Windows 11 gets MacOS-like instant smartphone hotspot access

Windows 11 users can now instantly access their smartphone's internet connection - provided they have a Samsung device.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Microsoft Link to Windows
Image: Microsoft

Windows 11 now lets users connect to their smartphone's hotspot without needing to touch the phone's settings.

The new feature comes via the Phone Link (formerly Your Phone) app for connecting Windows 11 PCs with smartphones. It should come in handy when you're traveling and need to quickly access your smartphone's internet connection.

If the phone is within range, it appears in the PC's list of available Wi-Fi networks. One click turns on the phone's hotspot and the PC connects to it.

The new Windows 11 feature takes a leaf from the MacOS notification that offers a hotspot connection to an iPhone.  

Also: The 10 best Windows laptops: Top notebooks, 2-in-1s, and ultraportables

For now, only Samsung devices with Android 12 and above (One UI 4.1.1+) are compatible, but Microsoft generally broadens support for Phone Link features to other Android devices over time.

"No more remembering and typing passwords or searching for hotspot settings on the phone. This provides an easier and faster way to repeatedly connect to your hotspot when you are on the go," Microsoft said in a blog post.

To use the feature, the PC needs to be on Windows 11, version 22H2 Build 22621 or higher, and the Phone Link desktop app must be version v1.22082.111.0 or later. The Link To Windows phone app – which is preinstalled on Samsung devices – must be version v1.22082.142.0 or later.

Microsoft also released the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25231 to the Dev Channel. It contains a few minor changes and improvements. The build includes the tablet-optimized taskbar and System Tray tweaks to modernize the experience. 

Improvements to the Settings app include fixing up the look of UWP app icons and making the font in the Wi-Ffi section of Quick Settings consistent. Users should see that network cameras are being added when selected under Bluetooth & Devices > Cameras. 

Microsoft also fixed a bug that caused apps like Paint and Windows Terminal to crash when users try to display a tooltip.

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