Using Nexus 5 as Personal Hotspot

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who own a device like the iPad or Nexus 7, or even a laptop and personal gaming device, you can have internet anywhere and on any device just by sharing your smartphone connection.

The internet and data signal of our smartphones can become a portable, shareable internet connection for all our devices, and this is called a personal hotspot. You can also receive and share it on your tablet or laptop, wherever you have an internet connection and signal on your smartphone.

This is a concept that many, like my family, still don’t understand, so below we’ll explain a few easy ways to turn any Android smartphone (but we’re focusing on the Nexus 5) into a personal hotspot.

The most common and preferred method is to use WiFi tethering. Basically share your phone connection with multiple devices over WiFi. Share with tablets, whether you have your laptop at the park or for your kids in the car. Alternatively, there’s also a wired USB connection so your Nexus 5 can charge while sharing that connection with your Macbook or laptop of choice.

Like the easiest things in life, the easiest option will likely cost you too. The image above is the stock Tethering and portable hotspot settings and feature on Android. You can set a password and share the connection with multiple devices and access it like any regular WiFi connection (like the internet at Starbucks). However, most carriers charge $10 a month and sometimes an extra $20 for hotspot access. Nexus devices seem to bypass this so go ahead and try it on your Nexus 4 or 5.


To enable a wireless hotspot, you will start by going to settings by tapping the gear-shaped settings icon or by scrolling down and hitting settings in the notification drop-down shade. From here, the picture below will guide you.

Press Settings > More (under wireless & networks) > Tethering & portable hotspot & enable

nexus-vineyardWhen you enter this settings menu, you can enable USB tethering to share internet connection, enable Portable WiFi hotspot, and even set up the hotspot with a name and password to secure it if you are in a public place. It’s AndroidAP by default, but tap install and change it to whatever you want and with a password you can remember.

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connection setup

Once you have it set up properly, go ahead and tap the checkbox to enable the portable WiFi hotspot or turn on USB tethering and connect your phone to a laptop via USB. Both options work great for sharing your phone’s internet connection with a laptop or desktop computer. Still, keep in mind that if you exceed your data, the carrier may charge you very high usages, so be careful or make sure you have unlimited data.

Alternatively, if your carrier is willing to charge you $10 or $20 for hotspot features, there are plenty of “Tether without root” apps on the Google Play Store that, once installed, will allow USB tethering to share internet connection absolutely free. My favourite clinkbut there are many options that are widely available in the Play Store.

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