Enable Internet tethering on iPhone 3.0 for free [Updated]

This article has been updated, please see updates below

In the UK o2 wants to charge nearly £15 a month just to tether your iPhone and use it with your laptop. In the US AT&T has not officially announced their charges or support but now a simple, easy and maybe not so carrier approved method has come to light.

The method does not require that you use iTunes to hack anything or jailbreak the phone but simply visit a website and download a settings file to update the device.

Thanks to Richard Lai there is a simple guide.

  1. Visit http://help.benm.at/ from your iPhone 3.0 device
  2. You will see the following screen, select "MobileConfigs"

  3. Next, select your provider and download the settings pack:

  4. You should now be able to enable tethering:

We are not sure whether a charge would be applied by your provider or whether this is totally legal but many sites are reporting success and I can confirm on a iPhone 3G 3.0 with o2 UK it works OK.

Update: The folks over at TechRadar have received an official response from UK provider O2. According to O2 "Any use of this particular feature without the purchase of the Bolt on is specifically prohibited under our terms of service. Under those terms we reserve the right to charge customers making modem use of their iPhone or disconnect them." Ouch, I'm not convinced that O2 could tell the difference between a web page loaded on the same APN via an iPhone or laptop so this might be a reactive response to put people off. Either way the company clearly needs to look at the option they are providing consumers, £15 a month is a disgusting price to charge consumers just to surf in the same way they would from their phone but on a laptop device.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Live from the floor of the HP Tech Expo

Next Story

AT&T revises iPhone upgrade policy

69 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Come on. They can have easy ways of knowing. Whether they make use of of this or not, I dont know.

They can easily check the HTTP packets to see if the browser agent is any other than Safari mobile on the iPhone. Although you could use a firefox extension or whatever to change the reported user agent to match that of safari. Stuff like that.

Julius Caro said,
Come on. They can have easy ways of knowing. Whether they make use of of this or not, I dont know.

They can easily check the HTTP packets to see if the browser agent is any other than Safari mobile on the iPhone. Although you could use a firefox extension or whatever to change the reported user agent to match that of safari. Stuff like that.

I think other carriers do it, and apparently its not illegal (if it's legal to read the packet at IP level to check where to route it, to read the packet at TCP level to check if the port is allowed or not, then it could also be legal to read the HTTP headers without even reading the payload, obviously. it's the payload at the top of the stack that would cause the most privacy concerns. everything else would be considered control data)


It works like a charm for me and I'm on AT&T. I'll have to keep my eyes open to see if I see any additional charges on my account. Hope they don't get me disconnected or something since I'm not so a high user and only surf news, e-mail and Neowin. I guess we'll see what happens next.

WTF so to connect your laptop though ur iphone so you can browse the internet they are going to charge you! um is it me cant you do the samething on nokia and other phones for free! well i used to use my nokia to do samething!

As others have already stated, the policies vary between different carriers, but generally all of them will charge you extra for tethering. You might get away without paying, but if you do get caught, be sure that they will charge you. It doesn't matter what phone you use, the same charges apply.

Once the iphone is ready to go, how do you get Windows XP to recognize the tether if you’re connecting via USB?? Can't find this info anywhere. I hear Vista just recognizes it automatically, but what about XP?

I'm really surprised this is still here. This is providing a workaround to get something for free that you should be paying for. It is THEFT pure and simple, and should be removed from this site

You are given unlimited useage of the internet (o2=500mb per month), what difference does it make if you use your iphone or a laptop to access it?? The tethering bundles they provide I think is for 3gb and 10gb per month, which is fair enough... if somewhat expensive!! why got you use your free allowance as you want...

DrScouse said,
You are given unlimited useage of the internet (o2=500mb per month)


How do they get away with calling 500MB per month "unlimited"? I'd burn through that in a matter of hours, if not minutes!

I used a bit over 2gb last month streaming radio over 3g mostly .. they didnt complain and I am on pay as you go with the unlimited bolt on.

Greenstein said,
I'd like to do this, but I hear it breaks your visual voicemail. Has anyone experienced that?

Mine still works. VVM is a bit hit and miss anyway.

Not all networks ban tethering use, even O2 allows tethering with an N97 on their network and its included in the tariff. Why should iPhone users pay extra?

Ok so I tried it with ATT and it works. Now it's time to unistall..
lately tho neowin has been a source for hacks... remember the Technet article fiasco? I mean come on... don't these news have to be approved before they get posted?

Tom W said,
It's on every site, puuulease. We are a news site.


So if every other site posted a link to a torrent for Snow Leopard, you'd post it as well? Good to know.

btw, how is that bloke getting the % next to his battery.. I know this was meant to be a feature in 3.0.
Has he jailbroken?
Regarding the tethering, i've enabled mine, but will rarely use it unless in emergencies tbh.

I'm really surprised this is still here. This is providing a workaround to get something for free that you should be paying for. It is THEFT pure and simple, and should be removed from this site.

I guess you haven't noticed, but admins and news posters don't have to play by the same rules as the rest of us. Its been like that for a while now.

I think that the large concern with these providers is that it will cut into their ISP market. If I can get decent Internet access by connecting my phone to my computer, and I'm already paying for that Internet access, why would I pay an extra $50+ a month for DSL anymore (unless there was a need for speed).

In reality I would only need the feature when I am on travel. Hopefully when that comes up again either this will work or I can just have tethering enabled through my provider for that one month that I need it or whatever.

I dont see how this is a BIG deal for the IPhone to tether and at&t not supporting it yet. And please 15pds is a lot. I live in a 3rd world country and we use to use (some people still do) Motorola (better of the 2) and nokia to plug into pcs and laptops to connect to the internet. This waa even promoted by isp providers

It's worth noting that ALL of the main UK network ban tethering use. They always have. If you look in the small print, it'll be there. They just can't back it up with systems to detect it.

But the fact is, the pathetic o2 network with their extortionate bolt on price have no real idea on how to track people's usage.

They can't even handle enabled MMS for people, so they have no chance of finding time to packet sniff data.

Ignore the press release crap, don't take the **** and you'll be fine.

This is EXACTLY what they deserved for trying to rip people off.

Ah the old "stealing for the greater good" mentality that I see so often. You have a right to steal from o2 because they've ripped you off or tried to rip you off. Give me a break...

They charge what they and their customers see as a fair price. If you don't see the price as fair and equitable then you shouldn't buy the service. It is just that simple. Not steal it.

Regardless. It cost them money to support your tethering habits and as a result they'll push up costs somewhere else to recoup the cost associated with it.

I think the price of the iPhone is a rip off with its extra monthly fee tacked on to your plan and the cost of the device. That doesn't mean I should be running around shoplifting iPhones because "apple is ripping people off" or whatever....

Get off your holier than thou horse and end the sense of entitlement that you people seem to have so much of these days.

obviously you have every right to post, but bare in mind, I couldn't give a damn what you think, and have ignored the tosh you've just posted Cheers.

Just reading AT&T's terms of service and under Prohibited and Permissible uses we have:

"Furthermore, plans(unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/PDA-to computer accessories, BLUETOOTH® or any other wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for any purpose."

They reserve the right to disconnect you blah blah blah... I'm sure if you don't go overboard you'll be fine. I also bet that somebody will block this method soon.

Man, the whole "We'll lock out EDGE users for tethering and MMS" is BS. My 5 year old Treo 650 could tether and MMS. So, I downloaded the file for AT&T but nothing shows up. Dammit.

Oh well. At least the people are speaking back at these companies. Tired of being bent over the barrel.

Pharos said,
Did you reboot your phone? I had to reboot mine before I got it to work. (AT&T user here as well)

I did but I have a feeling it's because it's a 2G. So, pretty much all of the new stuff that needs a network won't work.

Well unless they actually have a method of detecting it then im not too fussed. Besides I don't plan on using heavily, its only really for emergencies!

AdamLC said,
Well unless they actually have a method of detecting it then im not too fussed. Besides I don't plan on using heavily, its only really for emergencies! :)

I guess they could sniff traffic for your browsers User Agent but you could always change your Users Agent to match the iPhones user agent but this will create problems with some webpages.

As part of the o2 contract, you get "unlimited internet access", which as it turns out is limited to 500mb..

I dont see what difference it makes whether you use this directly from your iphone or via a connected laptop... I know the chargeable service o2 provides is for more bandwidth, so whats the issue, if you simply want to use your 500mb allowance...

Oops its all going tits up for me. Loss of network interface on my Mac. Pluggin in via USB doesn't recognise a new interface and even though over BT my iPhone says its tethering, there is no connection on the Mac.

it has nothing to do with the phone but and everything to do with the telco. They're the ones charging you and taking advantage of the iPhone hype.

You should be looking for a better telco.

+1 with Smigit.

JamesWeb just doesn't like Apple at all so he decided to accuse the iPhone when it's in fact the problem of the cell provider It's sad because it seemed really obvious...

JamesWeb said,
There's an easier way to enable tethering, just use any other phone in the world ever.


+1

Basically all other phones have tethering for free! And, you can turn your phone into a WiFi router, so you don't even need to cable tether it!

andrewbares said,
Basically all other phones have tethering for free!


As usual, you are wrong. The costs for tethering are determined by the carrier. Want to use tethering on a WinMo phone with AT&T? Guess what, they are going to charge you extra. Yes, you can get away without paying for it if you are careful and don't abuse it, but you are still running the risk of getting caught and having to pay. The same applies to using WMWiFiRouter, it is still considered tethering.

PsykX said,
+1 with Smigit.

JamesWeb just doesn't like Apple at all so he decided to accuse the iPhone when it's in fact the problem of the cell provider It's sad because it seemed really obvious...


Acutally, it's more liek he probably lives in the US and they only have AT&T as their carrier there, so yes, he can safely say that you should grab a better phone, like the Fuze, which runs Windows Mobile and is even on the same AT&T network and allows tethering.

PCBEEF said,
How is that easy? Most people don't have the luxury of owning another phone. Stop trolling.

LOL so they have the "luxury" of forking out loads of money for an iphone contract instead XD

THAT my friends is a reason not to get an iphone contract.

Its about time someone sat on the mobile phone companies and made them squeal !
Mobile data wether it be Tethering or use on the mobile itself all uses the same carrier, the same technlogy and has always been like this, yet they still want to charge tethering and mobile data differently..... Why!!
Its like being charged differently for the same drink in a bar because it was served in a different coloured cup! Its bull**** and needs to stop...

O2 have already confirmed via Twitter they don't have the systems in place to detect the difference between data from a phone or from a computer. The only way they know is by the amount of data being transferred. If it's excessive (like watching BBC iPlayer etc) they will contact you and tell you to cool it.

Just don't use it excessively and you won't have a problem and don't download stuff thats over 10MB on a regular basis since this is the limit you can download over the cell network from the App Store etc.

Why legal implications? Its just setting up your phone with internet settings for Tethering.. If your phone providers offers data services, it just uses the data service. These are just profiles for settings...

Actually it should be ilegal for them to tell you how to use or not use your data plan that by the way you are paying for.

Gothic_Rebel said,
Will this work on pay n go customers ? any ideas

I think you need to be contract and on the iPhone tariff.