A shared broadband internet connection is a valuable resource, and sharing from a Mac to an Android device is difficult, but not impossible. OS X comes with a stock internet sharing feature, designed to quickly and easily turn your Mac into a hotspot for other devices to feed off of.
This tool comes in handy more often than you’d probably expect. Many hotels still offer wired-only internet access which makes traveling a pain, if you’re not alone. After all, who wants to take turns using the internet? Sharing a single cord for internet access is frustrating at best, and at worst, it can mean losing money by losing productivity. Sure, you can use your Android’s cellular signal, but data speeds vary and using it will cut into your allowance if you’re not lucky enough to have unlimited data. Because of this, the OS X internet sharing feature is a useful one to have.
There’s just one problem, though. Macs and Android devices don’t like to play nicely together, at least not when it comes to internet sharing. If you have an iPhone, then the process is straightforward, but with Android device activation rates outpacing the iPhone at a blistering rate, that means most people reading this won’t have such an easy time setting it up. Fortunately, the steps for correcting the issue and making OS X and Android play nice with one another are fairly simple.
Properly configuring internet sharing on OS X starts on the Mac side of things. Power on your iMac or MacBook, and navigate to System Preferences. From here, you’ll want to select the Sharing preference pane. At this point, you’ll be faced with a few options. You’ll want to go to the Services list and select Internet Sharing. One important part to note here is that you’ll want to turn the service off if it has a check box.
At this point, you’ll be prompted to choose a connection type to share. The only thing to note here is that you can’t select AirPort. You’ll need to choose a different kind of connection. For most users reading this and dealing with the wired-internet situation, choosing Ethernet will be appropriate. At this point, you’ll also want to select the check box next to AirPort. You can find this check box in the To Computers Using list.
Now that everything is set up on the Mac side of things as far as what kind of connection sharing you’ll be doing, you’ll need to set up the encryption for the sharing so that your devices can access the internet securely. Select AirPort Options and select enable Encryption using WEP. There are two types of encryption you can choose, and these will change the length of the WEP key accordingly. You can choose 40-bit or 128-bit.
Once you’ve chosen your encryption, you’ll actually enter in a WEP key to use when connecting your devices. 128-bit encryption will require a password consisting of thirteen characters. These can be numbers or letters, but no special characters or punctuation marks are allowed. Similarly, with 40-bit encryption, you’ll choose a five character WEP key with the same restrictions as the 128-bit key. Once you’ve created a WEP key, click the OK button and then check off the box next to Internet Sharing under Services.
Configuration for internet sharing on your Mac is now complete. Make sure that they key you’ve chosen is memorable, and you’re ready to move on to your Android device. You’ll find your Mac the same as you would any wireless network. If you’re not familiar with how to do this, there are two ways. The first is to click your phone’s Menu button from the home screen, and then select Settings. Alternatively, you can load the app drawer and open the Settings app.
Once you’re in Settings, you’ll select the option labeled Wireless & Networks. This should be the first option on the list, although it may vary based on your device manufacturer or the version of Android your phone is running. Once you’ve tapped into the Wireless & Network menu, click on Wi-Fi Settings. Enable Wi-fi by clicking the check box next to it. At the bottom of this screen, you’ll see a list of available Wi-Fi networks. If you’ve done everything correctly up to this point, your Mac should be listed by name. Select the Mac by tapping on it, and it should ask you to enter the WEP key that you created earlier on your Mac. Enter the key, exactly, and your Android device should connect.
Now that you’re connected, you’re done with setting up internet sharing. Any time that you want to share your Mac’s connection with your Android device, just head back to the Sharing menu on your Mac and enable it to share your broadband internet connection. You’ll connect from your Android device, and as long as you haven’t changed the WEP, your phone will be able to automatically connect. Enjoy!
=== About the Author ===
This is a guest article by Ruben Corbo, a writer for the website Broadband Expert where you can find broadband internet in your area and compare prices on different deals for your mobile broadband needs.