A fairly obvious Chromium commit this week has revealed that Google is working on a feature that most people probably already assumed existed. In a coming release, Chrome OS will be able to use USB tethering with iPhones.

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Currently, iPhone owners who want to share their internet connection with a Chromebook can use the mobile hotspot function, but that can quickly drain the phone’s battery. As the folks at ChromeUnboxed first spotted, USB tethering from an iOS device is clearly in the works for Chrome OS.

According to the Chromium commit, some find that USB tethering is less battery intensive as well as being more reliable too. That makes sense given that this method is essentially giving your Chromebook a hardwired connection to the cellular service. Currently, trying to use USB tethering from an iPhone on Chrome OS results in the Chromebook showing the iPhone as a USB device, but without Ethernet functionality.

CHROMIUM: Enable kernel support for iPhone tethering through USB

iPhone tethering through USB consumes less battery than wireless or Bluetooth tethering and is much safer. Based on user reports, it is also more reliable than Wifi tethering.

There’s currently no indication on when this functionality will arrive in a stable channel update, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye out for if you’re using an iPhone.

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