Android’s Instant Tethering feature is now available on Nexus and Pixel devices – How to use it?

Google is pushing a new Android feature to Nexus and Pixel devices dubbed as Instant Tethering. This feature allows you to share automatically a cellular data connection between certain Pixel and Nexus devices via Wi-Fi when they’re signed in to the same Google Account. That means, you can automatically connect your tablet to the Internet using your phone’s data connection.

Android Instant Tethering feature will make your phones and tablets to work together in a better way and could share their connectivity seamlessly, allowing them to communicate with each-other locally via Bluetooth. The feature is a part of the new Google Play Services and uses Bluetooth to negotiate the connection.

How it works?

According to Google’s Omri Amarilio,

When you unlock a tablet such as the Pixel C, it will notice if there is no internet connection available, and will ask your Pixel phone if it has internet and battery life. If it does, we will give you an option to enable a secure hotspot and pair automatically, without even taking your phone out of your pocket. And when you are done, if you don’t disconnect, we will notice that you stopped using your tablet and we will disconnect the hotspot for you to save your precious battery throughout the day.

  • Phones that can automatically share their data connections (“host devices”)
    Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P running Android 7.1.1 and up
  • Phones & tablets that can automatically use shared data connections (“receiving devices”)
    Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C, and Nexus 9 running Android 6.0 and up

Google also makes an important mention on it’s product page that certain carriers have their own limitations when it comes to tethering. According to Google, ‘Some cellular carriers limit or charge extra for tethering. We recommend checking with your carrier.’

How to use Instant Tethering feature on your device?

First of all you need to check that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are on your devices. In order to share your phones cellular connection with your other devices linked with the same Google Account:

  • Settings  > Under “Personal,” tap Google > Instant Tethering > Tap Provide data connection

In order to let your devices to find your phone’s cellular connection linked with the same Google Account:

  • Settings > Under “Personal,” tap Google > Instant Tethering > Tap Get data connection.

Google says this feature is enabled by default on all compatible devices, through Play Services. You can turn it off or back on at any time.

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