How to share your Android phone's connection with Wi-Fi hotspot

You don't have to be a networking wizard to turn your handset into a personal hotspot.

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Your Android phone is always connected to the Internet, but you might not know that your other devices can take advantage of it, too. If you’re traveling with a tablet or a laptop that only has a Wi-Fi chip, your Android phone can magically be transformed into a Wi-Fi hotspot that your cellular-challenged devices can use to get access to the Internet.

And it’s not hard to do. With just a few taps in the Settings app you’ll be able to securely broadcast your signal to any device that may need it, letting you work as if you were connected to your home Wi-Fi. There are a couple caveats, however. For one, you’ll be using your phone’s data, so you probably shouldn’t use it to stream movies or download large files. Furthermore, some carriers block the feature for certain plans, so if it you can’t get it to work you might need to call your wireless provider. And finally, it can be a major battery drain on your phone, so make sure you have a battery pack handy.


To start the setup process, head over to the Wireless & networks section of Settings. Click the three More dots below Data usage and you’ll see a section called Tethering & portable hotspot. Tap it and you’re in.

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To find the Tethering and portable hotspot menu, tap More under Wireless & networks.

Inside you’ll find four options. The first is USB tethering, which requires a USB cable (it’ll be grayed out if one isn’t plugged in). To use it, simply connect your phone to your laptop via USB and toggle the switch to begin sharing your connection. If your plan supports it, an icon will appear in the quick settings pane and you’ll be ready to go.


Next up is Portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Toggle it on and you’ll see a message appear below it: Portable hotspot AndroidAP active. This will be the temporary name of your Wi-Fi network, and if you go to your laptop’s Wi-Fi pane, you’ll see AndroidAP in the list of available networks. Select it and you’ll be asked to fill in a password before it can connect.

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You’ll be able to change the network name and password inside the Set up Wi-Fi hotspot settings.

For that, you’ll need to head to the third option, Set up Wi-Fi hotspot. Tap it and you’ll be able to edit the network SSID name, disable the WPA2 PSK security (which you absolutely do not want to do), and switch the band frequency from 2.5GHz to 5GHz. You’ll also be able to change the password (or write down the default one by checking the Show password box). After you’re done tweaking, press save and turn the hotspot back on to proceed. Then it’s just a matter of selecting the network (AndroidAP or whatever you’ve renamed it) on your other device, and typing in the auto-generated password or the one you’ve changed it to.

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You’ll need to pair your phone with your laptop or tablet before you can use Bluetooth tethering.

The final option is Bluetooth tethering, and it’s the same as USB tethering except without the cable. After you flip it on you’ll need to take a trip to Bluetooth settings on your laptop or tablet to pair it with your phone. Once you identify your phone in the Bluetooth pane, press Pair and then head over to the Bluetooth settings on your phone. If the two devices have been successfully linked, you’ll get matching verification codes that will allow the two devices to link. Select Pair when prompted and you’re on your way.

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