Dec 27, 2016

How to Use Android’s Built-In Tethering When Your Carrier Blocks It

Tethering your phone’s internet connection, which allows users to share their phone’s data connection with other devices, is really useful if you’re out and about with no Wi-Fi–but some carriers will block the feature from your phone. If you get an error message when you try to tether (“Account not set up for tethering”), here’s a fix.

I know this is a touchy subject, and there are two arguments here. There’s the “if it’s blocked by the carrier, then you shouldn’t be able to bypass it” crowd, then there’s the “but I pay for this data and want to use it how I see fit!” While I can appreciate both sides of the story, sometimes tethering is necessary, regardless of the situation.


 Some phones will allow you to tether out of the box, even if your carrier technically doesn’t allow it in your plan. But some newer devices–like the Nexus 5X and 6P–will actually prevent you from using this feature if your carrier requests it. When you try to enable the personal hotspot, you’ll get a message saying that you should contact your carrier to enable the feature.

You have a few options for bypassing this. You could use a third-party tethering app like PdaNet+, which–while a little janky–should do the trick on many phones. If you’re rooted, though, you have a much better option: re-enable Android’s built-in hotspot features.
Unfortunately, the solution isn’t a “install this app and you’re done!” kind of thing. You’re going to need to meet a couple of requirements first:
  • Your phone is rooted. If you’re not rooted, you’re automatically out on this one. You must have a rooted handset before this will work. If you’re not sure how to go about rooting, you should be able to Google instructions for your exact model phone.
  • You’re running the Xposed framework. The Xposed framework unlocks a lot of incredibly powerful tools for Android, so it’s basically a must-have for rooted users. And with the launch of the new systemless Xposed framework and Material Design interface, it’s easier than ever to install and use. If you’re already an Xposed user, however, this will work just fine with the “older” system-modifying method as well.
Once you’re rooted and all set up with Xposed, you’re only a few taps away from bypassing tethering verification.

The first thing you need to do is jump into the Xposed Installer app, then go to “Download.” If you’re using the Material Design version of Xposed, open the hamburger menu in the top left to find “Download.” In the “normal” Xposed interface, it’s the third option on the main screen.

In the Download menu, tap the magnifying glass in the upper right corner, then search for “tether.” Scroll down until you see “X tether,” that’s the option you want. Tap it.

You can read the description here if you want, but otherwise just slide over to the “Versions” tab and tap the “Install” button on the newest version (in our test case, it’s 1.4). It should jump straight into the installation menu—if it kicks back an error, make sure you have Unknown Sources enabled in Settings > Security, then try again.
It’s also worth noting here that the application is actually called “Moto Tether” upon installing. Don’t worry about that—it should work just fine on non-Motorola devices, too.

Once it’s finished installing, Xposed will push a notification saying that you need to reboot the device to active the module. Go ahead and tap the “Activate and Reboot” button.

X Tether/Moto Tether doesn’t actually provide a user interface—it just unblocks Android’s built-in tethering features. After the phone is finished rebooting, jump into Settings > More > Tethering & Portable Hotspot to verify that it is indeed working. A quick tap of the “Portable Wi-Fi hotspot” button should be all it takes—the tethering connection should fire right up. Boom.

Just remember: use it, don’t abuse it.

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