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Most modern smartphones are equipped with Wi-Fi tethering, which allows you to share your phone’s data connection with a computer over Wi-Fi (yes, even Windows Phones Share Your Windows Phone Internet Connection Using The Tethering Feature Share Your Windows Phone Internet Connection Using The Tethering Feature Windows Phone is becoming an increasing popular platform, but its initial release in 2010 baffled commentators by omitting key functionality such as copy and paste and tethering. Omitting these features arguably punished the platform, resulting... Read More ). Theoretically, Android phones can also be tethered over USB instead of Wi-Fi. This has a number of advantages; you won’t get interference from other wireless devices, and the difference in latency is remarkable.

On Windows this usually works as advertised, but Mac OS X is missing some essential USB network drivers. Without those drivers, Android USB tethering is essentially unusable.

This incompatibility is rarely mentioned by Google and Apple alike (as in: not at all), so you’re left to your own devices. Here’s how to solve it.

1. Install the HoRNDIS driver

As mentioned above, the problem stems from a driver problem. Luckily, Joshua Wise took matters into his own hands and developed the HoRNDIS (pronounced horrendous) USB tethering driver for Mac OS X.

horndis-install

Go to the HoRNDIS website and download the latest binary. The HoRNDIS driver comes as a package, so just double-click it and follow the steps to finish the installation.

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It’s usually a simple process. However, if you’re on Mavericks (OS X 10.9) and you upgraded from a previous version of the HoRNDIS drivers, you might experience some small issues. If your phone starts appearing multiple times within your Network System Preferences, there might be some issues with your network preferences. Read through the relevant section on the HoRNDIS website to resolve these issues.

2. Enable USB Tethering on your Android Phone

Make sure you’re connected to a network on your smartphone, either Wi-Fi or mobile data. You can enable USB tethering in a subsection of the Wireless options. We’ll show the steps for Android 4.2, but this looks very similar in other Android versions as well.

android-usb-tethering

Open the Settings app and go to Wireless & networks (sometimes found under other). It’s tempting to toggle USB Internet here, but don’t. This is a different feature, although the name sure is confusing. Instead, go to the Tethering & portable hotspot subsection.

Here, toggle the USB tethering option. You can, in theory, also keep your Wi-Fi hotspot in stand, but it will probably be less taxing for your phone (and your mobile data connection) to turn this off.

3. Connect to your Smartphone on your Computer

On your Mac, open System Preferences and browse to the Network settings. In this pane, your computer keeps a list of all the available network interfaces (like Wi-Fi, Thunderbolt and Bluetooth PAN). In this list, you should be able to find your smartphone.

android-network-mac

If the indicator light next to the connection is green, you’re already connected! If not, just double-click the connection to establish contact with your phone. You can use the advanced settings to customise your internet connection if you want to use custom DNS servers How to Optimize Your DNS for Faster Internet How to Optimize Your DNS for Faster Internet "The Internet is just a series of tubes" as one man so wisely stated. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. There’s a complex architecture that supports the Internet, and data packets need to travel... Read More or proxies, but most users should be all set up at this point. If you’re not planning on using it, you could even turn off your Wi-Fi connection entirely!

That’s It!

You have nothing to keep you back from tethering your socks off now. Do you use tethering a lot yourself? Share your tips and experiences with us in the comments section below the article!

  1. Rafique
    November 16, 2016 at 6:20 am

    REVERSE INTERNET THETHERING FROM MAC TO YOUR MOBILE OR OTHER DEVICES :

    You can even share your internet as WiFi,Bluetooth so that all other devices can connect to your Mac.

    I am using Mac-Mini.
    Do the following :

    1) Go to System Preferences -> Sharing -> internet sharing (don't check teh checkbox)
    2) Select "Share your connection from" to "Ethernet" (since you are connect from ethernet cable)
    3) Select "Share your connection to" to "WiFi"
    4) Click on "WiFi options" button and set your wifi password
    5) Everything is done. Now check the Checkbox "Internet Sharing"

    Thats it! Search and connect from you mobile device or any other device :-)

    PS: I usually do this in my office where my MacMini is connected using ethernet and system administrator don't give me wifi password :P

  2. Jhem
    August 9, 2016 at 2:51 am

    hello, uhm can I connect my mac in a phone that has internet, because my laptop's wifi has been destroyed inside my mac, so when i use internet in it, i will connect it directly in the router. is it possible to connect my mac to a phone with a USB port so i can have internet in my mac?

  3. Robek Thirtysix
    August 27, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I have a question: on which devise to I Install the HoRNDIS driver? phone or Mac??????

  4. Nico
    May 20, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Hey! I was wondering.. can you do this the other way around? Sharing your MacBook's wifi connection to your Android device via USB? (I already tried via bluetooth and my HTC One doesn't seem to allow bluetooth internet sharing).
    Thanks!

  5. igorrr
    May 11, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I did all the steps but do not see USB ethernet connection on a Macbook Pro. It works fine on Windows 7. I can also see android modem connection on a Mac. Reboot does not help. Looks like HoRNDIS driver did not work?

  6. grAnd
    February 11, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Good and simple guide.
    Thanx to Simon and Joshua Wise!

  7. sadnemous
    December 23, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Thank you.
    Charging phone while surfing net :D

  8. Kishore
    August 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Awesome and super simple guide.

  9. Stephen T
    April 17, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I've used Klink (Blue) for a couple years and been very happy with ease of setup, performance, price, and stability. I've tethered a MacBookPro to a Sprint HTC EVO and then a Sprint SG3 for awhile now.
    Klink - Tether on Play store https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.faveset.klink_blue&hl=en

  10. Dann A
    April 16, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I've been wondering about this for a long time. I thought it was just my set up! I'll be giving this a shot in the very near future.

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