Tethering – in case you aren’t familiar with the term – means being able to use your Android phone like a wireless models, usually for another Wi-Fi only device like a tablet.

This gives you internet access on the go, regardless of your location. However, you’ll usually have to go through a few steps to set up the connection. But not anymore, if you are a Pixel or (recent) Nexus owner.

The Instant Tethering feature is currently rolling out for owners of the phones in question. To get things going, users need to turn on the feat by accessing Settings > Google > Instant Tethering on their phone. By tapping the “Provide data connection” you’ll be able to initiate the host device, while “Get data connection” gets the receiving device ready. Don’t forget to have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on.

There are a few requirements to consider – the device providing the Internet connection need to be a Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P running Android 7.1.1 or later. As for the receiving devices, they include all the above phones plus the Nexus 9 and Pixel C tablets. Also they need to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later.

Note that both devices need to be signed up into the same Google account, for the setup to actually work. Since tethering will most likely drain battery life, the connection will automatically disconnect after 10 minutes of inactivity.

Surely it’s nothing you can do manually, but the new feature adds the convince of making the connection happen almost automatically.

At the moment, it’s unclear whether more devices (Google or not) will be getting the feature or not in the near future, but we’ll let you know in case this happens.

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  1. So the receiving device has to be one of the few listed? What’s the point then? Who’s going to have 2 very similar devices in age and one that isn’t connected? This only makes sense if you can attach any Wi-Fi enabled tablet with Android build “X” or higher to your Nexus or Pixel phone. Otherwise it’s a throwaway function.

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