Instant Tethering lets you easily share your connection with nearby Android devices

Instant Tethering lets you easily share your connection with nearby Android devices

The Wi-Fi tethering feature built into your Android phone is a great feature that shares your connection with devices that might not have cellular capabilities. Now Google is looking to make a little easier to get it up and running.

A new feature called Instant Tethering is currently rolling out as part of the 10.2.91 update to Google Play Services. According to Android Police, the feature is currently limited to Nexus and Pixel phones running Nougat 7.1.1, and the only clients supported are the Nexus 9 and Pixel C tablets (though two phones can share their connections as well). However, as the service begins to make its way to other devices, it could be an excellent feature for people who regularly use their phone’s tethering feature.

Where previous connection needed pairing codes and several steps to set up, the new method works similarly to the way Wi-Fi connections work now. The two devices need to be within Bluetooth range and linked to the same Google account to start the connection, but other than that, there aren’t any toggles to flip or passwords to enter. Basically, your tablet will automatically connect to your phone’s hotspot whenever it needs a connection.

Both the Play services update and the feature are still being rolled out to users, so even if you use one of the supported phones, you might not see the feature yet. To check, head over to the Google menu in the Settings app, and look for the Instant Tethering option under the Services heading.

The impact on you at home: While the requirements are pretty specific at the moment, Instant Tethering could be a killer feature down the road. It also could mean that Google is finally serious about Android tablets. Apple introduced a similar feature in iOS 8 called Instant Hotspot designed to tighten the integration between its phones, tablets, and laptops, and here’s hoping Instant Tethering is a step toward creating something similar with Android.

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