Sharing the internet data connection available on your mobile smartphone with your Windows PC through a USB cable is called USB tethering. It is one of the easiest and most reliable methods of getting internet access on your PC, laptop, 2-in-1 or tablet while on the go. If you don’t have access to a free public Wi-Fi network, but you do have a generous data plan on your Android smartphone or tablet, you might want to give some of that to your Windows computers and devices. Here’s how to share your Android’s internet connection using a USB cable:
NOTE: To create this guide, we used a Motorola Nexus 6 Android smartphone, running Android 7.0 Marshmallow. Although some screenshots might differ a bit on a smartphone running another flavor of Android, most settings should look and work the same.
Step 1. Enable the internet data connection on your Android smartphone
The first thing you should do is make sure that your Android smartphone has internet connectivity and that’s done in Settings. Slide your finger from the top of the screen and tap on the Settings button. It’s the one that looks like a small gear.
On the Settings screen, scroll to the Wireless & networks section and tap on Data usage.
Look for a setting called Cellular data and make sure that its switch is turned on.
Step 2. Connect your Android smartphone to your Windows PC, using a USB cable
Use a USB cable to connect your Android smartphone to your Windows PC. If you still have it, it’s preferable that you use the original USB cable that you received with your Android smartphone.
If you use a desktop PC, it’s also recommended to use one of the back USB ports to plug the USB cable. They are faster than those on the front.
Step 3. Turn on the USB Tether option on your Android smartphone
Once you’ve connected your Android smartphone to your Windows PC, get back to your smartphone and open its Settings again. Then go to Wireless & networks and tap the “More…” button.
Tap to open the Tethering & portable hotspot settings panel.
The first option you’ll see in Tethering & portable hotspot is called USB tethering and, by default, it is disabled.
Turn the USB tethering switch to On.
Step 4. Wait for a minute or two until your Windows PC installs the required drivers
On your Windows PC, you might see the operating system install a series of drivers that are necessary for the USB tethering to work. That’s because your Android smartphone works as a USB modem and your Windows PC needs the appropriate drivers for it. This process should be done in a minute or two, and it’s something that will take place only the first time you use your Android smartphone to connect to the internet on your PC, through a USB cable.
That was it! Now you should have internet connectivity on your Windows PC, through the USB cable that is connected to your Android smartphone or tablet. Open your favorite web browser and start browsing the web.
Ending with a warning, or two
Although connecting to the internet through your Android smartphone’s USB connection is easy, keep in mind the following points:
- You will be using your mobile data plan, which can incur high costs if you overstep your plan’s boundaries, depending on your contract with the mobile operator.
- While using your smartphone’s internet connection through USB, the smartphone will charge slowly. Although that can be a good thing because it doesn’t let your smartphone’s battery die, it can also be a problem if your Windows device is a laptop or a tablet that is not connected to a power plug. Unless your Windows device is connected to a power socket, its battery will deplete faster than usual, because it’s also charging your Android device.
Now you know how easy it is to use your Android smartphone or tablet to get internet access on any Windows PC, whether it’s a desktop computer, a laptop, a 2-in-1 or a tablet. Do you find this feature useful? Do you use it often? Let us know in the comments below.