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Monday, January 28, 2019

Chrome OS Instant Tethering Comes to More Android Phones, Here’s How to Do It

Instant Tethering menu on an Android phone

Google’s “Better Together” pairing of Chromebooks and Android phones allows Pixel and Nexus users to share a data connection from the phone to Chromebook automatically, but now it’s getting a broader range of device compatibility.

Given its limited availability so far, you’d be forgiven for not being familiar with the Instant Tethering feature. But, in a nutshell, it allows an Android device to automatically tether to a Chromebook when the ‘book doesn’t detect a usable Wi-Fi connection.

As I mentioned earlier, this is part of Google’s “Better Together” feature in Chrome OS, which is an attempt at a more Mac-like pairing of laptop and phone. Once connected, users can use Smart Lock, Instant Tethering, and even send SMS messages from their Chromebook. The thing is, it was only compatible with Google-branded phones (Nexus, Pixel). Until now.

Of course, its availability is still pretty limited. It’s only available on the Chrome OS developer channel, and you’ll need a compatible phone. Baby steps. Before we get into how to get it running, however, there are a few things you’ll need to note:

  • You’ll still need a compatible tethering plan. If you don’t have tethering on your mobile plan, this won’t work. Google isn’t interested in helping you dupe the carriers. Sorry.
  • Your phone has to be compatible. Before you go through all the trouble of setting it up on your Chromebook, head into Settings > Google and look for “Instant Tethering” on your phone. If it’s not there, this won’t work.

With that, let’s do this thing.

Step One: Connect Your Android Phone

Assuming you’re on the developer channel, go ahead and jump into your Chromebook’s settings menu. From there, scroll down to “Connected devices” and click the Set Up button.

Chrome OS Connect Devices menu entry

In this new menu, hit the dropdown on the left side and choose your phone. Next, click the Accept & Continue button.

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