Google expands Instant Tethering connection to 15 Chromebooks and 30 Android phone models

Regular readers already knew this was coming, and now it’s officially “official”: You can use a non-Pixel branded Android phone as a seamless hotspot for your Chromebook. And it’s not just limited to Google’s own Chrome OS hardware either. The feature is available on 15 different Chromebook models:

Before today, Instant Tethering was available only on a small range of devices, namely Pixelbooks and
Pixel Slates paired with either Pixel or Nexus phones. But now, Instant Tethering is available on 15
additional Chromebook models and over 30 cell phone models.

While you could have always used any smartphone as a hotspot for your Chromebook — provided you have a carrier plan that supports that function — the Instant Tethering function is mainly a “set it and forget it” process.

Once you link an Android phone to a Chromebook for tethering, the Chromebook will automatically prompt you to use your cellular data connection when a Wi-Fi network can’t be found. Essentially, it’s automatic and is part of Google’s Better Together branding strategy, which also includes SMS messaging and unlocking your Chrome OS device when your handset is in Bluetooth range.

Google will show a list of Chromebooks and Android phones compatible with Instant Tethering on this help site, so once it’s live, you can see if your devices are on the list. And if not, Google says ” [W]e’ll be bringing Instant Tethering to even more Chromebook and phones in the coming months,” so you might want to bookmark that page.

Update: Here is the list of compatible Android phone models, per Google.

  • HTC U11, U11+
  • HTC U12+
  • Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X
  • LG G7 ThinQ
  • LG V30, V30+, V30S ThinQ, V30S+ ThinQ
  • LG V35 ThinQ
  • LG V40 ThinQ
  • Motorola Moto Z
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force
  • Motorola Z3
  • Nexus 5X
  • Nexus 6, Nexus 6P
  • OnePlus 5, 5T
  • OnePlus 6, 6T
  • Pixel, Pixel XL
  • Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL
  • Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
  • Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Active, S7 Edge
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9
  • Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+

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9 thoughts on “Google expands Instant Tethering connection to 15 Chromebooks and 30 Android phone models

    1. For some reason Google published their news post at the 10:30am PT embargo time but they haven’t updated the support pages yet. Should be soon though.

  1. Hmmm… the example screenshot shows a Nokia 7 plus phone connected to the chromebook, but that model is not in the list of supported devices. What gives?

  2. Is the instant tethering limited only to certain chromebooks? Is this a function of hardware/Chrome OS? I have a Pixel 3 and Samsung Pro Chromebook (which isn’t listed). Wondering if it’s only a matter of time and a software update?

  3. Is the instant tethering function a hardware or software function to Chromebook models? I have a Pixel 3 with instant tethering enabled but my Samsung Pro Chromebook doesn’t seem to prompt on it. Wondering if it’s only a matter of time and software updates.

  4. What am I missing here. I bought a cheap Lenovo Chromebook 3 years ago. I’ve been been able to use it with my phone’s hotspot ever since I bought it.

    1. Yup, anyone can use a phone as hotspot with a Chromebook. The difference is when you lose a Wi-Fi connection, this will quickly connect to your phone. It doesn’t add any new functionality, it simply makes the tethering process easier and faster.

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