Wi-Fi and 3G Connectivity
We live in a connected world. Wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) access has become the rule, not
the exception—chances are you’re already using Wi-Fi at your home or office. Now you
can use it to connect your iPhone. And, since your iPhone also has a 3G cellular radio,
you can also connect to the Internet anywhere you have cellular data coverage—a much
wider area than Wi-Fi networks.
In this chapter we’ll talk about the differences between the two types of connections for
your iPhone: Wi-Fi (wireless local area network) and 3G (cellular service—the wide area
data network used by your mobile phone). We’ll show you all the ways to get connected
or disconnected from these two types of networks. There will be times you want to
disable or turn off your 3G connection and only use Wi-Fi to save money in data
We will also show you how to get ready for traveling internationally with your iPhone—
what you need to do before, during, and after your trip so you don’t get surprised with a
very large phone bill when you return home.
We also show you how to use Internet Tethering, the ability that your iPhone has to
become a connection to the Internet for your laptop—PC or Mac. This is a great feature
to use when you don’t have any other way to connect your laptop to the Internet.
Finally, if you work at an organization with a VPN (Virtual Private Network), we show you
how to get connected to that network.
What Can I Do When I’m Connected to a Wi-Fi or 3G
Here are some of the things you can do when connected:
Access and download apps (programs) from the App Store
Access and download music, videos, podcasts, and more from iTunes on your iPhone
Browse the web using Safari
Send and receive email messages
Use social networking sites that require an Internet connection, like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Play games that use a live Internet connection
Anything else that requires an Internet connection
Every iPhone comes with Wi-Fi capability built in, so let’s take a look at getting
connected to the Wi-Fi network. Things to consider about Wi-Fi connections are the
No additional cost for network access and data downloads (if you are using your iPhone in your home, office, or a free Wi-Fi hotspot)
Wi-Fi tends to be faster than a cellular data 3G connection.
More and more places, including some airplanes, provide Wi-Fi access, but you may have to pay a one-time or monthly service fee.
NOTE: iPhone 4 now adds support for the faster, longer range 802.11n standard. However, it only supports 802.11n on the more crowded 2.4Mhz band, not the less crowded 5Mhz band. If you want to use iPhone 4 with your 802.11n Wi-Fi router, make sure to set the router to 2.4Mhz.
Connecting to a Wi-Fi Network
To set up your Wi-Fi connection, follow
1. Tap the Settings icon.
2. Tap Wi-Fi near the top.
3. Make sure the Wi-Fi switch is set to On. If it is currently Off, then tap it to turn it On.
4. Once Wi-Fi is On, the iPhone will automatically start looking for wireless networks.
5. The list of accessible networks is shown below the Choose a Network... option. You can see in this screenshot that we have one network available.
6. To connect to any network listed, just touch the network name. If the network is unsecure (does not have a lock icon), you will be connected automatically.
Connecting at a Public Wi-Fi Hotspot with Web Login
In some locations where they offer free Wi-Fi networks, such as coffee shops, hotels, or
restaurants, you will see a pop-up window appear as soon as your iPhone comes into
contact with the network. In these cases, simply tap the network name. You may be
brought to a Safari browser screen to complete your login to the network.
1. If you see a pop-up window similar to the one shown, tap the network
name you wish to join. In this case, we tap the Panera network.
2. In some cases, you may see a Safari window pop up, which can
be quite confusing because it is so small on your iPhone screen. You
need to use the double-tap or pinch-open gesture (see the Quick
Start Guide for help) to zoom in on the web page. You are looking for a
button that says Login or Agree or something similar. Tap that button
to complete the connection.
NOTE: Some places, like coffee shops, use a web-based login instead of a username/password
screen. In those cases, when you click on the network (or try to use Safari), iPhone will open a
browser screen and you’ll see the web page along with login options.
Secure Wi-Fi Networks—Entering a Password
Some Wi-Fi networks require a password to connect. This is set when the networkadministrator creates the wireless network. You will have to know the exact password, including
whether it is case-sensitive.
If the network does require a password, you will be taken to the password-entry screen. Type the
password exactly as given to you and press the enter key on the on-screen keyboard (which is now labeled as Join).
On the network screen, you’ll see a checkmark showing that you are connected to the network.
TIP: You can paste into the password dialog, so for longer, random passwords, you can transfer
them to your iPhone (in an email message) and just copy and paste them. Just remember to
delete the email immediately afterwards to keep things secure. Tap and hold the password in the
mail message, select it, and then tap Copy. In the Wi-Fi network Password field, tap and then
Switching to a Different Wi-Fi Network
At times you may want to change your active Wi-Fi network. This might occur if you are
in a hotel, apartment, or other place where the network selected by the iPhone is not the
strongest network, or you want to use a secure network instead of an unsecure one.
To switch from the currently selected Wi-Fi network, tap the Settings icon, touch Wi-Fi,
and then touch the name of the Wi-Fi network you want to join. If that network requires a
password, you’ll need to enter it to join.
Once you type the correct password (or if you touched an open network), your iPhone
will join that network.
Verifying Your Wi-Fi Connection
It is easy to see if you are connected to a network
(and which one) by looking next to Wi-Fi in your main
1. Tap your Settings icon.
2. Look next to Wi-Fi at the top.
If you see Not Connected, you do not have an active Wi-Fi connection.
If you see some other name, such as Panera, then you are connected
to that Wi-Fi network.
Advanced Wi-Fi Options (Hidden or Undiscoverable Networks)
Sometimes you may not be able to see the network you want to join because the name
has been hidden (not broadcasted) by the network administrator. Next, you will learn
how to join such networks on your iPhone. Once you have joined such a network, the
next time you come in contact with that network it will join automatically without asking.
You can also tell your iPhone to ask every time it joins a network; we show you how to
do that as well. Sometimes you may want to erase or forget a network. Say you were at
a one-time convention and want to get rid of the associated network—you’ll learn that
Why Can’t I See the Wi-Fi Network I Want to Join?
Sometimes, for security reasons, people don’t make their networks discoverable and
you have to manually enter the name and security options to connect.
Touch the Other button, and you can manually enter the name of a network you would like to join.
Type in the Wi-Fi network Name, touch the Security tab, and choose which type of
security is being used on that network. If you are unsure, you’ll need to find out from the
When you have the information you need, enter it along with the proper password and
this new network will be saved to your network list for future access.
Reconnecting to Previously Joined Wi-Fi Networks
The nice thing about the iPhone is that when you return to an area with a Wi-Fi network
you previously joined (whether it was an open or a secure, password-protected,
network) your iPhone will automatically join the network without asking you again.
However, you can turn off this automatic-joining feature, as described next.
Ask to Join Networks Main Switch
There is a main Ask to Join Networks switch, which is set to On by default. Known
networks are joined automatically, this only takes effect if no known networks are
available. With this switch set to On, you will be asked to join visible Wi-Fi networks. If
networks are available that are not known to you, you will be asked before being
If the switch is set to Off, you will have to manually join unknown networks.
Why might you want to turn off automatically joining a network?
This could be a good security measure if, for example, you don’t want your kids to be able to join
a wireless network on the iPhone without your knowledge.
Ask to Join and Ask to Login Switch on Each Network
Sometimes, you may find that a particular Wi-Fi network has additional switches that
override the main Ask to Join Networks switch. Tap the little blue arrow next
to the network name to see details about this Wi-Fi network. Auto-Join and Auto-
Login are set to On by default. To disable Auto-Join or Auto-Login, tap
each switch to set it to Off.
Forget (or Erase) a Network
If you find that you no longer want to connect to
a network on your list, you can Forget it—i.e.,take it off your list of networks.
1. Tap the Settings icon.
2. Tap Wi-Fi to see your list of networks.
3. Tap the small blue arrow next to the network you want to
forget in order to see the screen shown here.
4. Tap Forget this Network at the top of the screen.
5. You will be prompted with a warning. Just touch
Forget and the network will no longer show up on