Stock Android has had built-in tethering since version 2.2 way back in 2010, but most carrier-branded devices in the US have the option disabled. Sure, there are root apps and various workarounds, but they can be a mess. If you don't need web access, but want your devices on a local network, you're often out of luck. A new app from well-known developer Chainfire gives you back some control (on some devices), and it doesn't require root.

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The app is designed to be simple – just pick a network name and a password, then activate. WPA2 AES + TKIP is always enabled in the interest of security and ease of use. Hotspot Control should work on phones that have the tethering option hidden, but it's not a sure thing. Carriers and OEMs have different methods of disabling the tethering option. Some users report success, while others are having issues. Note, this isn't used to bypass tethering – it's a local connection only.

Chainfire says in the description Hotspot Control works on a Note II to bypass the SIM restrictions for WiFi hotspots. It does not function on our AT&T Note II, though. It also doesn't work on the HSPA+ Nexus 7. We've reached out to get clarification on device support, but the app is free so you can give it a shot at no cost.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • http://twitter.com/deezil Daniel A. Williams

    Anyone have any comparisons to FoxFi?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      This is not a separate tether app really as far as I understand, it just enables hidden stock tethering if your carrier is evil.

  • miztrniceguy

    AT&T says I cannot tether with my unlimited data plan. I would have to change plan and then add tethering for $10 more.

    • http://twitter.com/zackeryfretty Zackery Fretty

      Yeah, but it's extremely unlikely they'll catch you using it from time to time with these types of apps. I have a Google Play Galaxy Nexus and I use the core tether option on my phone 2-3 times a week for a few hours. Never an issue.

      The worst I know of is a friend who tethered for 3 weeks a lot and they texted him a warning message to stop.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I have the new AT&T data share plan that allows tethering, but as Ryan said on my Note II it just fires up the AT&T tethering app, which I can already do from the settings.

      I wonder where it works though, because there are definitely some phones that are close to stock but have the tethering menu disabled by the carrier. I think the Sprint Nexus S might be one. Or Galaxy Nexus. Would be great if their owners let us know if it works.

      • brewmaster

        No luck with my Spring GNex.

      • blind

        The AT&T Note II doesn't have the Mobile Hotspot feature right in the settings with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth? The Verizon one does.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          It does, but it's the one AT&T cooked up. I was hoping the stock Android version of the tether app is there too, but just hidden, which wasn't the case.

    • Christopher Robert

      See my post above I use AT&T and have unlimited data and have been tethering the whole time

  • http://www.facebook.com/vanhouse David VanHouse

    Why would you need this for a nexus???

    Edit: wasnt aware that the nexus 7 was modified by the carrier

    • ins0mn1a

      hspa+ nexus 7, unlike nexus phones, doesn't have the tethering option.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.robison.948 Adam Robison

    DidnT work on my tmobile note 2

  • Christopher Robert

    For those of you with a note 2 I know an easier way. NO ROOT REQUIRED. Download the app Widgetsoid (it lets you make custom widgets or short cuts on your home screen). Then make a widget that has a toggle wifi hot spot button on it. This toggle bypasses the carrier hotspot lock on the phone (even though it was not designed to) you will see a notification bar icon appear when you click the newly created toggle to turn on your hotspot. If you go up to your notifications and click on this notification you can access all of the wifi hotspot settings. I used it for months before i rooted and it worked great. Full tether ability without paying for it or rooting.

    • http://twitter.com/ThePhillipBee Phillip Bee

      didnt work on either

      • Christopher Robert

        What model of the phone do you have? I have never heard of it not working. I know 3 other people who still use it every day.

        • http://twitter.com/ThePhillipBee Phillip Bee


          • Christopher Robert

            Haven't tried it on a Tmobile device though. been using it on the i317 which is AT&T's. Is there a reason you won't root and ROM it. I have been haviong a great experience with JEDI XP12 ROM. getting better battery life and wifi tether is included.

          • http://twitter.com/ThePhillipBee Phillip Bee

            Done that ,, use Treve Mod. Id really like the ability to do it on stock rom though.

  • Hovikp

    Does anyone have any luck with the t-mobile nexus 4?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jasims1 Jason Sims

    Works with my note 2 on att

  • http://twitter.com/ThePhillipBee Phillip Bee

    Didnt work on my Stock GN2 .. The search continues .. whomp whomp

    • http://www.facebook.com/jorge.guerrero.524596 Jorge Guerrero

      if you are getting this it means it worked, you need to spoof your user agent of the pc for it to work.

    • Ghostisbaked

      It works, it's just T-Mobile blocking your tethering because it isn't included in your plan. Best thing that works for me is to connect to a VPN while tethering. Changing the UA never did anything in my experience.

  • Steez
  • Steez

    Use WugFresh mod to tether as my primary internet connection atm. Never had an issue or warning from big V

  • Robert Patrick

    works great with at&t samsung exhilarate

  • Marko

    Is there any way to enable WiFi tethering on HSPA+Nexus 7?

  • Ghostisbaked

    If you're on T-Mobile or ATT and you get redirected or a warning message about Tethering here's a solution. If you get any of these then it's obvious that the tether is working, but it also probably means that you don't have that service. There are some ways one can avoid being tracked by the carrier and successfully tethering
    1.Changing the User Agent on the device
    2.Connecting to a VPN
    *There are some apps in the market that let you connect to a VPN server but there are also some devices that have native VPN settings where you would type in the server info

    Second method works fine on my T-Mobile GS3 on the unlimited data plan.

  • Jeffrey Tuttle

    no luck with my sprint note 2

  • Geoff Johnson

    I've been using the "Portable hotspot app" for a while, which works great on my Verizon Note 2

  • jayray78

    Works on the Verizon Gnex. Fires up the stock tether bypassing the Verizon subscription check. Stock Rooted 4.2.2

    • Scott

      If you're rooted you might as well run WiFi tether app from the play store.

      • jayray78

        Yeah, I have FoxFi, I was just commenting as confirmation that it worked on this device.