Google Play Services is currently rolling out a new feature that was never spoken of before unlike most features that we hear rumours of way before they actually come out. The mobile hotspot on your phone can be very useful, in some cases a life saver when you really need it but it can be a bit tedious to set it up. Some Android users have gotten a new feature called Instant Tethering with Google Play Services 10.2.
Instant Tethering is like a one-tap web connection via another device that you own/or don’t own as long as it’s running on the same Google account. When enabled, a device will seek out other devices connected to your Google account that also have a cellular data connection and then connect to them. You’ll also be able to see the charge level of your hotspot device’s battery which will come in handy if you know how tethering impacts the battery life. Then there’s also the fact that Instant Tethering works via bluetooth.
Once Instant Tethering is available and configured by the user, should they be using a tablet or other device that loses its connection, the new option can pop up a prompt on the device which asks if they’d like to connect to the web. The user could then simply say yes and voilà!
This kind of feature will likely be helpful for people like me who own a smartphone and an Android tablet… the latter of which might not have cellular hardware especially the ones who don’t have a Wi-Fi connection at home or in case they’re on the road. Unfortunately, the feature is currently only rolling out to Pixel and Nexus devices on Android 7.1.1. The Nexus 9 and Pixel C are supported only as clients—they can connect to your compatible phone, and this part of the feature will work even on Marshmallow. According to a Googler speaking to Android Police, though, the feature will become available on additional devices after more testing is completed.
The new feature isn’t too hard to find if you’re interested in checking it out. If you navigate to your device’s settings menu, then scroll and tap on the Google sub-menu, Instant Tethering will either be there.. or it won’t, depending on if it has rolled out to you yet or not. It is a server side roll out so don’t go rushing for the Google Play Services 10.2 APK with very high hopes. Chances are you already have it, and it may yet take several days to reach you even if your device is running Android Nougat.