How to enable internet tethering on a UK iPhone

18 June 2009

We ran a poll on Bitterwallet before asking how many of you had jailbreaked (it's a verb right?) your iPhone. The majority had so we suppose there's also a good lot of you who use a software unlock solution.

If you are running an unlocked iPhone 3.0 on an alternative UK network you may have a problem getting the internet tethering option to display in your iPhone settings (if you are on o2 read the HUKD iPhone tethering thread). Fear not, as there is an extremely simple solution!

The use of ipcc files to change your carrier information was the widespread hack during the 3.0 beta days but now that iTunes 8.2 is fully released you can no longer easily overwrite your ipcc file to trick it into tethering and MMS (there are still ways around that). The far simpler solution to enable tethering is to use the iPhone .mobileconfig files which can turn on tethering painlessly.

The .mobileconfig file is usually used be enterprises to quickly configure mobile phones with permissions and carrier settings (like your data APN). Luckily they can also switch tethering off and on. To use the .mobileconfig file you only need to click on the attachment in email or visit a webpage which holds the file.

Without further ado here are .mobileconfig files for several of the UK operators. Either download the relevant one to your desktop and then email to your iPhone (click the attachment in email) or visit the file url in your iPhone Safari browser. This will trigger a page that asks if you want to enable the Profile, click install and that's it. You can always go to Settings -> General -> Profiles to turn it off. Once you have the profile installed go to Settings -> General -> Network to enable Internet Tethering.

Three.co.uk tethering settings - http://tiny.cc/3tether

Vodafone UK tethering settings - http://tiny.cc/vodtether

Tmobile UK tethering settings - http://tiny.cc/tmobtether

Virgin UK tethering settings - http://tiny.cc/virgintether

Thanks to Andrew Harrison and BenM.at

EDIT: Not surprisingly, it looks like o2 have got wind of this clever little hack and are kicking up a bit of a stink about it. They're threatening to charge or disconnect any users who don't fork out for the official bolt-on. More at Macgasm...

35 comments

  • Matt S.
    Three - http://tiny.cc/3tether Vodaphone - http://tiny.cc/vodtether Tmobile - http://tiny.cc/tmobtether Virgin - http://tiny.cc/virgintether
  • Francis R.
    Bitter iPhone or iPhone Wallet, you chose
  • Tom P.
    OMG, all hail for the mighty Paul Nikkel (AKA Editorial Director) finally makes a post.
  • Geoff J.
    Who really give a shit! Iphone x Ipod + Imac = Itwat
  • Dave P.
    Geoff sums himself up nicely there I feel - iTwat. alternatively, i, you are a twat Geoff.
  • The B.
    Jailbreaked? Jailbroken surely?
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
    Thanks Matt S - will update article links with the shortened ones. Tom Pickering - I try! Hang on for another one tomorrow ;) The Real Bob - You're grammatically right but I feel like an idiot when I say either one out loud!
  • Cam
    I didn't mind the iphone posts when they were once a month (and you took the piss out of apple fan boys). But now every third post is about the iphone. Are apple paying you are something? This is just getting boring.
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
    We'll stop soon. It's because of the 3.0 and 3GS updates. We'll be all over Donut as it happens... problem is Google doesn't introduce so much drama into our lives by trying to lock down everything.
  • james
    Thanks for the vodafone mobileconfig... none of the iphone websites have this.
  • Bruno
    I was tempted in buying one, but chaining myself to o2 for a phone that is just for aesthetical purposes? I think not
  • Geoff J.
    Dave Bensons Phillips. Good one. Now go a long and play with the boobs app on your iphone. Enjoy, as its the closest you will ever get to the real thing
  • veedubjai
    O2: We’ll disconnect ‘free’ iPhone tetherers Don’t try to bypass tethering charges, warns network O2 has responded to reports that users have been bypassing the forthcoming iPhone tethering charges by stating it will disconnect or charge offenders. The internet is rife with reports of a site hosting a file for your iPhone that configures the device to act as a modem, using the free data allowance included in the monthly contract. However, O2 has smartly responded to the news, telling TechRadar that it will come down hard on such users: “Internet rumours suggest that some customers have modified their iPhone to enable Internet Tethering without the purchase of the Internet Tethering Bolt On. Any use of this particular feature without the purchase of the Bolt on is specifically prohibited under our terms of service. Disconnection and option “Under those terms we reserve the right to charge customers making modem use of their iPhone or disconnect them. If customers wish to use the Internet Tethering feature on their iPhone 3G or iPhone 3G S, we recommend taking the Bolt On which is available from Friday 19 June.” We’re still waiting to find out exactly how O2 will know the difference between data on the mobile and on a laptop, although simple usage graphs would show a sharp increase in data consumption. However, whether this is enough for the network to prove tethering wrongdoing is also unclear, so we’re still waiting for clarification on the subject. By Gareth Beavis http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/o2-we-ll-disconnect-free-iphone-tetherers-609253
  • Peter
    These mobileconfig files aren't working. It sets all APNs the same. I need a different APN for MMS. Otherwise, MMS no longer works after installing the mobileconfig file. How can I put different APNs in the mobileconfig? I cannot edit the settings after installing the mobileconfig. If I do, Tethering disappears.
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
    Peter - The APN's are different for each provider?? They should have the correct APN info for data on each network provider. MMS is another beast but it should be possible to do through mobileconfigs also. If you leave you MMS settings here and network I can try to make a mobileconfig file to include those.
  • mak
    osted by Peter | June 21st, 2009 at 1:51 pm These mobileconfig files aren’t working. It sets all APNs the same. I need a different APN for MMS. Otherwise, MMS no longer works after installing the mobileconfig file. How can I put different APNs in the mobileconfig? I cannot edit the settings after installing the mobileconfig. If I do, Tethering disappears. Same as Peter. Running on vodafone uk, iphone 3G factory unlocked. The mobileconfig files change all APN's and when i change the MMS APN back, tethering disappears? Any solutions?
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
    I'll take a shot at doing vodafone MMS mobileconfig. Can you post the MMS settings here?
  • James B.
    I've tried quite a few configs from various websites. I have an officially unlocked iPhone from Italy and I get the tethering option disappearing - cant figure it out! someone help me! BTW, the MMS options work fine..
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
    Which network sim do you use in the UK James B? Grab the relevant mobileconfig and tethering option will appear.
  • James B.
    I have a vodafone netwrok sim and have installed the relevant config the tethering option appears and I can see the options to connect via USB or bluetooth. However, when I initiate the connection the it fails and the option dissapears. My latest hunch is that it might be something to do with my mobileconfig not being signed. I have gone to unlockit.co.nz where you can get a signed mobileconfig but have yet to test it I think quite a few people in my position are having the same problem
  • Gary
    Hi, i've got a voda uk sim. I've gone to the voda uk tether link but it just loads a page of code. How can i load the file into the phone to enable tethering? cheers
  • James B.
    goto unlockit.co.nz - really simple...
  • Patrick
    I use O2 in the Czech Republic. I installed the mobileconfig download at help.benm.at and can tether my iPhone 3G without problems. To reactivate the MMS service, all I had to do was go Settings > General > Network > Cellular Data Network and, in the "APN" field under MMS, simply type "mms" to replace "internet". The tethering option did not disappear. Piece o' pish, really.
  • Gary M.
    Posted by Paul Nikkel | June 21st, 2009 at 10:24 pm I’ll take a shot at doing vodafone MMS mobileconfig. Can you post the MMS settings here? Hi Paul, Did you manage to build a mobileconfig file for Vodafone UK with the different settings for internet APN and MMS apn? As I have not seen anybody posting the settings, please find them below. Cellular data APN: internet username: web password: web MMS APN: wap.vodafone.co.uk username: wap password: wap MMSC: http://mms.vodafone.co.uk/servlets/mms/ MMS proxy: 212.183.137.012 VVM not supported on Vodafone UK.
  • Tethering/visual A.
    [...] use that service to enable tethering but be careful with how much you download - have a read here: How to enable internet tethering on a UK iPhone | BitterWallet You can also go here from using Safari on your iPhone: Unlockit - APN Changer for your iPhone [...]
  • Kai
    When I open the URL for Vodafone UK within Safari on my iPhone, it displays the installation file, but does not install it. What to do???
  • Mike
    The vodafone tethering mobileconfig file did not enable tethering . I still cannot see the tab in Networks, I got an unlocked Iphone 3gs from Italy
  • Gerard
    I tried the mobileconfig and my tethering option has gone? my settings are: idata.o2.co.uk vertigo password http://mmsc.mms.o2.co.uk:8002 193.113.200.195:8080 30720 I have a 3Gs version 3.1
  • simon
    How do I enable vodafone uk tethering to my iphone. the page loads a bunch of code then that unlockit page does not seem like what i want. I have web browsing bolt on and want to use my macbook to surf the internet. what do I need to do? Thank you
  • Ten B.
    [...] 10: How to enable internet tethering on a UK iPhone [...]
  • Martin
    Didn't work for me - I went to the Vodafone link and just got the settings displayed in my browser. No prompt to install the settings.
  • Julia L.
    Hiya I have the same problem as James above.. Believe it or not I originally had the Internet tethering option in my iPhone 3GS but after setting up the Bluetooth connection... My tethering option disappeared from the network list. I installed your file for Tmobile but nope it didn't work at all. Option still doesn't appear and I just got my option robbed from me thanks to a licked UK network on Tmobile
  • Richard W.
    Hit an interesting problem today with tethering. Tethering has worked flawlessly for me for the last 3-4 months. I only use it for emails and a little browsing, but not for downloading. Today I tethered up, and the first thing that happened was that t-mobile did an intercept and put up the page demanding I pay up for a Pre-pay bolt-on. For those who use, or have used, a pre-pay USB dongle it's the page you get when you're out of credit. How did they do this? I thought that all t-mobile can see is a data stream, although they can obviously see the quantity of data being consumed. But it looks like they've found a way to identify when I'm using my iphone (internet and mail work just fine) and when I tether up to my PC. No doubt there will be a work-around - has anyone identified one already?
  • Georgia
    Can I tether my iPhone to my iPad on a pay as you go plan with vodafone uk? Thanks
  • Gary
    I am interested in this as well. Is there a mobileconfig file that adds the tethering setting and configures it for PAYG vodafone customers?

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