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How to tether your Android phone to a computer

If you need your laptop online away from a Wi-Fi signal, you have to know how to tether. Here are the steps you need.

Published onApril 12, 2021

In an ordinary world where we can freely work outside of our homes, a reliable internet connection is necessary. The ability to open a hotspot and work on the go is second to none. It used to involve complicated cables and special apps, but those days are behind us. Now, you just need a phone, computer, and a charging cable. Here are a few easy ways to tether your Android phone to your Windows computer.

See also: The best mobile hotspot plans right now

Of course, you’ll need access to data to make this work. Whether that means a wired connection or setting up a hotspot, there’s a good chance that you already have plenty of data. Now, we’ll run you through three of the most common ways to tether your phone and computer. Ready to get connected? Let’s go.

Tether via USB

Tether your computer with USB
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The fastest way to connect your computer to the internet is with a USB tether. It’s also the only method that requires extra hardware — but it’s only your phone’s charging cable. Simply connect your phone to your computer to get started.

  1. Once connected, navigate to the Hotspot & Tethering menu in the Android System popup. Toggle the USB Tethering option to On.
  2. Now, your computer should acknowledge the new connection source. Once it becomes available, simply select the network like you would with any other connection.

Tether over Wi-Fi

Tether your computer using Wi-Fi
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

All Android devices feature a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, which is probably the simplest way to share your internet access. Unfortunately, some carriers block this feature if you’re not paying for a hotspot plan. You can always root your device or upgrade to a more expensive plan as a workaround, though. Here are the steps you need to activate your Wi-Fi tether:

  1. Head to the same Network & Internet section of your Settings app.
  2. Locate and open the Hotspot & Tethering menu.
  3. You should now see four options — Wi-Fi hotspot, USB tethering, Bluetooth tethering, and Ethernet tethering. Select your Wi-Fi hotspot and toggle it to On.
  4. You can also change the name and password of your hotspot to secure your data. Just be careful to keep your security set to WPA2 PSK for the best protection.
  5. Now you can connect your laptop, tablet, or another device to the hotspot just like you would with any other Wi-Fi network. Don’t forget to toggle your hotspot back to Off when you finish to preserve your data.

See also: How to set up a mobile hotspot on Android

Tether with Bluetooth

Tether laptop via Bluetooth
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

One last way to tether your computer to your Android device is with Bluetooth. Sure, you have to take the extra step of pairing the two, but we connect new Bluetooth devices all the time. The steps aren’t much more demanding, so here’s what you need to know:

  1. Open the settings menu on your Windows 10 laptop and head to the Bluetooth settings. Make sure your computer is set to Discoverable.
  2. On your phone, head into the Bluetooth settings and look for your computer to appear. This is where it may help to have a unique name for your computer, just in case.
  3. Now, select the prompt to pair on both devices.
  4. Once your phone is paired to your laptop, head into the settings and locate the Network & Internet section. Open the Hotspot & Tethering options and toggle Bluetooth tethering to On.
  5. Back on your computer, right-click on the Bluetooth icon and select Join a Personal Area Network. This should open a new menu.
  6. Open the Connect Using dropdown menu and select Access Point. You should now be connected to the internet.

That’s all it takes! You should be able to jump through the hoops on any of these three methods in just a few minutes to get yourself onto the internet.

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