Windows 11 has a nifty new feature that lets you much more conveniently connect your PC to a cell phone with the latter acting as a Wi-Fi hotspot, although the functionality is just in testing for now and only works with Samsung smartphones.
The ability to instantly access your phone’s hotspot is facilitated by the Phone Link (formerly Your Phone) app and is introduced in preview version 25231 on the Dev Channel (initial test channel for Windows Insiders).
Instant hotspot means you can very quickly connect to your device’s hotspot just by clicking a button – assuming the device is within range – without having to touch your phone or fiddle with any hotspot settings, entering passwords and so on.
As mentioned, you need a Samsung device – running One UI 4.1.1+ to be precise – and your PC must support Bluetooth. You also need to be running Windows 11’s new preview version 25231, of course, and have the Phone Link desktop app version v1.22082.111.0 (or better).
For more details on configuring everything, see Microsoft’s blog post (opens in new tab) in the new build which still lists the other tweaks the software giant has made here, which are mostly bug fixes (and known issues).
Review: Please Microsoft bring this to other phones besides Samsung
This is a really smart and convenient touch for Phone Link to reduce the hassle related to using your phone as a hotspot for your Windows 11 machine.
Common scenarios for when you can take advantage of instant hotspot are, for example, when you are out and about and want to use your Windows 11 laptop with your smartphone’s cellular connection. Or maybe you’re at home and your broadband goes out – you might want to use your mobile broadband instead of your phone, and you can do it instantly without any fuss using this feature (until your full broadband comes back).
The obvious annoyance here is that it’s a unique Samsung feature, but for Phone Link users, this particular hurdle is nothing new as the functionality has been tied exclusively to Samsung devices in the past several times.
When will instant hotspot come to other phones? We do not know. In fact, this is the initial test channel as noted above, so there’s a chance the feature will be dropped before making the cut to the release version of Windows 11. In that case, that seems unlikely, but who knows.
Either way, fingers crossed for wider support than just Samsung devices with this one. It certainly seems a little silly that you can’t benefit from this ability on Microsoft’s Android-powered Surface Duo 2, but hopefully that will change soon.
Through Neowin (opens in new tab)