Top 3 Apps for Tethering an Android Phone

Turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot

Android tethering apps turn your smartphone into a portable modem that other devices can connect to for internet access. Below are the best apps for Android that can turn your phone into a tethering device so that other Wi-Fi devices, like tablets and laptops, can connect to your Android hotspot.

Tethering apps are helpful if you don't want to pay for a tethering plan from your carrier or if your phone doesn't support tethering out of the box.

Many of these apps are not officially supported by carriers and device manufacturers. For certain devices, you may need to perform hacking procedures or get root access for the apps to work. Use these apps at your own risk and make sure your wireless contract doesn't forbid tethering or using your phone as a modem.

If it's a hassle to connect your computer to your phone for the internet, consider mobile broadband service for your laptop. There are prepaid and daily use options as well as monthly data subscriptions that are comparable to the tethering data plans offered by wireless carriers.

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PdaNet+ in Windows
What We Like
  • Extremely easy setup.

  • Works with Windows and Mac computers.

  • Multiple connection options.

What We Don't Like
  • Interrupts your connection in the free version.

  • No wireless mode for Macs.

PdaNet+ is one of the most popular tethering apps for most mobile platforms. It lets you use your Android phone's data connection on your tablet, phone, or laptop via USB, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth.

This Android tethering app is also said to be the fastest tethering option for Android, and it doesn't require you to root your phone. However, only the full version works without interruptions; the free app disconnects you occasionally.

See step-by-step instructions for using PdaNet+ if you need help.

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Barnacle Wifi Tether

Barnacle Wifi Tether
What We Like
  • Works with Xbox and PCs.

  • No PC software required.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires root access.

  • Harder to set up than other tethering apps.

  • Might not work with modern Android versions.

Barnacle Wifi Tether doesn't require software to be installed on the PC side and no custom kernel on the smartphone. However, it requires rooting your phone. It works by creating an ad hoc network for other devices to connect to.

This tethering app for Android is open source. If you like it and want to support the developers, buy the inexpensive paid version as a form of a donation and get more features like WEP encryption (but keep in mind that WEP isn't a secure protocol).

Barnacle Wifi Tether works with Windows 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Mac, Linux, iOS mobile devices, and Xbox.

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EasyTether Lite

EasyTether Android app
What We Like
  • Root access not required.

  • Walkthrough for easy setup.

  • Supports several connection types.

What We Don't Like
  • Free version blocks HTTPS URLs.

EasyTether looks a lot like the PdaNet+ app listed above. You can connect over USB or Bluetooth and there are detailed instructions for how to get your computer, Android tablet, or other device set up to your personal hotspot.

This app works with Windows, Mac, and Linux, and can also tether your gaming system. The lite version works just fine but it won't let you access secure sites that have HTTPS at the beginning of the URL. To have that functionality, you have to pay for EasyTether Pro.

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