Google’s Instant Tethering feature quietly arrives on Chromebooks
An Instant Tethering feature has appeared in the latest Canary build of Chrome OS to simplify the process of setting up a mobile hotspot on your Chromebook.
Instant Tethering essentially means you don’t have to pick up your phone to set up a mobile hotspot when you’re nowhere near a Wi-Fi connection. Instead, when your device’s internet signal drops, it will use Bluetooth to automatically hunt for a connection from other nearby devices logged into your Google account.
The feature has been available on certain Nexus and Pixel devices since January this year, but it’s just popped up in the latest Canary Build of Chrome OS. All you have to is set up Instant Tethering on your Android phone via the Settings, then enable the feature on the flags page on your Chromebook and restart the device.
When you’ve finished those steps, your Chromebook will automatically pick up your phone’s data connection when it’s in a Wi-Fi-free zone – providing both devices are logged into the same Google account. Basically, your Google login becomes your default Wi-Fi hotspot password, which is much less hassle than having to enter a unique and lengthy hotspot password every time you’re caught short on the go.
The other boon with Instant Tethering is that it will shut down your mobile hotspot when it detects your Chromebook is switched off, which means your phone’s data allowance and battery life won’t be needlessly drained if you forget you’re tethered.
There are a couple of minor caveats, however. The feature can only be used with a Pixel or Nexus device running Android Nougat, and it’s only available on the Canary version of Chrome OS for now, which is the developer build. If you don’t fancy tinkering with that, you’ll have to sit tight until the feature inevitably hits the normal version of Chrome OS soon.
Related: Best laptop 2017
Do you find instant tethering useful? Share your thoughts in the comments