How to tether your phone to your PC

Wi-Fi woes? Your phone can save the day…

14 Jun 2022

We’re working at home more than ever before. That’s fine until your Wi-Fi starts playing up, and your computer loses connection.

Luckily, there’s a quick fix. You can simply use your phone to keep your laptop or PC connected. There are two options for doing this – USB tethering, or creating a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Here’s how to do each one.

USB tethering

With USB tethering, you connect your phone to your laptop with the charging cable. It’s the quickest way to get a fast and stable connection because the internet connection is only used by your laptop. You won’t be slowed down by other devices joining the network.

How to USB tether on Android 
Plug your charging cable into your phone, and the USB side into your laptop.

Then go into your phone settings and turn on ‘USB tethering’. It’ll be under ‘Connection & sharing’ or something similar (the exact name differs between phone brands).

Now wait around 30 seconds and refresh your laptop browser. You should be back online. 

How to USB tether on iPhone
You’ll need iTunes on your computer for it to detect your iPhone. If it’s not on your Windows laptop, go ahead and download iTunes for Windows.

Now open iTunes on your computer, then go into your iPhone Settings > Mobile Data > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Personal Hotspot.  

Turn it on, then plug your USB cable into your iPhone and laptop.

Head to ‘Network settings’ on your laptop, and it should recognise your iPhone as a wired connection. Join this and you’re good to go. 

Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots

The second option is to turn your smartphone into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. This is a good choice if you want to connect more than one device. In fact, your whole family can connect their laptops, phones and tablets to your phone in tethering mode.

How to turn your Android into a hotspot
Go into your phone settings and turn on ‘Personal hotspot’. It’ll be under ‘Connection & sharing’ or something similar. Like we said above, the exact name depends on your type of Android phone.

From there, go to ‘Hotspot settings’ and change your network name to something that’s easy to remember.

Now head to ‘Network settings’ on your laptop, and you’ll see the name of your hotspot. Turn it on, and your back online.

How to turn your iPhone into a hotspot
Go to Settings > Mobile Data > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Personal Hotspot.  Turn it on, then check that your hotspot name is easy to remember. Now go into ‘Network settings’ on your laptop, and turn your iPhone hotspot on.

Top tip: the positioning of your phone while it’s tethering can affect your internet speed. So put it near a window, or wherever you get the strongest 4G or 5G signal.

Need more help?

If you’re looking for a new laptop, our laptop buying guide is a good place to start. If you’ve got a question on anything mobile or tech related, give our experts a call on ShopLive.

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