How to share the Internet connection (4G / 5G) of a smartphone

Connection sharing on a Samsung Galaxy, iPhone or any Android smartphone is very easy to set up. The manipulation works on Android and iOS. To connect a PC to your smartphone, you have to go through modem mode and share the 4G or 5G connection to pass mobile data over Wi-Fi.

It is quite possible to share the 4G or 5G connection of your smartphone with a PC. It will then be connected via Wi-Fi and you will be able to access the Internet, exactly as if you were going through your Internet box. The handling is very simple and deserves to be known, especially if you are in a situation where a failure occurs at home or you are on the move without access to the net.

In fact, Internet connection sharing can be even more interesting than your fixed connection, if it is only banal ADSL or even worse than that. Indeed, if you have good 4G or 5G coverage, using your smartphone in modem mode can allow you to download large files faster. However, check that your plan gives you a nice envelope of mobile data.

Connection sharing on a smartphone is not difficult at all. And on top of that, it can give you much better speeds! // Source: Nino Barbey for Numerama

So here is a guide on how to do it, depending on whether you are using Android or iOS. The steps given below may vary significantly depending on the device used and the version of the operating system, in particular in the organization of the sections and the formulations used. Other steps may also optionally be required. So read the instructions that appear so you don’t miss a thing.

Connection sharing on Android

  • Start 4G (or 5G if you already have it) : activate mobile data on your smartphone. You can do this through the drop-down menu leading to shortcuts, by swiping your finger vertically from the top of the screen. You can also go to the settings (via the icon in the form of a toothed wheel), and follow the following path: “Wi-Fi and Internet”, “SIM and network” and activate the option “Mobile data”.
  • Activate connection sharing : pull down the shortcut menu and activate the “Access point” option. It can also be found in the settings, in the “Wi-Fi and Internet” section, then “Access point and connection sharing” and “Wi-Fi access point”.
Android connection modem mode
The main screens concerning connection sharing with Android.
  • Connect the PC to the smartphone’s Wi-Fi : on the PC you want to connect to the Internet, find the name of the smartphone’s Wi-Fi network. This is the one you are going to use. On Windows, you have to go to the taskbar, at the bottom right of the screen, to see the icon symbolizing Wi-Fi. It lists the networks detected nearby.
  • Enter the Wi-Fi key : last step, you must enter the password (the Wi-Fi key) for the wireless network of the smartphone. You will find it in the settings of the mobile, following the path “Wi-Fi and Internet”, “Access point and connection sharing” and “Wi-Fi access point”. The access point password must be entered at the time of connection, on Windows. The name of the access point is also entered, if you have any doubts about the network to select.
The USB port on smartphones may be an option if you are not using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to share the smartphone connection. // Source: Numerama

Note that the Wi-Fi connection is not the only way to connect a computer to your smartphone to give it access to the Internet. You have two alternatives: using a USB cable or opening a Bluetooth link.

  • By USB: first connect the mobile to the PC to be able to activate the option. The procedure may take a bit of time, especially if this is the first time you are doing this. In this case, in particular, a peripheral installation can take place.
  • By bluetooth : activate the option on your smartphone to make it discoverable. In the shortcut menu, click on the corresponding icon (a rune). You can also do it via the settings, following the same path as for the Wi-Fi connection. On Windows, from the taskbar, go to the action center and select “Connect”, then choose your device in order to pair it with your PC, if it supports bluetooth connection.

Connection sharing on iOS

  • Activate 4G / 5G: Beforehand, make sure that your iPhone’s 4G or 5G connection is activated.
  • Sharing the line : Then go to the settings of your iPhone, then to “Connection sharing”. Then check the appropriate option. Several possibilities are then available to you: you can connect by USB, by Wi-Fi or by Bluetooth.
There are different ways to share iPhone connection with PC. // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama
  • By USB: First connect your iPhone to the computer using a USB cable. Your PC will normally detect the iPhone as a USB modem and automatically switch to it for connection. Otherwise, choose iPhone from the list of network services in your settings.
  • By Wi-Fi: On the computer, choose your iPhone. It should appear in the list of networks within range. Enter the Wi-Fi password when prompted, sometimes in a dedicated category. This can be found on your iPhone, under “Connection Sharing”.

  • By Bluetooth: The third solution is to go through the Bluetooth connection by pairing the iPhone with the computer. On the iPhone, tap “Pair” or type in the code displayed on the PC. Then connect to iPhone from computer.
Connection sharing with iOS
The main screens on iOS for connection sharing with an iPhone.

Sure: you are paying too much for your 4G plan

Article originally published on January 26, 2016 and updated on August 15, 2021

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