethering.

When the Bluetooth tethering connection is on, it shows in your Quick Settings. You can then connect the other device to the Internet. Examples:

  • Bluetooth tethering connection active Bluetooth
  • Multiple connections active Multiple tethering or hotspot connections active

Set up and use USB tethering

If your phone or tablet has mobile data, you can use a USB cable to share its Internet connection with another device.

Note: USB tethering isn't available on Mac computers.

Set up and use USB tethering

Turn USB tethering on or off

  1. Using a USB cable, connect your phone or tablet to another device.
  2. You'll see a USB icon and a notification ("Connected as a media device" or "Connected as a camera") at the top of the screen. For tethering, the connection type doesn't matter.
  3. Open your device's Settings app Settings .
  4. Under "Wireless & networks," tap More and then Tethering & portable hotspot.
  5. Tap USB tethering to switch it on or off. To turn it off, you can also just disconnect the USB cable.

Connect to USB tethering

When the USB tethering connection is on, it shows in your Quick Settings. You can then connect the other device to the Internet. Examples:

  • USB tethering connection active USB tethering active
  • Multiple connections active Multiple tethering or hotspot connections active
Set up and use USB tethering with Windows XP

If you're using a computer running Windows XP, you'll need to install a configuration file before tethering your computer to your phone or tablet.

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings .
  2. Under "Wireless & networks," tap More and then Tethering & portable hotspot.
  3. Tap USB tethering to switch it on.
  4. On your Windows XP computer, download this configuration file: tetherxp.inf.
    • Usually, you can right-click on the link and choose Save As.
    • If your browser adds “.html” to the file name, you’ll need to edit the name to remove the .html extension and replace it with “.inf” instead.
  5. Using a USB cable, connect your phone or tablet to your Windows XP computer.
  6. When Windows XP's New Hardware Wizard opens, select No, not at this time and then Next.
  7. Select Install from a list or specific location and then Next.
  8. To browse to the directory where you installed the configuration file you downloaded, click Browse and then Next.
  9. When Windows XP finishes installing the software for Android USB Ethernet/RNDIS, click Finish.
  10. When the USB tethering connection is on, you’ll see a notification. You can then connect your Windows XP computer to the Internet.

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Amy

Amy is an Android expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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