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USB Tethering a Mac to an Android phone

Most new Android phones support Wi-Fi tethering, creating a wireless hotspot for sharing the phone’s Internet connection with other devices. Android phones also support USB tethering (unless removed by carrier/manufacturer), which is a nice feature to have when wireless tethering isn’t ideal. In the past the problem has been the lack of USB drivers to connect the phone’s connection to Macs.

Now, fortunately there is HoRNDIS. A USB driver developed by Joshua Wise that allows Android’s built-in USB tethering capability to work seamlessly with Mac computers. No rooting, no hacking, or apps required. It just works.

  1. Go to the HoRNDIS page on Joshua’s website and download the latest package.
  2. Install the .pkg, follow prompts in the installer.
  3. Plug in your Android phone with a USB cable, and open Settings.
    Settings -> Wireless & Networks -> More -> Tethering and portable hotspot
  4. Enable USB Tethering, check that box.
  5. Now on the Mac, open System Preferences -> Network. You should see your phone as one of the connections in the list. Like so:
  6. You should now be online.

In my testing, I was tethering a MacBook Pro with OS X 10.8 connected to a Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.2. The connection was fast, and more reliable than Wi-Fi tethering. The according to the developer, HoRNDIS is working with Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8.

The advantages of USB tethering :

  • Wi-Fi frequencies may be congested in busy locations, slow Wi-Fi.
  • Charge your phone while tethering.
  • Reduce latency, more responsive connection
  • Don’t have to worry about wireless security settings.

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