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Windows 11’s Cool New Feature Only Works If You Own the Right Phone

Windows 11 on a touchscreen laptop.
mundissima/Shutterstock

Windows’s new “Instant Hotspot” feature will let users connect their PC or laptop to their cellphone’s internet service with the click of a button. The catch is it only works with one brand of phone.

Connecting to a virtual hotspot usually involves several steps. You have to unlock your phone, navigate to the personal hotspot menu, enable the hotspot, find it on your computer, enter the password, and then connect. With Instant Hotspot, your computer will just connect if your phone is in range. Once the initial setup is completed, you don’t have to do anything else.

Currently, the feature only works if you own a Samsung smartphone, meaning around 75% of the U.S. will miss out. The Samsung device needs to be running One UI 4.1.1+, and your Windows build should be 25231 — which is the latest preview version. Other requirements include a computer with Bluetooth built-in and the Phone Link desktop app version v1.22082.111.0 or later.

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If you aren’t a Samsung user, don’t despair. The feature is still technically in its testing phase and may end up supporting a wider range of devices. Then again, given the security protocols involved with this kind of feature, there is a chance Microsoft worked closely with Samsung to implement it. Taking the feature to other devices would probably require some level of collaboration and an OS update.

To access it, and the Windows build it features in, you need to be a member of the Windows Insider program. The program allows users to preview and give feedback on upcoming Windows features before they get a full release.

The 6 Best Android Smartphones of 2022

Best Overall
Samsung Galaxy S22+
Best Midrange
Google Pixel 6
Best Budget
OnePlus Nord N10 5G
Best Premium
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Best Small
Google Pixel 4a
Best Foldable
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3

Source: Microsoft

Dave McQuilling Dave McQuilling
Dave McQuilling has spent over 10 years writing about almost everything, but technology has always been one of his main interests. He has previously worked for newspapers, magazines, radio stations, websites, and television stations in both the US and Europe. Read Full Bio »