ClockworkMod Tether [Android App Review]

Tethering your phone to a computer can be kind of a tricky thing. First, there's a definite questionable legality to it. (The whole "if it's my data, I'll use it how I want!" argument comes to mind.) Second, you've (usually) got to have some sort of techie knowledge to install the right drivers, get all the appropriate cables plugged in, and then you've still​ got to get the app to work! Add in the issue of usually needing root, and where is a non-rooted, Android-loving simpleton supposed to turn?

The answer would be ClockworkMod Tether (hereafter referred to as Tether) by our friendly neighborhood dev, ClockworkMod. (You might have heard of him. He did ROM Manager, among other things.)

What makes Tether so great? For starters, you don't need root to use it. Next, you can use it with Windows, Macs, and​ Linux. And perhaps most importantly, it's got the most simple, easy to use interface ever created.

Open up Tether and you'll see two buttons: a big power button and a little red button with a question mark in it. To get Tether running, you hit the power button. It'll turn blue and say, "Hey! Tether is running now!" The question mark has a few basic support options.

You can download the desktop client (so you can actually tether), get a link to the drivers for your computer, or get some basic troubleshooting advice in case Tether either doesn't connect or is running slowly. If push comes to shove, the app tells you to directly email Koush.

Installing drivers for your phone is pretty self-explanatory. Double-click the little executable file you download from ClockworkMod's website, get the drivers going, and then install the desktop client. Once Tether is installed on both your phone and​ your computer, you're finally ready to make magic happen.

Once your phone is all nice and plugged into your computer, open up the desktop Tether client, and either tap the digital power button on your phone or start the desktop client. You'll get a huge screen of text on the desktop client, and, if all goes well, it'll say you're connected. You can track your data sent and received on your phone's screen.

In my experience, Tether worked like a charm. My data speeds started off a bit slow (despite the fact I was on LTE), but after three or four speed tests, my speeds were more in line with what I would expect. Even if you're only on 3G, if you don't want to pay for say, an airport's WiFi and don't want to buy a dedicated USB modem, Tether is the way to go.

Unfortunately, Tether (in its free form), is only a 14-day trial. After your two weeks are up, you're limited to a mere 20MB a day. Upgrading to the full version will set you back $4.99, but that's still cheaper than the other no-root tether apps out there, and this also has the added benefit of being backed by a big name developer that everyone knows puts out quality.

We've got a few screenshots of my speed tests, video and download links after the break.

Joshua Munoz
  • Get Wifi tethering going, and then we're talkin...heh
  • FoxFi. That is all.
  • Which would be fine if it worked with all phones, but there are quite a few left out for wifi use (All of HTCs selection, per the app description). But perhaps someday they'll get that resolved...
  • What are the benefits of using something like this over making your phone into a Wifi hotspot, which is usually part of the ROM?
  • If you are rooted then you already have USB and Wifi tethering. USB tethering is the best when it comes to battery consumption.
  • But won't work with tethering a tablet :(
  • Wifi seriously drains the battery of my phone. With tether on my T-Bolt, I can be tethered and use my SD card on the computer I'm plugged into. Recharging power for the phone, data sharing between phone and computer and portable Wifi for the computer all at the same time? 'nuff said. This app is bomb. Oh yeah, I also don't get double charged for my data by being billed for Verizon WiFi Hotspot. Downside,can only connect to 1 COMPUTER not 8 devices.
  • Wifi tether, the free software app, is the real deal. No carrier charge, no harsh battery use (unless you are redlining your bandwidth) and you can share it with other devices. The best part, the phone doesnt have to hang off your computer (a bonus while traveling) so you can either leave it in your bag, plug it in to a wall charger, or relocate it to somewhere it gets good 3g/4g reception and consume the sweet sweet wifi from hundreds of feet away... Wifi tether. Nothing compares.
  • Will this app work connect my thunderbolt to my Vizio tablet? Or does I have to download drivers and it only works on laptops or windows computers not android tablets?
  • I've been doing the same thing for ten years with an app called PDANet. Before Android, it was for Treo (Palm OS), Windows Mobile and Blackberry (we forget there were already lots of smartphones around before iPhone and Android). These days I use PDANet Android version on my old Evo, and it serves up 4G WiMax data for my office desktop all day every day while the phone charges in a cradle and does any the other smartphone stuff I want like getting texts and calls or listening to audio. It costs a lot more than this one ($16), but still a no-brainer value. I also noticed the PDANet software lets me use the USB storage mode while tethering, unlike the built-in Android tether program.
  • +1 Been using PDANet for over 2 years. I surprised that every review I have seen of Clockworkmod Tether does not mention PDANet when it does exactly the same thing in the same way... --Bill
  • I've used PDAnet, EasyTether, and ClockworkMod Tether, and I've had the best experience with ClockworkMod's. While all three worked fairly well, I've had the most trouble with PDAnet, including on multiple phones and computers.
  • So, let me get this str8. AC calls the ones that download leaked APK's of free apps, less scrupulous. Then you preach about it like you are so self-righteous. But, stealing services from carriers, which you admit the question of legality, is OK to promote. Let's talk trash about people for piracy, but promote piracy of services. You make me sick.
  • Privacy of service or refusing to be robbed by your carrier. It would be forgiveable if Verizon doubled your data stream speed when you activated WiFi Hotspot. $20 for sharing something that already belongs to me is highway robbery. Last I checked, Verizon was making a very decent profit.
    If you want to call me a pirate, Patch my eye, peg my leg, mount a parrot to my shoulder and I'll be sure to say AAAAARRRG!!!!
  • Its not stealing if you pay for data in your monthly bill. Its called migrating your data to a usable device. For those of you who say this is wrong, (Pay me a dollar so I won't hit you upside your head, now pay me another dollar so I don't hit you on the other side of your head). Get the picture?
    (If you don't, give me your money.)
  • Oh, good...yet another sanctimonious know it all. Like we didn't have enough of THOSE around here. Go be sick someplace else.
  • * It *is* breaking the service agreement with your carrier which could lead to penalties. * It is not "illegal". Has nothing to do with law. * It is not immoral (which is the most important part).
  • It is immoral if you consider lying to be immoral.
  • What a generous price....
  • The only app webOS has that android users should be envious of is "freetether." Just install it and you have USB, BT and wifi tethering capability at your disposal. I miss freetether. -Suntan
  • I'm not envious of that at all. While I wasn't rooted, Easy Tether worked perfectly for USB tethering and Elixir 2 - Widgets activated native tethering for free. I don't use Bluetooth tethering so I don't know if an unrooted Galaxy Nexus can do Bluetooth tethering since I've never even bothered to search for an app that can do it. I don't see what's so great about this app (CM Tether). I suppose if I hadn't already purchased Easy Tether a long time ago, I'd save myself $5 and get this, but Easy Tether has given me free USB tethering for almost a year now and is no more difficult to use or set up than this.
  • WiFi Tether + LTE = bye bye battery life. USB should help.
  • I almost always plug in my phone while tethering anyway.
  • Isn't Tether already taken by the paid app tether? I seen to remember blackberry tether changing their name to Tether and saying they were going multiformat.
  • Yes. I've been using Tether for years. First with my BB Storm and now with my Droid X. From the description Clockworkmod Tether does the same thing that Tether does (
  • I have been using EasyTeatherPro for a good while now and have never had any issues.
  • So when using these apps(Easy Tether, PdaNet and ClockworkMod Tether) can the carriers, specifically AT&T, tell that you are tethering?
  • Yes. Absolutely. If they want to.
  • So is there any tethering app(unrooted) that the carriers cant see tethering? Or is rooting the only way for tethering not to be seen by carriers?
  • I've been using FoxFi without any issues. No root on my Razr Maxx.
  • If they want to, they can tell you're tethering, no matter what you use - rooted or unrooted.
  • I use Wireless Tether from my rooted Thunderbolt. It is free from the Market. It doesn't require me to install anything on my laptop or tablet. I can have multiple devices connected at the same time. I can have it plugged into my laptop at the same time to keep the phone charged and access the SD card. And did I mention it's free and I don't have to install anything on my laptop or tablet? How is this the simplest, most easy to use thing again?
  • They got so many things wrong in this article. The devs name is Koush, not "clockworkmod"; that's the software he writes ffs. The rest of the article goes downhill from there. Use/buy this app if you like it, but rooting and running Wireless Tether is so easy that I don't know why anyone would.
  • Why oh why and a Gnexus?
    you knew you have this right?:
  • FoxFi works great for me.
  • You guys gotta be kidding! Tethering your phone is the easiest thing on earth. I'm not a geek, running even uprooted device but tethering works pretty much with every tether app on market. This "great" app I wouldn't use though! Permissions are beyond intrusive. I use 'Easy Tether' and it's THE BEST! Only Internet access is required and it works flawless under win7 and Linux!
  • You guys are mixing two different types of tethering. This article is talking about USB tethering so arguing over which Wi-Fi tether app is best is silly here. Why bring up how much better it is to use Wi-Fi this or that app here when there are a LOT of users that do not have root nor want it? These users usually have to use a USB tethering app so all these recommended Wi-Fi apps are not good advice for these users as they cannot use them anyway! So far I have never found a good Wi-Fi tether app that works on a non-rooted phone.
  • If you don't want to take the 2 minutes to root, in order to violate the TOS of your carrier contract and send connectivity from your phone to your PC, then I don't know what's wrong with you. I don't have a single compelling case where USB tethering makes any sense at all, unless you forgot your wall charger and have it plugged in to your computer anyway.
  • So are you saying that the only way for the carrier not to know you are tethering is to root?
  • I use Foxfi but for some reason only my browser works properly. I have tried using logmein and splashtop with the program and they both fail...
  • In picture the Gnex has a modified navigation bar on the buttom...was wondering if this is the AOKP ROM ???
  • Kind of a question: I am using EVO 3D but can;t install it on this phone, any suggestion ?