Google’s Nougat-only Instant Tethering feature has been in limited testing for a few weeks already, but it’s now rolling out to more owners of Google Pixel and Nexus handsets.
In a nutshell, the new option replaces the somewhat clunky method of sharing your phone’s data connection with multiple devices with a far simpler, hands-off approach. While the wider rollout is good news, you do still need to be using one of a handful of specific devices – namely, the Pixel, Pixel C, Pixel XL, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 9. All of those need to be running Android Nougat, too.
If you fulfill those requirements, you’ll be able to set your phone (or tablet) up as a host device but devices that you want to connect to your new hotspot only need to be running Android Marshmallow (6.0) or higher, both devices also need to be connected to the same Google account, according to 9to5Google.
Once you’re setup, a notification will appear on your non-host devices whenever you’re in range and there’s a data connection. Once you’re done, it’ll automatically disconnect after 10 minutes of sitting idle.
If you want to check and see if you’ve acquired the option with a recent OTA update, you want to head to Settings > Google and then it’ll appear in the list as Instant Tethering, if available to you.
While it’s not a feature that’ll be immediately useful to everyone, anyone with an Android tablet, Android phone and/or a Chromebook would find it an incredibly useful way of providing connectivity without needing separate data plans, provided Google doesn’t keep it restricted to its own devices.
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