I want to tether an unlimited data plan on a Nexus S (with Android 2.3.6) via USB cable to a MacBook Air (with OS X Lion). Both on Windows and Ubuntu, it works like a charm, so I'm wondering if there's something I can do it OSX to make it work.

  1. The articles I read imply that given Apple's restrictions, it's imposible and OSX only supports tethering an iPhone via USB.
  2. On Android Enthusiasts, I found a a couple of solutions:

    1. one tethering from Froyo and
    2. one tethering on a Snow Leopard,

but they all rely on third party Android apps. Is there any hack to make OSX work with it out of the box?

  • 1
    I'm just curious: Why does it have to be USB? I use my Nexus S as a hotspot all the time. I put it in my wallet and the MBP on my knees and surf. It's really fast and reliable.
    – gentmatt
    Nov 25, 2011 at 12:30
  • Here's my scenario: part of Startup Weekend Toronto, you code for 54h with hundreds of other devs, so you end up tethering your phone, because the wi-fi there can't handle so many connections. With Wind as my data plan provider in that building the signal is very low. So I had it plugged via USB, to also recharge in the mean time, plus I preferred not to open the wi-fi tethering. Nov 28, 2011 at 16:02

3 Answers 3


The following app has a very detailed setup guide that you need to follow carefully to make usb tethering work on Android.

I've tested this with my own Nexus S (2.3.6) and Lion 10.7.2. It works great!

Also, no root access is needed.

You really have to give credit to the developers. They went as far as to write drivers for Mac OS to get this work!


enter image description here

  • OK, I guess this is the way to go... Nov 30, 2011 at 19:24
  • Problem is EasyTether doesn't work with Samsung devices
    – user50563
    Jun 3, 2013 at 22:08

There is a native RNDIS driver for Mac OS X that allows you to use your Android phone's native USB tethering mode to get Internet access, it is called HoRNDIS: http://joshuawise.com/horndis

It is known to work with Mac OS X versions 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) through 10.8.2 (Mountain Lion).

HoRNDIS is also available in source form on GitHub, it is licensed under the GNU General Purpose License, version 3: http://github.com/jwise/HoRNDIS

  • 1
    This is the better answer in my opinion :)
    – Jammer
    Jul 15, 2016 at 11:30
  • 1
    If you are using El Capitan and its not working for you try this pre-release: nyus.joshuawise.com/HoRNDIS-rel8pre2-dbg.pkg
    – Jammer
    Jul 15, 2016 at 11:57
  • @Jammer doesn't work. I'm using El Capitan and installed that version. I enabled USB tethering on the phone but nothing shows up in System Preferences -> Network. Dec 30, 2016 at 20:29
  • I've found this works well, but macOS needs to be unlocked before I enable USB tether on my Android phone (Nexus 5).
    – David Cook
    Apr 29, 2020 at 22:07
  • HoRNDIS driver works on mac os catlina 10.15. you may get the following link helpful for installation. github.com/jwise/HoRNDIS/issues/102
    – SHS
    May 4, 2021 at 7:54

Android 11 ethernet tethering with usb-ethernet adapter

Another option is, if you have an Android phone running Android 11 or higher, you can use ethernet tethering.

For ethernet you would need:

  • 2 USB-C to ethernet adapter: where the USB-C is a plug and the ethernet is a socket
  • 1 very short ethernet cable with a plug both ends

Plug one of the USB-C to ethernet adapters into your USB-C socket of your Android phone.

Plug the USB-C plug of the other USB-C to ethernet adapter into your mac.

Connect the 2 adapters together via theirs ethernet sockets using the short ethernet cable with plugs on both ends.

Turn on ethernet tethering on the Android.

Variation: for one of the adapters, get a USB-A to Ethernet adapter for use with older Macs that don't have USB-C.

I have tried this and it works very well! I'll try to update with photos and model numbers later.

Strictly speaking, this isn't USB tethering directly: what the Mac sees is just an ethernet connection. But still gives the benefit of wired connection instead of wireless.

This benefit being that it can be useful in a very crowded area, like a large exhibition/conference space, from my experience, where the local airspace is saturated by 100s of colliding Wifi networks and bluetooth. But for that same reason, mobile internet may also be constrained due to the amount of people attempting to access a local cell basestation, but 5G is supposed to help with this.

Another benefit, is using a USB hub with the above solution and multiple mobile phones on different operators while travelling, e.g. on a train, along with Speedify to bond the connections together to provide a connection with less interruption. I've also tried this and it works quite well sometimes.

No affiliation, incentive, referral or benefit to me for items mentioned.

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