Google introduced Instant Tethering in 2017 to let Chrome OS devices automatically share an Android phone’s cellular connection. Initially limited to Google devices, it’s now available on 15 additional Chromebooks and 31 Android phones.

Instant Tethering is now part of the “Better Together” initiative introduced with Chrome OS 71, seeking to improve the experience of owning a Chromebook and Android phone. Once paired, your Chromebook can be unlocked by that mobile device when it’s nearby, or send and receive Messages through the web.

Another key feature is automating the multi-step process of sharing your phone’s internet connectivity with a Chromebook. Users no longer have to manually create and turn on a Wi-Fi hotspot, and then enter those network credentials.

When your Chromebook detects that it has no Wi-Fi access point, it provides a notification that a data connection is available through your mobile device. Instant Tethering is enabled once you click the ‘Connect’ button on that notification.

Network strength and phone battery life appear in Chrome OS settings so that users don’t have to manually check. Meanwhile, after 10 minutes of no Chromebook activity, Instant Tethering will automatically disconnect from your laptop and turn off the phone’s network to save data and power.

Users last month began spotting the expanded availability with Google, confirming today that Instant Tethering is available on 15 Chromebooks in addition to the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate. Chrome OS 71 and above is required:

Acer Chromebook 13 HP Chromebook 11 G5
Acer Chromebook 14 HP Chromebook x2
Acer Chromebook 15 HP Chromebook x360 14
Acer Chromebook R11 Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630
Acer Chromebook Spin 13 Samsung Chromebook 3
ASUS Chromebook C423 Samsung Chromebook Plus V2
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 LTE
Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14

On the mobile side, a Pixel or Nexus phone is no longer needed with 31 devices running Android Nougat and above now supported:

HTC U11 Motorola Moto Z
HTC U11+ Motorola Moto Z2 Force
HTC U12+ Motorola Z3
Huawei Mate 10 OnePlus 5
Huawei Mate 10 Pro OnePlus 5T
Huawei Mate 20 OnePlus 6
Huawei Mate 20 Pro OnePlus 6T
Huawei Mate 20 X Samsung Galaxy S7
LG G7 ThinQ Samsung Galaxy S7 Active
LG V30 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
LG V30+ Samsung Galaxy Note 8
LG V30S ThinQ Samsung Galaxy S8
LG V30S+ ThinQ Samsung Galaxy S8+
LG V35 ThinQ Samsung Galaxy Note 9
LG V40 ThinQ Samsung Galaxy S9
Samsung Galaxy S9+

Google plans to add Instant Tethering to even more devices in the coming months as it works to improve the integration between Android and Chrome OS.


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