How to Use a Smartphone to Connect a Laptop to the Internet

Some modern smartphones include the built-in ability to easily turn the phone into a wireless hotspot, allowing you to connect a variety of different devices to the internet through it. However, not all smartphones have this capability. If your phone does not have hotspot technology, and if you find yourself unable to connect your laptop to the internet through an ordinary network (perhaps when you are traveling), you can still use your smartphone to do so. The process necessary to set this type of a connection up is quite simple.

First, make sure that your smartphone includes a sufficient data plan. Accessing the internet on a laptop through your smartphone means that you will be downloading quite a bit of data, especially if you plan to listen to music or watch videos. Many smartphone plans now include unlimited data; if yours does not, be very careful that you do not overshoot your data allotment, leaving you with a steep penalty on your next bill.

Next, download and install the PdaNet app on your smartphone. The app works with virtually all popular smartphone operating systems, including Androids and iPhones. You will also need to install a plugin for the app on the laptop you want to connect to the internet. PdaNet is available from the official developer website at

You can install the PdaNet program on your phone and computer for free. The free version allows you full use of the app for the first 14 days you have it installed; after this period it only allows you to access non-secure websites. A one-time purchase of $15.95 allows you to access all websites, including secure sites (sites that require logins). The purchase covers the use of one phone, but you can use that phone to connect any number of devices to the internet.

Once PdaNet is installed on both your smartphone and the laptop or other device you wish to connect to the internet, the next step is to connect the two devices by signing in on them both. Finally, to actually access the internet, launch the app first on the phone. You have two different options for how to set up the connection: the first is via Bluetooth, which does not require any cables, and the second is via a USB connection, which does. If you choose to go the USB route, simply connect the phone to your computer exactly as you would if you were going to charge it or swap pictures and other files to and from it. A USB cable to connect your phone to a computer should have been included in your original purchase of the phone, but you can buy another one at most electronics supply stores if necessary.

After launching the app on your phone and selecting which connection type you wish to use, start the program on your computer and select the “Connect Internet” option. As long as you started the app correctly on your phone, you should receive a “Connected” message after a second or two. You will then be able to browse the internet on your laptop using only the connection from your smartphone.

Image credit: Creative Commons image source

Laura likes to work on the go and she needed to connect her smartphone to the internet regularly.  After looking into the different mobile phone deals online, she finally chose the best smartphone for her needs.