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Chrome OS will soon let you tether to an iPhone over USB

The Verge logo The Verge 7/9/2019 Jon Porter
a man using a laptop computer © Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Chrome OS will soon be able to tether to an iPhone over USB, allowing Apple’s phones to share a mobile data connection without the battery drain of doing it wirelessly. News of the feature was first reported by Chrome Unboxed, which spotted it in a commit to Chromium’s source code. Along with consuming less battery power, the commit also notes that USB tethering should be more reliable than Wi-Fi.

Chrome OS has supported USB tethering to Android for a while now, and it also supports Instant Tethering where a Chromebook can automatically prompt and then connect you to a phone when it doesn’t have a data connection. It’s not quite as seamless as having LTE data access built directly into a device, but it’s definitely better than having to dig your phone out of your pocket. Meanwhile, the iPad doesn’t currently support any form of USB tethering, either to an iOS or Android device, despite the switch to USB-C with last year’s iPad Pro.

There’s no timeline for when the feature might make it into a stable release of Chrome OS, but About Chromebooks notes that the feature actually requires a change to the Linux kernel that underlies the operating system, so it could be a little while before it makes it to consumer devices.

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