Set up tethering or portable Wi-Fi hotspot

Some of this information applies only to devices running Android 5.0 and higher. If your device is running 4.4 or lower, the Menu icon looks like this . If your device is running 4.3 or lower, the Settings icon looks like this .

You can share your Android device's mobile data connection with another device using a portable hotspot, USB tethering, or Bluetooth tethering. This can be useful if you want to use the Internet on a laptop computer but don't have a connection.

These features depend on your mobile device and your carrier. You may be charged extra for tethering or Wi-Fi hotspot connections. If you have issues, check with your carrier to see whether tethering can be enabled.

Tip: This feature can use a lot of your device's battery, so turn the connection off as soon as you're done using it.

Supported Nexus and Google Play Edition devices

The following Nexus and Google Play Edition devices support tethering and portable hotspots:

  • Android One
  • Galaxy Nexus
  • HTC One (2013) Google Play edition
  • HTC One (M8) Google Play edition
  • Moto G Google Play edition
  • Nexus 4
  • Nexus 5
  • Nexus 6
  • Nexus 7 (2013) LTE
  • Nexus 9 LTE
  • Samsung G S 4 Google Play edition
  • Sony Z Ultra

Other Android devices may also support tethering and portable hotspots.

Turn on and use portable Wi-Fi hotspot

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

  1. Open your device's Settings menu  .
  2. Under "Wireless & networks," touch More > Tethering & portable hotspot.
  3. Check the box or turn on the switch next to "Portable Wi-Fi hotspot." When the option is turned on, you'll see one of the following notifications (your icons may look slightly different if your device is running Andriod 4.4 or lower):
    • Portable Wi-Fi hotspot active
    • Multiple tethering or hotspot connections active
  4. Touch the notification, then touch Set up Wi-Fi hotspot.
  5. You can choose a new name for the hotspot in the "Network SSID" field if you prefer. If you want a different password, enter a new one in the "Password" field. If you don’t want security, choose None under "Security." Then touch Save.
  6. On the device that you want to use the Wi-Fi hotspot on, select this network from the list of Wi-Fi options and enter the password to connect to the Internet.

To stop sharing your data connection, uncheck the box or turn off the switch next to "Portable Wi-Fi hotspot" in the Settings menu.

Set up and use USB tethering connection (including instructions for Windows XP)
Note: USB tethering isn’t available on computers running Mac OS.

If your device has mobile data, you can share its Internet connection with another device using USB tethering:

  1. Connect your device to another device using a USB cable.
  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 the purposes of tethering, the type of connection doesn't matter.
  3. Open your device's Settings menu  .
  4. Under "Wireless & networks," touch More > Tethering & portable hotspot.
  5. Check the box or turn on the switch next to "USB tethering." When the connection is made, you’ll see one of the following notifications and you can connect to the Internet (your icons may look slightly different if your device is running Andriod 4.4 or lower):
    • Portable Wi-Fi hotspot active
    • USB tethering connection active
    • Multiple tethering or hotspot connections active

To stop sharing your data connection, uncheck the box or turn off the switch next to "USB tethering" in the Settings menu or simply disconnect the USB cable. 

USB tethering with Windows XP

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

  1. Follow the steps above to turn on USB tethering for your device.
  2. Download the following configuration file (tetherxp.inf) to your Windows XP computer. Typically, 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.)
  3. Connect your mobile device to your computer using a USB cable.
  4. When Windows XP's New Hardware Wizard opens, select No, not at this time, then click Next.
  5. Select Install from a list or specific location, then click Next.
  6. Click Browse to browse to the directory where you installed the configuration file you downloaded in step 2, then click Next.
  7. When Windows XP finishes installing the software for Android USB Ethernet/RNDIS, click Finish.
Set up and use Bluetooth tethering connection

If your device has mobile data, you can set it up to share its Internet connection using Bluetooth.

  1. Turn on your device's Bluetooth under Settings  > Bluetooth.
  2. Pair your phone or tablet with the other device you want to share an Internet connection with. Learn how to pair devices using Bluetooth.
  3. Set up the other device to get its network connection via Bluetooth. You may need to refer to the instructions that came with that device.
  4. On your phone or tablet, go back to the Settings menu .
  5. Under "Wireless & networks," touch More > Tethering & portable hotspot.
  6. Check the box or turn on the switch next to "Bluetooth tethering." When the the connection is made, you’ll see one of the following notifications and you can connect to the Internet (your icons may look slightly different if your device is running Andriod 4.4 or lower):
    • Bluetooth tethering connection active
    • Multiple tethering or hotspot connections active

To stop sharing your data connection, uncheck the box or turn off the switch next to "Bluetooth tethering" in the Settings menu.

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