Access Point Name (APN) are carrier settings on your mobile device which allow you to use unofficial carrier SIMs with your device. As is the case when you travel, you are normally locked to your home country network tariff plan, but there are instances when you travel, whereby you might want to use a third-party SIM card in say an iPhone or cellular version of the iPad.
Apple has actually removed the option which allows you to change the APN settings from iOS, but this is carrier dependent. Apple iOS does though provide instructions on the Web on how to make custom settings to change the APN. Firstly though here is how you can view the APN settings on your iOS device:
- iPhone: Settings > General > Network > Cellular data Network
- iPad: Settings > Cellular Data > APN Settings
Note: If you edited your APN settings before updating iOS, these settings will be reset to the default values. You may need to reapply these settings after an iOS update. Here is what you need to do:
- iPhone: Tap the Reset Settings button in Settings > General > Network > Cellular Data Network
- iPad: Remove the configuration profile and then add it again
Before you can edit your APN settings on an iOS device you will need to download the iPhone Configuration Utility:
- Windows: http://support.apple.com/kb/dl1466 (Last Modified Jan 28, 2013)
- Mac OS X: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1465 (Last Modified Mar 7, 2012)
The iPhone Configuration Utility allows to create anew profiles and edit existing profile settings. Here is what you will need to do:
- Launch iPhone Configuration Utility and choose File > New Configuration Profile
- Fill out details in the General section of the configuration profile
- Select > advanced settings section and enter the necessary Access Point Name (APN) details provided by the carrier.
Update: Recent research has suggested that someone could send a victim a malicious link (phishing) to update their APN settings which could then read the websites that person it visiting. It would also be possible to scrape keystrokes, search and login data from apps and more.
This is all because an attacker knows that ‘mobileconfigs’ (these are referred to as Configuration Profiles) can route traffic through a third-party server, install root certificates and allow decryption of secure HTTPS traffic. There are many sites that allow users to download new APN profiles, so just be aware that these profile changes could affect your iOS device.
Note: An incorrect APN may result in a loss of functionality or features, such as cellular data connectivity, and may result in additional charges. Do not edit the APN unless directed by your carrier.
Safe surfing folks!