Tethering an Android phone to Ubuntu without jailbreaking or installing applications

There are many guides out there on the web for tethering an Android phone to your Ubuntu laptop, so that you can use the phone’s mobile data network connection when you’re out of range of wi-fi. They’re all complicated, and they all involve installing some random bit of software: they ask you to download the Android SDK and install Proxoid or install OpenVPN and AziLink or use adb forward to forward a port for a proxy server or put shell scripts on your phone (!) or some similar horrible thing. Here is how to do it. This approach works without jailbreaking your Android phone. It works without installing any software from the Android Market. It Just Works.

  1. Plug your phone (mine is a HTC Hero, aka the T-Mobile G2 Touch) into your laptop with USB.
  2. On the phone, drag down the notifications bar at the top of the screen. Choose “USB connected Select to copy files to/from your computer”. In the “USB connected” dialog, say “Don’t mount”.
  3. On the phone, from the home screen, tick Menu > Settings > Wireless controls > Mobile network sharing. (If you don’t have a “Mobile network sharing” option, then your phone doesn’t support this easy way of doing it. Sorry. Try one of the above linked approaches; I liked the Proxoid approach, myself.)
  4. Network Manager will now connect.

That’s it. That’s all you need. Never have an offline laptop again. Who needs “mobile broadband”, eh? I’m using Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic), and a T-Mobile G2 Touch with the HTC Sense UI (which comes with it in the UK). If you’re not, your mileage may vary. Thanks very much to phowardcom for this startling revelation! update: it looks suspiciously like this connection sharing feature is specific to the HTC Hero. Updated to correct “mobile network sharing”, thanks Stoffe

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