How to tether phone to laptop

Tethering is a solid way to provide internet access to another device, like a tablet, laptop, or another phone. In this article, we shall find out how to tether your phone to a laptop.

Whether you are using an Android or an iPhone, you can comfortably share your cellular data with another gizmo by activating its tethering feature. Tether is extremely useful when you are in an area where there is no Wi-Fi access.

You can tether your phone to a laptop using a USB cable, Bluetooth, or through Wi-Fi. However, it is also essential to note that not all carriers have a tethering feature. If this is the case, you will not see the Personal Hotspot feature on your phone, meaning you will have to pay extra to gain access.

How to use tethering

Tethering refers to connecting your mobile phone to your laptop or computer, allowing it to access the internet through your cellular data plan. While tethering your phone to any device, you should keep in mind that you are using your mobile data. As a result, if you exceed your data limit, you will incur additional charges, or your internet connection speed will slow down drastically.

Before tethering your phone to your laptop, check your cellular plan for more details on plans about tethering and hotspot capabilities. Furthermore, users should also beware that Wi-Fi tethering will drain your phone’s battery relatively fast. Therefore, ensure it is plugged in to charge to prevent it from switching off.

There are three ways to use the tethering feature on your phone. They include tethering using a USB cable, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Depending on the model of your phone, the steps to tether your device to another may vary.

Wi-Fi tethering

Wi-Fi tethering

Wi-Fi tethering is the easiest means of tethering and sharing the internet with your laptop. Your cell phone transforms to become a little portable hotspot that creates a secure network that your laptop can use to connect to the internet.

To tether through Wi-Fi, enable the Personal Hotspot feature on your device and turn on the Wi-Fi functionality on your laptop. Despite the wording for setting up Wi-Fi tethering varying on Android and iOS devices, the functionality is basically the same.

On Android devices, open the Settings menu on your mobile phone and tap on Network & Internet, Wireless networks, or Wireless, depending on the Android version you have. From there, click on Portable hotspot, Tethering, or Mobile Network Sharing, but if it is not there, look for the More option and then look for such options or something similar.

When you open the tethering icon, you should see a list of options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB. If you are looking to use Wi-Fi tethering, choose the Wi-Fi option, and configure it by setting up the SSID network name and password. After successful configuration, connect to that network on your laptop by merely enabling its Wi-Fi connection and choosing that network and entering the relevant password to enjoy fast and reliable connectivity.

Tethering via Bluetooth

How to share internet without a hotspot

You can also share your cellular data with your laptop through its in-built Bluetooth feature. However, both devices must have an active Bluetooth connection. Pair both devices by opening the Bluetooth menu and making the phone discoverable. On your laptop, open its Bluetooth settings and go to where you can look for new devices to pair with. Wait for your discoverable device to show up, and tap on it to initiate the pairing process once it shows up.

During the pairing process, you will get a prompt notification with similar but unique codes on both devices to confirm the process. Tap Pair on both devices, and soon after, your devices will be connected through Bluetooth.

To enable the Bluetooth tethering feature on your phone and laptop, open the Settings menu on your phone, and click on the Tethering and Mobile hotspot option. You should get a list of options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB tethering. Flip the switch to enable Bluetooth tethering.

On your laptop, open the Bluetooth icon on its system tray, often at the bottom left corner, and tap Join a personal area network. You should see the name of your internet sharing phone on the menu. Click on it and tap on the Connect using drop-down menu to choose Access point. You will receive a confirmation prompt on your laptop upon establishing your connection, allowing you to browse the net using the Bluetooth connection.

Tethering using a USB cable

share internet through a USB cable

USB tethering is the easiest and fastest tethering method to configure and access the internet since you only require a working USB cable and reliable port. Connect your phone and laptop using a USB cable, and you will see a USB tethering option on the quick notification prompt. Tap it on, and you will immediately enjoy internet access.

Alternatively, you can open your Settings icon on your phone and click on the Tethering and Mobile Hotspot option. Once you get the list of options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB tethering, toggle the USB tethering option to turn it on and enjoy internet access from your phone to your laptop. Furthermore, you extend the battery life of your phone by using USB tethering.

Via Wi-Fi
Via Bluetooth
Via USB cabling
How to tether
Enable your Personal Hotspot on your device and allow laptop to connect by turning on their Wi-Fi functionality
Pair your laptop and phone by making the phone discoverable, while the laptop searches for it on its Bluetooth settings
Connect your phone and laptop using a USB cable, and enable the USB tethering option on the quick notification prompt on your phone

How to tether iPhone to MAC

Similarly, you can share the internet on your iPhone with your MAC device using its Bluetooth feature, iPhone USB cable, or Wi-Fi hotspot. If you want to access these tethering options, turn on your iPhone’s hotspot by opening the Settings icon and click on the Personal Hotspot option. Toggle on the device’s Personal Hotspot switch to activate its Wi-Fi hotspot. If necessary, configure the network’s name and password to your preference.

If you are connecting using the iPhone’s USB cable, make sure you have connected the devices with the cable before turning on the personal hotspot of the phone. You will receive a confirmation prompt on your MAC device saying ‘New Interface Detected’, click ‘OK’ to confirm. If you are connecting the two devices for the first time, you have to ensure that you have the latest version of iTunes on your iPhone and launch to enable your device to tether via USB. Likewise, if you are using Bluetooth tethering, you have to pair the devices first before allowing tethering.

Once you have turned on the iPhone’s personal hotspot, open the System Preferences options on your MAC device. Tap open the Show All option and then the Network tab to select the network option you have established. If you are using Bluetooth or USB tethering, ensure that you switch off Wi-Fi connectivity on your device. Whichever option you choose, you will see its status label set to connected, meaning you can enjoy internet access through your iPhone on your MAC device.


Tethering your iPhone to your MAC device is a convenient way to share your cellular data plan and surf the net while on the go. However, you have to ensure that your service provider has enabled the tethering device on your iPhone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to transfer files from iPhone to MAC?

Connect your iPhone to your MAC using the iPhone USB cable, and your files will automatically launch.

Is it better to use USB tethering instead of the mobile hotspot feature?

If you want to connect one device to your internet sharing device, it is better to use the USB tethering feature to guarantee faster speeds, saves battery life, and security of your device. If you want to connect more than one device, it is best to use the mobile hotspot feature.

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