Late last month, a feature called Instant Tethering started making its way to some Android users. The feature automatically and seamlessly shares a cellular data connection through Wi-Fi. And now, the feature is officially available across numerous Nexus and Pixel products.
As Google’s Omri Amarilio describes, Instant Tethering will use Bluetooth to let two of your devices having the same Google account communicate with each other locally.
“When you unlock a tablet such as the Pixel C, it will notice if there is no internet connection available, and will ask your Pixel phone if it has internet and battery life. If it does, we will give you an option to enable a secure hotspot and pair automagically, without even taking your phone out of your pocket,” said Amarilio.
According to Google’s support page, devices that can use shared data connection automatically are Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C, and Nexus 9 running Android 6.0 and up. On the other hand, Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P running Android 7.1.1 and up can automatically share their data connections or run as “host” device.
To start, you have to first turn on the feature by heading to Settings → Google → Instant Tethering. Tap ‘Provide data connection’ to initiate the host device and ‘Get data connection’ to prepare the receiving device.
It’s pretty normal for some people who always forget to disconnect the Instant Tethering link. However, you don’t need to worry about your battery life. The connection will automatically disconnect after 10 minutes of inactivity.
Currently, this feature is only available to Nexus and Pixel devices. It’s not clear whether this feature will roll out beyond Google devices.