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FYI: iOS and APNs...

Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

I often see posts telling iPhone users to set the APN in order to get cellular data working properly.  Generally speaking, this is not applicable (and often not possible!) because the APN (amongst other settings) are established by a configuration file that gets downloaded to the phone (you can see this under Settings --> General --> About --> Carrier, where the profile should be something like Public Mobile xx.x).


Furthermore, most/all(?) carriers in North America hide the options to change APNs from the user.  This is a carrier option established by the carrier profile.  Any online references to changing/customizing APNs through the UI usually come from other international sources (e.g. UK), where carriers don't seem to hide/lock settings down.  The only APN setting that typically can be changed on an iPhone is the Personal Hotspot APN for tethering, but users are often confused into thinking that's the APN they're setting for their phone's data.


Often, users encounter a Catch-22 for getting the Public Mobile xx.x configuration file during activation because this configures the APN so they can get a data connection, and without a data connection, they can't get this file.  This is particularly common for activations at a store, etc.  If you activate at home (or at a store), hopefully you'll have access to a WiFi access point, and you can download the configuration file that way.


It's a bit different on iPads, where the APN can be set.  Carrier profiles usually don't lock down the setting like on phones.  So, instructions on setting the APN are applicable for iPads, and if I remember correctly, it typically does need to be manually set before cellular data will work, at least on Public Mobile.  Incidentally, cellular-enabled iPads (annoyingly) do not support cellular SMS or MMS, so these settings are moot/not applicable on iPads.  (And before anyone comes to correct me -- this is different from message forwarding from an iPhone, where messages are sync'd between iOS devices through the AppleID.)


On older phones (iPhone 4 and older, which run iOS 7 and lower), the APN and other settings were hard-coded in the OS, and the phone did a look-up based on the country/network of the SIM card that's inserted.  That's why inserting an encumbant carrier's SIM card (e.g. Telus or Rogers) into these will typically "just work", but newer/smaller ones (PM) won't.  That's where the site comes in handy (see my next post).  Unlockit installs a network profile onto the phone (typically installed by corporate IT departments for VPN, or by carriers for customizations to override built-in settings) to configure the APN.  Unfortunately, it doesn't configure the settings needed for MMS (not sure if it just doesn't, or can't), so MMS will never work for iPhone 4 and older on PM, unless the user can do the leg work of jailbreaking and patching of configuration files (probably more work than it's worth, given that better phones are readily available cheaply, even for their kids, parents, etc.!)


Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

@Lieux wrote:

what does that mean if I have for the ipv4? What can I do to receive one and is it important??

Is this under PDP Context index 0?  Does correspond to a particular APN?  Most importantly, are you able to use cellular data?


In most cases (at least with Carrier profile Public Mobile 35.0), you should only see 1 entry (index 0) with APN, and you should be getting an IP address (even on a plan that does not have data)..  If the APN is incorrect, then this could yield (no IP address).  Or, obviously if you're not within cellular coverage, this may not be populated with an IP address.


On an older phone (e.g. iPhone 4S, with Public Mobile 24.0), you might see a couple of indices populated (0, 1), where 0 has APN (and hopefully is acquiring an IP address) and index 1 has the older APN ( and IP address (not assigned).  In this case it's not important that the second context is inactive -- it's basically a fallback (second choice, if the primary setting doesn't work).

Retired Oracle / Oracle Retraité

@CalgaryBen awesome!  I just added 3 new links to my personal PM reference theads bookmarks:



EDIT and now:

>>> ALERT: I am not a moderator. For account or activation assistance, please click here.

This is a request to ask any Oracle ( @will13am, @Luddite etc) to move my "fantastic" post to after CalgaryBen's last great post with the subject of Checking APN and Cellular IP Address. I couldn't have known whether he was done so now my post just interrupts it all.

I don't know if it's possible but I'll ask. If you can, then help yourself to deleting this request.


Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

If you have a 3G/LTE capable iPad (basically, it has a SIM card tray, much like an iPhone does), and you need mobile internet access, consider:

  • Would it make sense to simply tether (leverage your mobile phone's data) and run off a local hotspot ("Personal Hotspot" in iOS parlance)?  You create a WiFi access point from your phone that your tablet connects to, and it uses your phone's data plan.  This alleviates the need for a separate account, another SIM card, etc.  I don't go into too much detail, but touch on the topic in this post.  If there's a need/desire, I can dedicate a post to tethering at a later time.
  • Does the iPad need to have standalone mobile internet (i.e. it will be operating without the benefit of a nearby iPhone)?  If so, then having its own SIM card with a separate (data) plan may make sense.
  • You can swap your SIM card between your iPhone and iPad without any issues if having data on your iPad isn't a regular necessity.  Just keep in mind that the iPad will not work with voice calls to your number, nor will it do true SMS/MMS through the carrier (it'll do iMessage, as always, using regular data).  While the SIM card is in your iPad, any inbound SMS will vanish into thin air, and calls will go straight to voicemail.

When you insert your Public Mobile SIM card into your iPad for the very first time (i.e. the iPad has never seen a Public Mobile SIM card before), you will need to configure the APN manually.  Unlike on iPhones, where the Carrier Profile sets up the APN, this is open to configuration by the user, and by default is not correct for Public Mobile.


Once you've inserted your SIM card, you should see the signal bars show up (replacing "...." if no SIM is inserted).  If you go into Settings --> General, you should see TELUS xx.x under carrier, along with other details pertaining to your wireless subscription:



Now, go into Cellular Data --> APN Settings.  If there is nothing under Cellular Data (often occurs if you've just inserted the SIM card), close the Settings app (double-press the Home button and then "flick" away the Settings), and then re-launch it.Img_0590a.png


In the APN Settings, you'll see the default APN for TELUS, which you should replace with the proper Public Mobile APN: (note: I previously mentioned using because of this being the default for personal hotspots (usually used for tethering), but it seems to prevent LTE data connections and only allows 3G to work):Img_0592a.png


That's it!  Go back, and you should now have cellular data available!  The easiest way is to turn off WiFi and then try accessing the internet using Safari or Chrome.  Since there is no phone dialer on the iPad, there's also no Field Test mode (described in this post within this thread), so if you want to find your IP address, you'll have to download an app to do so (I recommend the free System Status hw monitor lite).


You'll only need to do this once... as long as you don't insert another carrier's SIM card into the iPad, you won't need to reconfigure the APN even if you're moving your Public Mobile SIM card in/out of the iPad.


Note: You're going to be disappointed if you want to use the iPad to provide a "Personal Hotspot" (access point) for other devices, as you basically can't do this on Public Mobile.  It's not because of a rule or policy at PM, or a limitation of the iPad.  It's due to the lack of a Public Mobile Carrier profile for iPads to configure the Personal Hotspot APN (or allowing it to be configured by the user).  If you go Settings --> Cellular Data --> Set Up Personal Hotspot, you'l see a prompt indicating "To enable personal hotspot on this account, contact TELUS".  The TELUS carrier profile that gets loaded on the iPad allows the user to configure the data APN, but pre-configures the Personal Hotspot APN (under the hood) to, hence the iPad indicating that it essentially cannot get an IP address from PM using this APN and to contact the provider to provision the account/line to use this APN (which PM of course can't).

Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

The first post in this thread is a bit long, so I decided to create a shorter variation (without the background/educational bits).


You want Cellular Data for your iPhone.  You will need to have WiFi access to begin with, just to get your iPhone to a point where it can use cellular 


If you have an iPhone 3GS or 4 (but not 4S) -- refer to this thread (I'll add more models if I can get my hands on them for testing).


For iPhone 4S and newer, everything you need for cellular data to work is in the Carrier Profile.  You can find this under Settings --> General --> About --> Carrier.  If you have the latest iOS, the carrier profile version is ever-changing, so you should get the latest one (Settings --> General --> Software Update).

  • For iOS 9.3.6 (latest for iPhone 4S), it's Public Mobile 24.0.
  • For iOS 10.3.4 (latest for iPhone 5 and 5C), I think it's Public Mobile 28.0 but this is not confirmed (if you have such a phone and can check, please let me know and I'll update this post!).
  • For iOS 12.4.3 (latest on iPhone 5s and 6), it's Public Mobile 37.0 (?? - subject to confirmation?).
  • For iOS 13.2 (latest on iPhone SE, 6s, and up), it's Public Mobile 39.0 (as of this writing, updated on Oct 31, 2019).


If you activated a brand new SIM card at the store, or you've just acquired another iPhone, and you don't have WiFi, then it's very likely your carrier profile will not be up to date (and in fact you may have one from your old carrier) when you insert your PM SIM card.  Simply connect to a WiFi access point with internet access, and update your carrier profile through the Software Update option.


If your carrier profile is up to date and you still cannot get cellular data, then please refer to this post, as most causes of this can be resolved through removing network profiles or doing a network reset.

Great Neighbour / Super Voisin

Hi Ben, 


I used unlockit and my data on my phone now works, thanks heaps for the advice.


I bought the data plan so I could use my phone as a hotspot for my laptop in my cabin. However the APN for my personal hotspot is still saying it is Koodo and I need to contact them regarding setting it up...


If you have any advice on how to fix this I'd be very grateful.


Thanks in advance

Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Im also trying to chg the APN setting on a iphone 4 and find no Profile in my general settings, any suggestions or is does it evon need to change from the current telus setting.

@bowsandbrowns wrote:

Im also trying to chg the APN setting on a iphone 4 and find no Profile in my general settings, any suggestions or is does it evon need to change from the current telus setting.

This is an outstanding thread that wetcoaster pointed you to and that CalgaryBen wrote. Did you follow any of the instructions? Even just the first one (which leads to the second).


Edit: Ok. Benefit of the doubt. See just below here to the left where you'll see Previous 1 2 Next. Click on either 1 or Previous. That takes you to the beginning of this thread. There you'll find all you need.

Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

@richie99 wrote:

I bought the data plan so I could use my phone as a hotspot for my laptop in my cabin. However the APN for my personal hotspot is still saying it is Koodo and I need to contact them regarding setting it up...

So you're doing this on an iPhone 4?  You should be able to just go into Settings -> Cellular -> Cellular Data, and then set up the APN ( for the Personal Hotspot.  Does that not work?  In theory that's where you'd set it up.  You would then enable and set up your hotspot password via Settings -> Cellular -> Personal Hotspot.

Retired Oracle / Oracle Retraité

Great work Ben