If you have moved abroad with your phone, or purchased a phone from abroad to use back in your home country, you might have found that whilst your smart phone works for text messaging and phone calls, you cannot access mobile data on your phone even though it is switched on.
It can feel frustrating to know you have just spent all the money to have your phone unlocked abroad, purchase a new sim and buy a mobile internet package, to find out that you can’t use your favourite apps – especially those that help you stay connected with loved ones back home – or any mobile internet.
A quick google search will point you in the direction of many forums and webpages that discuss APN settings, but what is an APN setting and why does it need to be changed?
An APN (access point name) is the name of a gateway between GPRS, 3G or 4G and another computer network – for example, public internet. In order for a mobile phone to make a connection to mobile internet, it must be configured with an APN that your carrier can read.
When you take, for example, an Orange phone, abroad and switch the sim card to a foreign carrier, the APN setting saved on your handset is configured to your previous network, rather than your new one and the phone cannot connect to the mobile internet.
Whilst it might feel like the end of the world, it is relatively easy to reconfigure the settings to be able to access mobile internet on your new unlocked phone. You have two options to change your settings; both are simple, easy and completely free – you also won’t need any assistance.
iOS 5 & iOS6: Settings > General > Mobile Data > Mobile Data Network > APN
iOS7: Settings > Mobile > Mobile Data Network > APN
Once you have located the setting, use google to find out your new networks APN settings and enter them before saving the new settings. Then your phone should work as it did in your home country, with access to mobile internet, GPS and other online applications.
After searching through the phone settings, you may discover that your model of iPhone doesn’t have a place to alter or edit the APN setting. But don’t worry – it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to change it. Simply visit the site unlockit on your phone – when connected to wifi – and the phone will automatically download an app that will automatically change your APN settings.
This app is a great tool for those who travel between different countries often and have a variety of sim cards – rather than memorising a variety of different APNs the app will automatically determine your location and the APN settings needed.