Which premium Android smartphone is best?

And what’s Google doing with its confusing YouTube Music, YouTube Premium and Google Play Music plans? All this and more in the latest episode of Vertical Hold! Continue reading “Which premium Android smartphone is best?”

Google I/O 2018 – Google Assistant impersonating humans, Google News overhaul including podcasts: Vertical Hold – Episode 177

There’s a new, smarter version of Android, a Google Assistant that passes the Turing Test on its way to get a haircut and more in the latest episode of Vertical Hold! Continue reading “Google I/O 2018 – Google Assistant impersonating humans, Google News overhaul including podcasts: Vertical Hold – Episode 177”

MWC 2018 Special Samsung S9, Sony XZ2, 5G and Google Android Go: Vertical Hold Episode 167

It’s our Mobile World Congress special, with not one, not two, not three but five special guest commentators, going behind the headlines to look at the big mobile news of the week! Continue reading “MWC 2018 Special Samsung S9, Sony XZ2, 5G and Google Android Go: Vertical Hold Episode 167”

How to tether Android to Mac OS High Sierra

It is possible to use an Android handset in USB tethered mode with a Mac running High Sierra, although there are a few hoops to jump through.

I’m writing this guide largely because I’ve just taken a few hours to work this out myself, and while I can’t take credit for every step, I couldn’t find all these instructions in one place. Or in other words, I could have used this stuff earlier so I figure you might benefit as well.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell.

If you’ve got a Mac running High Sierra (or, as far as I can gather, Sierra, although that’s not the case I’ve tested for), you can pair up an Android smartphone by sharing over Wi-Fi. Within the oddities of Wi-Fi on both Macs and Droids, it all works pretty well.

Except when it doesn’t, like for example if you find yourself in an area with a lot of Wi-Fi saturation. All of a sudden, your smartphone’s link to your laptop isn’t worth much, as it struggles to connect, or send any meaningful quantity of data packets.

That’s the situation I’m about to find myself in at a conference with many other tech journalists. The solution: Pair up the phone over a USB cabled connection instead.

Now, from a practical viewpoint, this is much easier if you’ve got an iPhone.

Apple stuff talks to Apple stuff pretty natively, to the shock of nobody. My problem (and it could well be yours) is that my roaming SIM provider doesn’t always allow for any tethering (Wi-Fi hotspot or USB tethering) on iOS in some countries.

It’s actually a carrier thing, to be fair to my roaming partner, but it sucks having paid for data to find that you can’t use it except on your device, so iOS was out. Android works for Wi-Fi flawlessly, but plug in an Android phone to your High Sierra Mac and enable it, and you’re likely to be met with a big flat nothing.

So here’s what I did, in detail, to get it working. It may work for you, and I hope it helps, but it’s supplied as general information, no warranties, if something goes wrong and your Mac sucks the universe into a singularity, don’t come crying to me. Mostly because I will have been super-compressed along with the rest of reality, but I digress.

How to tether Android to Mac OS High Sierra

  • There’s a driver solution for Macs and Android tethering called HoRNDIS, which you can download (at the time of writing) from here. Apparently it works really well if you’re on an older macOS version for whatever that’s worth.  Grab the latest version of HoRNDIS, download and run through its installer.
  • Reboot your Mac (this is recommended by the HoRNDIS installer, and can’t really hurt)
  • 1st Critical Step (this tripped me up for AGES): Mac OS High Sierra will by default not load the HoRNDIS script until you tell it that it’s allowed to. Open up System Preferences, Security and Privacy, and under “Allow apps” in the general pane, you’ll probably find a warning saying it didn’t allow the script to run. Tell it you’re allowing that, enter your password if required.
  • 2nd Critical Step: (AKA the next thing that tripped me up) On your Android device, enable USB Debugging. To do so, open up Settings, then head to About Device. Where it says the Build number of your device, tap it seven times — after about five taps it’ll start to tell you how many taps you are away from enabling developer mode. After seven, it’ll be live, and from the settings main screen, you’ll be able to find developer options. In there, enable USB debugging.
  • Connect your Android phone to your Mac. You may need an adaptor if you’re using a newer, USB-C only Mac. That I can’t help you with.
  • Go into the networks settings part of your Android phone. This varies by model/Android version, but there should be a section for Hotspot/Tethering. Head in there, and there should be a toggle switch for USB tethering. You can’t actually enable this without having the Android phone plugged in (logical enough), but you did that, right? You should then be able to enable it.
  • All things being well, with the Network section (back on your Mac) your handset should now show up as your Internet connection, and you should be good to go!

I’ve tested this now with a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Android 7) and Google Pixel 2 XL (Android 8), so there doesn’t seem to be an issue with Android versions, but your experiences may vary depending on handset and Android version.

Remember if you are roaming (or even if you’re only using your SIM in your own domestic market, wherever that might be), that mobile data can be EXPENSIVE. Use it wisely. Or burn through it all looking at funny animal memes. I’m not your father*.

Was this helpful? I hope so.

If so, show your gratitude by going and buying my book, Fifty-Two. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with Mac networking (although most of it was written on a Mac), but you’d be doing me a favour in return by doing so.

Plus, while I may have some kind of rather obvious bias, I do rather think it’s a fun read, and a nice distraction from your networking woes.

You can buy Fifty-Two via Amazon here.

iBooks fan? You can pick up Fifty-Two on iBooks here.

Want a more open book experience? Pick up Fifty-Two in a format of your choice for your ebook reader via Smashwords here.

*Unless my children are reading this, in which case I very much am, I’m afraid. Go tidy your rooms.

iPhone 8 vs Android, NBN finally bends on no-sale regulations: Vertical Hold – Episode 143

Can Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 unseat some impressive premium Android competition? Does Game of Thrones still hold the piracy crown? All this, plus good (really!) NBN news in the latest episode of Vertical Hold! Continue reading “iPhone 8 vs Android, NBN finally bends on no-sale regulations: Vertical Hold – Episode 143”

Mobile World Congress Wrap: Vertical Hold Episode 116

Mobile World Congress is done and dusted, and we’re joined by our largest ever assembly of experts to dissect the winners and the losers. Continue reading “Mobile World Congress Wrap: Vertical Hold Episode 116”

Stay Safe Online & Note7 RIP: Vertical Hold Episode 97

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The Note7 goes up in flames, but where does that leave Samsung and the rest of the Android premium ecosystem? Meanwhile, during Stay Safe Online week, the Vertical Hold crew discuss the best tactics to keep yourself secure while on the Internet. Continue reading “Stay Safe Online & Note7 RIP: Vertical Hold Episode 97”

Optus "Free" Netflix, Android N, iPhone Headphone Jack and XboxOnesie: Vertical Hold Episode 90

Optus goes quota free for Netflix and Presto while Google launches Android N and Microsoft gets a lot of coverage for the XboxOnesie in the latest episode! Continue reading “Optus "Free" Netflix, Android N, iPhone Headphone Jack and XboxOnesie: Vertical Hold Episode 90”

Read This: Wookie Hacking, The Missing MacBook Pro and Silicon Beach.

A selection of tech related stories for your reading enjoyment, including how to make a Wookie cluck like a chicken, LG’s tricky Android wordplay and where Apple’s headed with its next MacBook Pro update… maybe. Continue reading “Read This: Wookie Hacking, The Missing MacBook Pro and Silicon Beach.”

Will the latest update to Pokémon GO fix or break it?

Niantic’s update to Pokémon GO modifies game behaviour, as well as shifting the locations of some Pokéstops, which will please some privacy advocates while probably annoying fans of the game. Continue reading “Will the latest update to Pokémon GO fix or break it?”