Q: I have an iPhone 3G. Through iTunes, I recently updated the iPhone Software to 3.0. However, after the upgrade completed, I cannot find some of the new features that you have discussed in several of the articles published on iLounge discussing OS 3.0. For example, in Settings I have no option for Notifications or for Internet Tethering. The iPhone does show that it is running OS 3.0. Any thoughts on what the problem is or how to correct it?
A: Your upgrade to 3.0 likely went just fine, but the issue you’re having is that certain features in iPhone OS 3.0 are hidden from view unless certain applications are installed or those features are enabled by the carrier.
For instance, the Notifications setting only appears once you have installed an application that uses the Push Notifications feature in OS 3.0. If you have no Push-capable apps installed, the Notifications option will not do anything, and it is therefore hidden.
Other options, such as the MMS-related settings and the Internet Tethering option are carrier-specific, and must therefore be enabled in the internal iPhone configuration files for your specific carrier. If you’re on a carrier that does not provide tethering support, such as AT&T in the U.S., you will not see this option at all, as the standard AT&T carrier configuration does not enable it. When AT&T does roll out tethering support, they will provide an updated carrier configuration file that will be installed through iTunes.
If you’re on a carrier that is supposed to provide tethering but are still not seeing these settings, you may have an outdated carrier configuration file. You can check for updates via iTunes in the same way that you check for firmware updates: Simply connect your iPhone to your computer, and choose the Check for Updates option in the Summary screen for your iPhone. iTunes will check to see if there are any newer carrier updates available and if so, prompt you to download and install the update.
The same applies for MMS settings—these also need to be activated in the configuration file for your carrier. If you’re not seeing MMS settings, it is either because you have an outdated carrier configuration file or your carrier does not yet provide this feature.
You can check the version of your carrier configuration file by going into your iPhone’s Settings application and choosing General, About. “Carrier version” will display the name of the carrier and the version of their configuration file that you are using.
Note that if you have previously installed your own custom carrier configuration file onto your iPhone at any point and the version number in your custom file is higher than the one available, iTunes will not offer you an update, since it thinks you already have a newer version. In this case, you will either have to manually download and install the correct configuration file, or restore your iPhone completely to factory settings. In either case, this is an advanced user scenario—if you have installed your own custom carrier configuration file on your iPhone in the first place, you will also likely know how to download and install the correct one.