How to Use Your Android Phone as a Hotspot.
If your home Wi-Fi router is starting to go haywire or you’re heading to an area where there’s no internet access, setting up a mobile hotspot on your Android phone can quickly help you get other devices online. We’ll show you how.
Your Android phone allows you to share cellular data with other devices by broadcasting itself as a personal hotspot. It’s a quick and easy way to access the Internet when you don’t have regular Wi-Fi access.
However, setting up your Android device as a mobile hotspot requires battery life, so you can use it sparingly. For longer sessions, it’s better to use less traditional methods like USB tethering and Bluetooth.
Depending on your cellular plan, some carriers may not allow you to use mobile data or may charge additional charges for tethering. If in doubt, confirm before you begin.
Note. The following guide demonstrates how to share your Android’s internet connection via hotspot, USB, and Bluetooth on a Google Pixel running stock Android 12. The steps below may vary slightly depending on your device and system software version.
Activate Mobile Hotspot on Android
The first time you want to share the Internet on your Android mobile phone with other devices, you should check the “Wi-Fi hotspot” settings of the device. This allows you to change the default hotspot name, adjust the security level, and write down the Wi-Fi password. You can also use a few tweaks to improve battery life and expand compatibility. For this:
1. Find and open the Settings app on the home screen of your Android device. Or open the app drawer and search for it.
2. Click Network & Internet > Hotspot & tethering to open the mobile hotspot & tethering settings page. Then select a Wi-Fi hotspot.
3. Configure the following settings and turn on the switch next to Use Wi-Fi hotspot:
Hotspot name: Set a recognizable network name for the Android hotspot feature. Otherwise, the default device name will be used. Security: Select an available Wi-Fi security protocol , such as WPA3-Personal, WPA2/WPA3-Personal, and WPA2-Personal. WPA3 provides better security but may not be compatible with older devices. Stick to the default WPA2/WPA3 setting, or choose WPA2 if you have connection problems. Access Point Password: Write down the default access point password. It’s a random string of alphanumeric numbers, so feel free to change it. However, don’t use an easy-to-guess password. Auto disable hotspot. Allow your Android device to turn off mobile hotspot automatically to save battery power when no devices are connected. Expand Compatibility: Allows older devices to detect and use an Android hotspot as a Wi-Fi connection. However, this may cause the battery to drain faster.
You can now connect to your Android phone’s hotspot from another device. The process is similar to connecting to a regular Wi-Fi network. On a PC or Mac, select the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar or menu bar, select the name of the mobile hotspot, and enter its password.
You can connect your iOS or iPadOS device the same way – just go to the Wi-Fi selection screen to join. You can also press the QR code button on the Wi-Fi hotspot screen and scan it with your iPhone or iPad camera to instantly connect to a hotspot without entering a password. Instead, use the Neighborhood Sharing feature to allow other Android mobile devices to connect to the hotspot network.
In the future, you can turn the hotspot on and off for your Android device through the quick settings panel. Just swipe down from the top of the screen to open it (you may need to swipe down or sideways twice to open all settings). Then touch the hotspot icon to switch the function, or long press to open the Wi-Fi Hotspot settings screen.
Again, your Android hotspot uses a lot of power to stay active. If you have not set your device to turn off the hotspot automatically when no devices are connected, be sure to do so to avoid draining the battery.
Activate USB Tethering on Android
If you have a USB cable, you can connect your Android to your desktop or laptop via USB and share your cellular data plan that way. It speeds up the internet and prevents your phone battery from draining. However, a USB tethering does not allow you to connect additional devices and may shorten the laptop’s battery life.
1. Open the Settings app on your Android device and tap Network & Internet > Hotspot & tethering.
2. Turn on the switch next to USB tethering.
3. Connect your Android to your PC or Mac and disconnect from other wireless networks (or turn off the Wi-Fi module). It should automatically start using mobile data via USB.
Unlike a mobile hotspot, you don’t need to unplug your USB tethering when you’re not actively using it.
Activate Bluetooth Tethering on Android
It is also possible to share the Internet with a desktop computer or laptop on your Android phone via Bluetooth. This results in slower internet speeds and makes it a bit more difficult to set up and use. However, this significantly reduces battery consumption compared to using a network with hotspots.
1. Open the Settings app on your Android device, tap Network & Internet > Hotspot & tethering and turn on the switch next to Bluetooth tethering.
2. Connect your Android phone to your desktop computer or laptop. On Microsoft Windows, you can open the Start Menu and select Settings > Bluetooth and Devices > Add Device. On a Mac, open the Apple menu and choose System Preferences > Bluetooth. Don’t forget to put your Android in discoverable mode during the pairing process (just go to Settings > Connected Devices).
3. Set up your PC or Mac to start using Bluetooth. In Windows, right-click the Bluetooth icon on the Windows taskbar and select “Join a personal network”. Or open the control panel and select “Hardware and Sound” > “Devices and Printers” . Then highlight your Android and select Connect to > Access Point.
On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Network, select the Plus icon and add PAN Bluetooth.
Note. As of this writing, Apple has removed the ability to set up a Bluetooth Personal Area Network on Macs running macOS 12 Monterey and later. You shouldn’t have any problems using a Bluetooth tethering on older versions of macOS.
Uninterrupted Internet Connectivity
Knowing how to set up an Android phone as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot can help you in many situations. However, remember to use a USB or Bluetooth tethering when battery life is an issue. If you encounter problems following the instructions above, learn how to fix Android mobile hotspot and connect to the internet again.
How to Use Your Android Phone as a Hotspot
How to Use Your Android Phone as a Hotspot