Disabling data on iPhone 3G
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I wanted to know if it is possible to block the iPhone from using data services on the 3G/EDGE network. I wish to use it only on Wi-Fi so as to not be charged for any data.
A: There are a couple of ways that you can go about preventing your iPhone from using data services on the cellular network. The simplest method is to change the APN (Access Point Name) information on your iPhone. This APN information is basically used to “log on” to your carrier’s data network, and if this information is invalid, then your iPhone will not be able to access cellular data services.
Unfortunately, most carriers hard-code the APN information into the iPhone and will not allow you to change this APN information directly on the iPhone itself when in your home network. However, you can change these settings via Apple’s own iPhone Configuration Utility, which can be downloaded from Apple’s iPhone Enterprise Support page.
The iPhone Configuration Utility is primarily targeted at enterprise organizations who wish to standardize certain configurations across all of the iPhones in their organization, and includes the ability to create customized configuration and application provisioning profiles to distribute to multiple iPhones. Among the settings that can be customized is the APN configuration. Simply setting the APN to an invalid random value is generally sufficient to block your iPhone from accessing the cellular data network.
Using the iPhone Configuration Utility will generate a .mobileConfig file that can then be loaded onto your iPhone simply by e-mailing it to yourself or loading it from a web site via a web browser.
Unfortunately, this can be a somewhat cumbersome process for a novice user, so an enterprising Vodafone user in New Zealand has graciously provided an iPhone-optimized web site that does the exact same thing that the iPhone Configuration Utility would do, simply by generating and providing the same .mobileConfig file that would be built by Apple’s own utility.
Visiting http://unlockit.co.nz on your iPhone will bring you to a page that you can use to set a custom APN or a “Fake APN” on your iPhone in order to disable data access:
After selecting the option from the web site itself, a mobile configuration file will be downloaded to your iPhone and you will be prompted to install it:
Once these settings have been applied, your iPhone should no longer be able to access the cellular data network. This will not affect your WiFi configuration in any way whatsoever, but when you are out of range of a WiFi access point and attempt to access data, the iPhone will indicate that it cannot activate the cellular data network in order to do so.
Should you later decide that you do in fact want to turn cellular data access back on, you simply need to remove the customized mobile configuration file under the Settings, General, Profiles option:
This will remove the customized settings and return your iPhone to its carrier-default configuration. Note that you may need to reset your iPhone or toggle Airplane Mode on and off after removing this profile in order to re-establish a data connection with the cellular network.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Report: EU to rule against Apple-Ireland tax deals, recommend Apple pay 1B+ Euros
- Apple sued over unresponsive iPhone 6/6 Plus touchscreen issues
- Apple announces Sept. 7 event
- Philips introduces Hue Motion Sensor
- Photos hint at improved battery for new Apple Watch
- Spotify penalizing artists who release Apple Music exclusives [Update: Spotify responds]
- Apple releases new round of iOS 10 and tvOS 10 betas
- Report: 2017 iPhone to eliminate home button
- Apple to add payment technology to iPhone for transit passes, Apple Pay in Japan
- Apple releases iOS 9.3.5 ‘security update’
- Western Digital My Cloud (OS 3)
- Distil Union Stanley Stand
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush
- Audeze EL-8 Titanium Over-Ear Headphones
- Defined Corp Dome Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Speck StyleFolio Pencil for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Audeze Sine On-Ear Headphone
- First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- Logitech Create 9.7” iPad Pro Keyboard Case
- iDevices Outdoor Switch Power Outlet
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app