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MacOS tells me that my phone is offering a network connection when I connect cable  

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Hi, I back up both my iPad Air 2 and my iPhone Xr to my Mac Pro 5,1 Mojave using a cable (old school, none of this iCloud business).  Every time I connect one of these devices to the computer, the Mac tells me that there is a new network interface present, and would I like to open System Preferences to manage it?  So I dutifully click through to System Preferences, and see the list of usual network interfaces: Ethernet 0, Ethernet 1, wifi, bluetooth.  I click on the '+' button to add what I presume will be some USB network connection, but no joy there: I see VPN and 6to4 and another one that I can't recall, but nothing that looks phone-related.  Any idea why this pops up, and how can I get rid of the annoying pop-up-to-nowhere?

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There are ways you can use your iPhone or your iPad as a connection point over the cable you are connected with. I'd suggest setting them each up once in System Prefs. Under Network, on the left click on the + and add either iPhone USB or iPad USB (whichever you have connected) and once it's set up you don't have to do anything with it but it will stop bugging you about configuring it (:

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