How to Set up USB Tethering on Windows 10

Use your Android or iPhone to create a hotspot

What to Know

  • First, connect your Android or iPhone to your laptop with a USB cable.
  • Next, go to Settings on your phone > turn on USB Tethering (Android) or Personal Hotspot (iPhone).
  • In the Windows taskbar, open the computer's Network and Internet settings to verify the connection.

This article explains how to set up USB tethering on Windows 10 devices, which allows you to create a Wi-Fi hotspot to access the internet even when no network connection is available. Troubleshooting tips are also included if something isn't working right.

How to Set Up USB Tethering on Windows 10

Before you begin, make sure both your phone's operating system and your computer's operating system are updated to the latest versions. Also, depending on your mobile carrier, you may be charged a flat fee for tethering a laptop to a mobile device. Check with your carrier if you're worried about extra costs.

To set up USB tethering between your mobile device and your Windows 10 computer:

  1. Connect your mobile device to your laptop via USB cable.

    For Android phones, use a USB-to-micro USB or USB-to-USB-C connector. For iPhones, use the standard lightning connector.

  2. Open your phone's settings and go to Network & Internet > Hotspot & tethering (Android) or Cellular > Personal Hotspot (iPhone).

  3. turn on USB tethering (on Android) or Personal Hotspot (on iPhone) to enable. Your laptop should now be able to access the internet through your phone's mobile plan.

    Make sure to disable automatic wireless connections so your computer doesn't try connecting with other networks you can't access.

  4. Open your computer's Network and Internet settings in the Windows taskbar to make sure you're connected. Depending on your device, it may say that you're connected via LAN.

    If you're having trouble with the connection, try plugging your phone into a different USB port, or using a different cable.

    Open your computer's Network Settings in the Windows taskbar to make sure you are connected.

Troubleshooting Windows 10 USB Tethering

If USB tethering isn't working in Windows 10, it could be because the driver for the network adapter is outdated. To fix this problem:

  1. Right-click the Start Menu and select Device Manager.

    Windows Device Manager in menu
  2. Expand the Network adapters tab, then right-click your network adapter and select Update driver.

    Expand the Network adapters tab, then right-click your network adapter and select Update driver.
  3. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.

    Search automatically for updated driver software

You must restart the computer after installing the driver. If the Device Manager says that you already have the latest driver, then the problem could be with your connection, your phone, or your mobile data.

What Is USB Tethering?

Tethering is the process of sharing your phone's mobile data to access the internet on another device, such as a laptop. You can tether using Bluetooth or NFC, but USB tethering is the fastest and most effective method. That said, USB tethering can't compete with the speeds of a solid Wi-Fi connection.

Be careful about how much data you use when tethered. Since many data plans charge incremental amounts based on data usage, watching videos or downloading files on a tethered connection can quickly increase your phone bill. In some cases, it's possible to reverse tether and share Wi-Fi from your computer to your phone to save on data.

  • Why is USB tethering not working?

    If USB tethering isn't working, you have a connection problem. To fix it if USB tethering is not working, try disabling Wi-Fi, ensuring the USB cable is functional and connected properly, testing a different USB port, and restarting your device. You can also try updating the Windows tethering driver.

  • Why can't I turn on USB tethering?

    It's possible that you've changed carriers, and USB tethering was a function of your prior carrier. It's also possible that the devices aren't recognizing each other because of a faulty USB cable or port or another glitch.

  • How do I set up USB tethering in Windows 11?

    First, turn off Windows 11’s Wi-Fi and connect your smartphone via a USB cable. On your iPhone, activate your Personal Hotspot (or turn on Mobile Hotspot on Android). The Ethernet icon will appear in the taskbar near the clock after the connection is made. 

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