How to Set up USB Tethering on Windows 11

And how to use USB tethering

What to Know

  • Turn off Windows 11’s Wi-Fi and connect your smartphone via a USB cable.
  • Turn on iPhone’s Personal Hotspot via Settings > Personal Hotspot > Allow Others to Join.
  • Turn on Android’s Mobile Hotspot feature via Settings > Connections > Mobile Hotspot and Tethering > USB tethering.

On this page, you’ll find the instructions for how to connect your Windows 11 device to your iPhone or Android's internet connection by using the USB tethering feature. You’ll find detailed steps for how to enable tethering on mobile devices and several tips for what to do when the internet connection isn’t working properly.

How Do I Enable USB Tethering on Windows 11?

Here’s what you need to do to enable USB tethering on your smartphone to access its internet connection on your Windows 11 laptop, computer, tablet, or two-in-one device such as a Microsoft Surface.

  1. Turn off your Windows 11 device’s Wi-Fi so it won’t connect to any other networks. The fastest way to do this is to select the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar.

    Windows 11 desktop with Wi-Fi setting highlighted.
  2. Turn on your iPhone and activate Personal Hotspot. If you’re using an Android smartphone, switch it on and enable Mobile Hotspot.

    iPhone Personal Hotspot settings for USB tethering with Personal Hotspot and "Allow others to join" toggles highlighted
  3. Plug your smartphone into your Windows 11 laptop, tablet, or computer via a compatible USB cable.

  4. The Ethernet icon should appear in the Windows 11 taskbar near the clock once the connection is made. You can also check the USB tethering is working properly by opening Settings > Network & Internet.

    Windows 11 desktop with Ethernet connection highlighted in Settings app and in taskbar.

    Windows 11 doesn’t have an icon or switch for Ethernet and wired internet connections in the Action Center like it does for Wi-Fi.

How Do I Enable USB Tethering?

Enabling USB tethering on iPhone and Android is surprisingly simple and can be done in just a few taps.

  • On iPhone, open Settings and tap Personal Hotspot > Allow Others to Join.
  • If you’re using an Android smartphone, open Settings and tap Connections > Mobile Hotspot and Tethering > USB tethering.

The exact phrasing may differ on Android depending on what device and version of the operating system you’re using. Despite what it’s called, it will look something like the above example and won’t look too different.

Can I Use USB Tethering?

Sharing the internet via USB tethering is a feature supported by Windows, iOS, and Android devices for a long while now so it’s likely that whichever devices you’re using will support it.

Note you will need the following for USB tethering to work properly:

  • An active internet connection on your smartphone. Your regular 4G or 5G mobile service should be fine.
  • A compatible USB cable. The USB charging cable supplied with your smartphone should work.
  • A USB port on your Windows 11 device. You may need to unplug a mouse or keyboard to free up a USB port if you don’t have any spare ones.

Some Windows 11 USB Tethering Tips and Fixes

If you’re having trouble getting USB tethering to work properly in Windows 11, there are several things you can try.

  • Connect your iPhone to your Windows 11 computer. Download iTunes on your computer and open it while your iPhone is connected via USB. Follow the instructions on-screen to connect your devices. You will need to do this even if you’ve previously made the connection in Windows 7, 8, or 10.
  • Open iTunes. Sometimes opening the iTunes app on your Windows 11 device can trigger the connection to an iPhone if it’s not being detected.
  • Update the operating system on both devices. Updating Windows 11, Android, and iOS can fix a host of problems and bugs.
  • Update your phone drivers in Windows 11. Manually updating the drivers for your iPhone or Android mobile in Windows 11 has been known to fix USB tethering issues.
  • Use the Wi-Fi hotspot option. If you can’t get the USB tethering to work in Windows 11, try using the smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. It’s just as reliable as the USB tethering method and is a lot faster to initiate.
FAQ
  • How do I use USB tethering on Windows 10?

    To set up and use USB tethering in Windows 10, connect your iPhone or Android phone to your Windows 10 device with a USB cable. On an iPhone, turn on your Personal Hotspot; on an Android, turn on USB Tethering. Go to your Windows 10 device's Network and Internet settings to verify the connection.

  • How do I increase my USB tethering internet speed?

    To increase your USB tethering internet speed, try keeping your phone as still as possible to create a more stable internet connection. Also, use a metered connection with a data limit, make sure you're using the latest USB generation, and use a manufacturer-recommended USB cable.

  • How do I use USB tethering on a PS4?

    Connect your Android phone directly to your PS4 via a USB cable. To change how your PS4 detects your Android device, choose Mass Storage Device instead of Media Device to allow USB tethering.

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