Samsung Galaxy S20

USB Tethering Not Working on Samsung Galaxy S20? Let’s Fix It!

Step by step guide to fix if USB tethering is not working Samsung Galaxy S20 devices.
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We all know that there are 3 ways you can share mobile data on your Galaxy S20 smartphone. One is USB tethering and the other two are Mobile hotspot and Wi-Fi direct share. If the device you want to share the data with does not have a WiFi receiver, then USB tethering is the best option to go.

Recently, users have reported that the USB tethering not working on the Samsung Galaxy S20. This problem is not unique to the S20 base model, numerous users have reported that Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra devices are also having the same problem.

Not only that, the USB tethering option was greyed out for some Galaxy S20 smartphones, Leaving users like you out of solutions.

However, you can easily fix these two (2) USB tethering problems on your Galaxy S20. This guide is for all Windows and Linux users who want to use the USB tethering feature on their Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphone without any problem.

Note: Solutions in this guide will work on any Samsung Galaxy S20 model (S20, S20 Plus, S20 Fe, and S20 Ultra models.)

Editor’s note: We created these instructions using a Samsung Galaxy S20 running Android 12. Depending on your device’s software version, some steps and menu positions may look slightly different.

Why is USB tethering not working or greyed out on Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphones?

Usb configurations

If you wonder what suddenly caused the USB tethering to not work or grey out on your Galaxy S20, there can be one or a couple of reasons for that.

USB tethering is usually greyed out until your Galaxy S20 connects with your desktop/laptop. Therefore if the tethering option is greyed out even after you connect your device, that means there is a connection problem between the two devices. Common reasons for connection problems are:

  • Broken USB cable or port.
  • Drivers for your S20 smartphone are not installed or not working properly.
  • Your smartphone keeps disconnecting and is labeled as a malfunctioned device on your laptop/desktop.
  • Android software issue/bug

Now let’s see what are the reasons for USB tethering not working. 

If you are able to turn on USB tethering but still it is not working, that means the problem is either your Galaxy S20 or the computer you are trying to connect.

Usually, these reasons are:

  • USB cable is unable to transfer data. (Could be a low-quality data cable.)
  • Faulty drivers.
  • Data saving settings.
  • Mobile data is not turned on or not working.
  • Misconfigured mobile data settings.
  • Firewall blocking the connection.
  • Static DNS settings.
  • Software bugs (both Android and Windows/Linux)

How to Fix the USB tethering not working/greyed out issue on your Galaxy S20

Now let’s see how you can turn on USB tethering and use the feature without any problems. Although the USB tethering feature greyed out and not working are two distinct problems, the solutions for these two issues are relatively the same. 

Therefore you should try all the solutions regardless of the issue you are facing. Let’s get started.

Fix 01: Turn off the WiFi

USB tethering does not work with WiFi. Therefore, if your computer or your Galaxy S20 is connected to WiFi, you have to turn it off first.

You can then connect the cable and see if the USB tethering is available to use.

Fix 02: Change default USB configurations

When you plug the device into the USB port in your computer, your S20 will pop up a message to select which type of connection you want to establish with the connected computer.

If you have selected “Allow transfer data” or “Allow establish an MTP connection”. Then the USB tethering will not be available (greyed out) to use. To fix this you can change the default USB configurations from the Developer options.

  1. Go to Settings > Developer options
  2. Scroll down and Tap on “default USB configurations”
Developer options
  1. Select USB tethering
Usb tethering
  1. Connect your S20 to another port of the computer.
  2. From the pop-up, tap on USB tethering.

Fix 03: Restart your computer and the smartphone

Software glitches are another reason why some functions on your smartphone do not work from time to time.

If the USB tethering is not working due to such a temporary bug or a glitch, you can easily fix that by restarting both the computer and your Galaxy S20.

Fix 04: Check and replace the faulty/broken USB cable.

Faulty usb cable connected to a laptop

Some cables do not support data transmission (charging cables) and if you use a non-branded cable, there is no guarantee that it is a quality product or not.

You can check the USB cable that you used to connect your S20 with another smartphone or with another desktop/laptop. Make sure to try with a device that USB tethering has worked on before.

If you get the same issue even after switching devices, then probably the cable is faulty and that is why the USB tethering feature is greyed out. You may need to change the cable or buy a new one to fix the issue.

Fix 05: Make sure you have turned on mobile data 

As you may know, USB tethering will not work if you have turned off the mobile data in your Samsung S20. Swipe the notification bar and make sure the mobile data is turned on. 

If you have already turned mobile data on, turn it off and turn it on again. 

You should also check whether your data balance is over or not. If you do not have mobile data available, USB tethering will not work.

Fix 06: Make sure the mobile data connection is stable

The place where you use your Galaxy S20 has no signals or lack of signals, sometimes mobile data connection will not get established. You can see the connection strength by looking at the signal bars in the notification area on your Galaxy S20.

If you see 5G/4G that means you have a strong internet connection. But if you see H+ or E that means the connection strength is low and you need to find and place your smartphone where the connection is strong.

However, you cannot move your device farther when you use USB tethering. If you are using a laptop, then the best option is to go somewhere that has a good and stable internet connection.

Fix 07: Download and Install Samsung USB drivers

Samsung usb drivers

If you do not know what the driver does, it helps to establish a stable connection between your Galaxy smartphone and the computer/laptop it gets connected to.

Without these drivers, you cannot use USB tethering on your laptop/desktop. So if you have not yet installed Samsung USB drivers, then it is time to do so.

  1. Go to Samsung USB driver official page
  2. Download the USB driver.
  3. Remove if you have connected any Samsung device to your computer.
  4. Install the USB driver.
  5. Restart your computer.
  6. Connect your Galaxy S20 and see if the USB tethering works.

Fix 08: Disable “USB Debugging” mode

USB debugging mode is a feature that you can use to connect and control your smartphone using a computer in a more advanced way.

However, you should not enable USB debugging mode when you want to use the USB tethering feature on your Galaxy S20. It is because these two features do not work together and sometimes can cause the USB tethering feature to grey out. You have to use only one feature at a time.

Read: Enable Developer options on any Samsung smartphone/tablet.

Fix 09: Turn off the data saver

The data saving option is a great way to reduce the amount of data being used on your Galaxy S20 smartphone.

But you should turn it off when using USB tethering. USB tethering needs full access to data transmission even you are not interacting with your smartphone. When you turn on the data saver, it will block all the background processes that use the mobile data, and this causes USB tethering to not work on your computer.

  1. Open Settings > Device care.
  2. Tap on Battery.
  3. Turn off the data saver if it is already turned on.

Alternative to USB tethering – Mobile Hotspot

Mobile hotspot - graphic

If none of the above solutions worked for you. Then there is another option you have which is the Mobile hotspot. Every laptop has a WiFi facility so it will not be a problem. But if you are using a desktop computer and it does not have a WiFi receiver, then you need to buy a WiFi adapter to connect your Samsung Galaxy S20 and use the mobile hotspot feature.

There are various adapters on the market, it is up to you to select one for your needs.

Conclusion

That is all for the USB tethering not working/greyed out issue. Keep in mind that sometimes software bugs are another rare reason that can cause these problems. You can check for updates from Settings > software update to check and update your Samsung Galaxy S20’s device software.

If you have any questions regarding this guide, leave a message in the comment section. Have a nice day!

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Danu

The founder of Backtodefault.com and the tech nerd of the team. He is specialized in Android/iOS development and web development.

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