Bluetooth tethering: How to share your phone's Wi-Fi connection

Update: Revised in July 2021
Bluetooth tethering: How to share your phone's Wi-Fi connection

I am sure you might have come across an option called ‘Bluetooth tethering’ while scrolling through the settings menu on your Android device. Ever wondered why and when you could possibly use this feature? Let us explain the whys and hows of Bluetooth tethering in this article.

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What is Bluetooth tethering?

Let us first start by addressing what the term Bluetooth tethering actually means. The feature, as you may have guessed, is quite similar to the Wi-Fi hotspot and USB tethering, where you can share the Internet connection used by the phone to be shared with any device that supports Bluetooth.

On older Android phones, the Bluetooth tethering feature only allowed sharing of mobile data with other devices. However, if you have a newer Android phone, you can actually use Bluetooth tethering to share (and extend) the range of your Wi-Fi connection to other devices.

Now, the question may arise as to why use Bluetooth tethering in the first place when you have the Wi-Fi hotspot feature, which is not only faster - but easier to use. Let us explain a couple of use cases.

When to use Bluetooth tethering?

As mentioned earlier, Bluetooth tethering is an objectively slower form of connectivity compared to traditional Wi-Fi hotspots. So why use it in the first place? Turns out, there are a couple of occasions when using Bluetooth tethering may actually make sense.

AndroidPIT huawei matebook x pro 6855
Learn how to make use of the Bluetooth tethering feature on Android smartphones. / © NextPit by Irina Efremova

When your phone does not support Wi-Fi sharing over Wi-Fi hotspot

As of 2021, many low-end and mid-range smartphones (still) do not allow a Wi-Fi connection and a Wi-Fi hotspot to be enabled simultaneously. This means you will not be able to use Wi-Fi Hotspot to share your internet connection with other devices. In such scenarios, you are left with no other option but to use Bluetooth tethering since this method of tethering works even if you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.

As to why anyone would want to do this, hear me out.

Suppose your friend pops in for a couple of hours, and you do not really wish to share your Wi-Fi password with him. Instead of opening up the PC and creating a guest network on your router, you can simply create a Wi-Fi Hotspot on your phone (which is already connected to your router) and use it as an extender. And if that doesn't work, you can use the Bluetooth tethering feature to do the exact same thing. The connection would be slower -, but hey, it would still work for him!

 When you want to conserve battery

You might already know it - but the general consensus is that the Wi-Fi Hotspot feature is a massive battery hog. In case you plan to use keep your phone tethered to another device for several hours, the battery might conk faster than you would imagine. In such scenarios, it is wiser to switch to Bluetooth tethering since the battery drain is comparatively lower in this mode.

Let us now move to the part where we actually set up and use Bluetooth tethering to share your Wi-Fi connection. This process is actually really easy. Here's how to do it.

How to share Wi-Fi over Bluetooth

Step 1: Turn on your phone's Bluetooth

First, ensure that your phone is already connected to the Wi-Fi network at your home/office. Then, make sure you turn on Bluetooth from within the settings menu.

  1. To do this, go to Device connectivity > Bluetooth.
  2. Ensure Bluetooth is On.
bluetooth wifi settings
Before other devices can connect to your phone, you need to make sure it's visible. / © NextPit

Step 2: Turn on Bluetooth tethering on your phone

Now that you're certain that Bluetooth is enabled on your device:

  1. Go to Wireless & networks.
  2. Select Tethering & portable hotspot.
  3. Enable Bluetooth tethering.
bluetooth wifi settings2
Bluetooth tethering is a simple way to share your phone's internet connection. / © NextPit

Step 3: Pair your device via Bluetooth and receive connectivity

With this done, you can then use Bluetooth on your laptop or PC, tablet, or another device to connect to your phone and make use of its internet connection.

  1. Simply pair your smartphone with the device you want to share the connection with under Device connectivity > Bluetooth.
  2. Once connected, make sure Internet access sharing is enabled in the device profile by tapping the settings icon next to the device name.
  3. Finally, set up the connected device to receive its network connection via Bluetooth in its network settings.

This is very straightforward with smartphones, but to connect a Windows PC, you have to go to Settings > Devices and printer, right-click the icon representing your phone, and select Connect using > Access point. Ta-Da! You're ready to start browsing the internet.

bluetooth wifi settings3
After pairing the device, be sure to check its device profile to enable Internet access. / © NextPit

Did you find this useful? Have you managed to connect your phone's internet connection with other devices? Tell us in the comments.


This article was updated in July 2021. Older comments were retained. 

29 comments

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  • sherwin Oct 4, 2019 Link to comment

    what is the range of connection of two linked devices with bluetooth?


    • David McCourt Jan 6, 2020 Link to comment

      It depends on the Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth 5 is up to 400m (indoors). Bluetooth 4 is only up to 100m. The range is better if you are outside with no obstructions between the devices.


  • The LL Mar 10, 2019 Link to comment

    Works fine, around 600 kb/s.
    Could be more but in that case I would have to search more intensively.


  • DudeGuy Sep 16, 2018 Link to comment

    This does not work. Phone says "Can't use Bluetooth tethering while connected to WiFi network."


    • skyrail Dec 13, 2018 Link to comment

      You should consider using pdanet.


  • Syed Asim Ali Sep 12, 2018 Link to comment

    Absolutely great work... thanks for the information .... 100% working with wifi sharing to other mobiles


  • CodeKiller Aug 21, 2018 Link to comment

    Finally I manage to make it to work. Important point it is possible to have a sharing phone A which see the phone B but not the other way (so the interesting way is not working as the phone B must connect to phone A to get its connection).
    So if you does not see the phone in the blue tooth check on the other phone.


  • Dean L. May 20, 2018 Link to comment

    I found this article informative since I have used the hotspot feature of my phone and have had up to 4 devices using the hotspot (with Bluetooth off) at the same time. I've not tried using Bluetooth tethering yet but now I'm curious if there's any connection speed benefit to using Bluetooth tethering.


    • Brittany McGhee Jun 7, 2019 Link to comment

      Hi Dean! Bluetooth's maximum speed is higher than that of 3G, so it wouldn't matter if you're sharing via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth in that case.


  •   16
    Deactivated Account May 18, 2018 Link to comment

    lol it's called "hotspot" or "tethering".

    wifi sharing is a totally different technology, and you're not describing it here. tech much, bro?


  • Phung Phan Mar 15, 2018 Link to comment

    My phone got problem WiFi hardware. So Bluetooth saved me. The internet speed was slow for watch HD video and download app, it's usually lose connection and need to setup again. However, fast for normal web browsing. Thank you!!!


    • skyrail Dec 13, 2018 Link to comment

      When loading a big file from wifi internet connection over bluetooth, it crashes inevitably. Juste make a test with nperf to see it by youself.
      Otherwise, standard BT max bandwidth will not exceed 1200 kbps, which is generaly enough to read a 1080p YouTube stream.


  • jhen cedeño Nov 13, 2017 Link to comment

    Nothing happend


  • Drifter O'Sullivan Oct 18, 2017 Link to comment

    How cool is that? I always wondered if it was possible to use Bluetooth to share Wi-Fi


  • Stuart Speirs Jun 11, 2017 Link to comment

    I had no problem with this method using my old Z3 compact but changing my phone to the new XZ Premium is giving me problems. The Access Point option has been replaced by Direct Connection which doesn't establish any connection. Any ideas?


  • Ajith Tom George May 13, 2017 Link to comment

    In the new Galaxy S7, S7 Edge and s8, there is a built in feature to use the Android phone as a WiFi Repeater or Extender. Nice touch from Samsung. The only other way for other phones is Bluetooth sharing. Saw it from this vid.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLNppcjxzTw


    • Martin CLK Dec 29, 2017 Link to comment

      Same thing different name lol.
      (Samsung employed = 4 years:) )


  • Danny Huertas Sep 21, 2016 Link to comment

    Colleen


  • Matthew Hicks May 26, 2016 Link to comment

    Is there a way to share a wifi connection from iOS to Android?


  • Baljinder Babbu Apr 18, 2016 Link to comment

    Dear sir :-I read this article. But at the end of this you tell connect the internet via "access point name"(APN) but I Dont know about the APN of WiFi which I am using

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