How to Set Up USB Tethering on Windows 10

Use your Android or iPhone to create a hotspot on Windows 10

What to Know

  • Tethering your phone to a device lets you create a hotspot to access the internet even if no network connection is available.
  • You can do this on both Windows and Mac under your device's settings. It's called Tethering on Android; Personal Hotspot on Mac.
  • You can tether using Bluetooth or NFC, but USB tethering is the fastest and most effective way to share your phone's mobile data. 

This article explains how to set up USB tethering on Windows 10 devices and includes troubleshooting tips to help you 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 Apple phones, use the standard lightning cable.

  2. Open your phone's settings and search for Tethering (on Android) or Personal Hotspot (on Mac).

    Enabling tethering on Android
  3. Tap the toggle switch beside USB tethering (on Android) or Personal Hotspot (on Mac) to enable it. Your laptop should now be able to access the internet through your phone's mobile plan.

    Make sure you turn off Wi-Fi so that your computer doesn't try connecting with other networks you can't access.

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

    If your having trouble with the connection, try plugging your phone into a different USB port, or try 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If USB tethering isn't working in Windows 10, it could be because the driver for the network adapter is out-of-date. 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

After installing the driver, you must restart the computer. 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 way to share your phone's mobile data. 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 case, it's possible to reverse tether, or share Wi-Fi from your computer to your phone, to save on data.