How To: Tether your Laptop with an iPhone and PdaNet

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PdaNet has been hailed as the best reason to Jailbreak your iPhone. Why? Because it sets your iPhone up as a WiFi router that you can easily connect to with your laptop. This setup is ideal for a lot of users for a few reason:

  1. It's dead-simple to set up, as it doesn't require any weird software or modem configuration on your laptop
  2. Since the iPhone becomes a simple WiFi router, there are no blocked ports. Unlike NetShare, PdaNet is not a 'SOCKS proxy,' so you can use any internet protocol (like iChat or AIM) and not have to worry about whether or not it will work.
  3. Although you'd take a big old hit on speed, you could theoretically share your internet connection with several computers.

There is one major caveat you need to be aware of with PdaNet, however. The Terms of Service on the standard AT&T iPhone contract and also on their standard Data Plans do not allow you to tether. Most people simply ignore this and go ahead and tether anyway -- being careful not to overdo it to prevent AT&T from hitting them with extra fees or even a cancellation. If that doesn't worry you, read on for a full how to on getting PdaNet setup to tether to your Laptop!

Step One: JailBreak your iPhone

This might be the most intimidating part of the entire process, but fret not. Jeremy has supplied us with easy-to-follow instructions that will guide you through the entire process. During this process, pay attention to the 'Customize your firmware" section -- you'll want to make sure you check "Add Cydia" to your firmware, as that's where PdaNet lives.

  1. How to Jailbreak an iPhone 3G with a Mac
  2. How to Jailbreak an iPhone 3G with a Windows PC
  3. How to Jailbreak a 1st Generation iPhone with a Windows PC

After you've jailbroken your iPhone, you might consider a quick detour to the Top 5 Must-Have Jailbreak Apps to celebrate your newly Jailbroken iPhone.

Step Two: Set Up Cydia

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Once your iPhone is Jailbroken, you're going to want to install PdaNet. The place you install from is Cydia, which is an application that connects you to tons of jailbroken applications, much like the more-familiar installer.app. However, it's very likely that Cydia isn't going to be up-to-date yet when you first start it up, so we'll need to get that going.

First, start up Cydia and you can go ahead and go through the introductory screens. It will ask you to make some "Essential Upgrades" and you should do that right away. It may also ask you to choose what sort of interface you want, I chose the most basic interface and suggest you do the same.

When the app is finally done with its first-run update stuff, you're going to want to hit the "Changes" tab at the bottom:

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Go ahead and hit the "Upgrade" button in the upper-right of your screen to install everything there. The reason you're doing this is because PdaNet is hosted by ModMyi.com and you won't be able to download it until that repository is updated. The short version: go ahead and do those updates. :)

Step Three: Install PdaNet!

Now that you have Cydia updated, you're ready to use it to install PdaNet. Go head and tap the Search tab on the lower-right. In the search bar at the top, simply tap in "pdanet" (or just "pda") to autofilter the list of all apps down to the one we want: PdaNet. Then tap PdaNet in the list.

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You'll see an info screen for PdaNet. Tap the "Install" button in the upper right, then the "confirm" button in the upper right on the next screen, then watch the magic install happen:

Congratulations! You've installed PdaNet!

Step Four: Set up an AdHoc WiFi Network

Although PdaNet is a full-on WiFi router, it doesn't actually set up a WiFi network that your computer can just join. Instead, what you'll need to do is set up an "Ad Hoc WiFi Network" on your computer and then join that network on your iPhone. What this essentially does is tell your computer to create a WiFi Network and allow computers on that network to share internet connections. Your iPhone will then become one of those 'computers' and your laptop will be able to use its network.

This seems a little intimidating, but in truth it's very simple. The good news is you should only have to do the hard stuff the first time. The second time you want to tether you can just switch to that Ad Hoc network and turn on PdaNet!

One quick note: the PdaNet application has a convenient question mark button on the lower left which is a link to this How To at June Fabrics' (the maker of PdaNet) website. If you're setting up a new computer and don't have access to this guide, that'll do the trick.

Ok, another quick note: for those who are very security conscious, we should note that the network you're going to set up will only be able to use WEP encryption for security. WEP encryption is kind of like a door made of paper: it will prevent the casual passerby from entering, but it won't stop anybody with even a little bit of determination. If you're concerned that a hacker could be within WiFi range or are otherwise security sensitive, PdaNet is probably not the tethering option for you.

How to set up an Ad Hoc WiFi Network on a PC

First, open up your Control Panel and then "Network Connections"

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Now, you need to right-click on your "Wireless Network Connection" and then you'll select "Properties" in the dropdown.

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Now that you're looking at the properties of your Wireless Connection, you need to switch to the "Wireless Networks" tab.

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On this window, there's an "Add" button there underneath "Preferred networks." Go ahead an click that. You're about to create your first Ad Hoc WiFi Network!

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The window that appears after you click "Add" is where you're going to enter all the info for your Ad Hoc Network. Give it a name like "PdaTether". Set your "Network Authentication" to "Open" and your "Data Encryption" to "WEP." Then set a "Network Key" to something easy to remember, but not too easy. This is the password for your Ad Hoc Network. We very strongly recommend you set a password, otherwise anybody in the area will not only have access to your internet connection, but also network access to your computer. Not Good.

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Next, be sure to click "This is a computer-to-computer (ad hoc) network; wireless access points are not used." Once you've done that, click OK. Congratulations, you have set up your Ad Hoc WiFi Network. Jump down to Step Five.

How to Set Up an Ad Hoc WiFi Network on a Mac

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Try not to get too cocky about this, Mac-people, but your instructions are a bit easier than for the PC folks.

Step one, click on the Airport icon in the upper right of your screen and select "Add New network." On the window that pops up, you simply need to enter a network name, leave the channel on automatic, and then click the box next to "Require Password."

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As the instructions on the window indicate, you should only enter a 5-letter password; we recommend a mix of letters and numbers. As mentioned in the Windows section, we very strongly recommend you set a password, otherwise anybody in the area will not only have access to your internet connection, but also network access to your computer. Not Good. Click OK and then, boom, you have created an Ad Hoc WiFi network!

Step Five: Connect your iPhone to Your Ad Hoc WiFi Network

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Now grab your iPhone and head into Settings, Tap Wi-Fi, and then select your new network. Enter your password and smile a bit: you're almost done!

Step Six: Open PdaNet

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Now hit the home button and open up PdaNet --iIt will check to make sure that your WiFi connection is the right kind, and then once it is, pow, it will "Just Work." You can tell because PdaNet will switch over to the following screen, which lists connected computers and data transferred.

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At this point, we're going to go ahead and recommend you plug your iPhone in to keep it charged, as you're really going to be sucking down the battery. As mentioned at the top of the article, be careful you don't use too much data or you might sent up a red flag at AT&T.

PdaNet does have a feature that allows you to exit out of it to check another app, but beware that it may shut down if you don't head back to it fairly quickly. I haven't tried it yet, but I suspect that Backgrounder might allow PdaNet to operate in the background indefinitely.

Step Seven: Turn off PdaNet and Celebrate!

When you're done, just hit the toggle switch at the bottom of PdaNet and then head back to your computer and switch your network back to what you normally use. Huzzah -- you're now a mobile master!

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Dieter Bohn

Dieter Bohn is former editor-in-chief of Smartphone Experts, writing across iMore, Windows Phone Central, Android Central, and more. You can find him on Twitter (and everywhere else) @backlon.

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Reader comments

How To: Tether your Laptop with an iPhone and PdaNet

91 Comments

Thanks Daniel -- we try not to ONLY do stuff that's just the newest newsy news, but also have some helpful how-to stuff for people who might not be as technically savvy from time to time -- it's a new focus we're excited about and you can tell because we've removed the "blog" link from our top menu (it just duplicated clicking on the logo anyway) and replaced it with a new Help & How To Link.
Cheers!

While I agree that PdaNet isn't new, I like that someone too the time to actually write this up and share it with the community. This isn't rocket science, but nor is it commonsense either.

I would like to thank you for the guide. I have heard about pdaNet but it is really nice to see the step-by-step process and I truly appreciate that. Thanks a lot guys.

Christopher Vitek, I don't think any application can help you out with your specific needs ;-) If you do find a way, then I would like a free Apple MacBook Pro (the new ones with the glass screen)!!!

Help... I have PDANet installed and have created an adhoc network, but the network keeps dropping out and going into "On Demand" mode within seconds of connecting. I have a macbook pro running XP and a Acer Aspire One with XP, both do the same. They both have an Atheros chipset though, any ideas? I've even gone to effort of putting an Atheros config utility and still no go...

This app works great and your detailed instructions were amazing. Using this with 3G is actually faster than my Verizon Wireless usb modem. Quick question, when would AT&T start noticing that you're using more than a normal user should? Thanks again!

Is there any way to tether a laptop with an iphone without creation a wifi ad hoc network, for example using a usb cable? My network policies prevent the creation of ad hoc networks.
Thanks!

hey there. I've created an ad-hoc network on an Acer AspireOne (windows XP, and ONLY cause I'm about to travel and didn't want to invest in a macbookPro to possibly have it stolen en route! hehe)... anyway the iPhone connects to the ad-hoc network seemingly perfectly, and pdaNet seems to be working fine. But within seconds of my pc joining the network it drops off it again. This happens when I leave pdaNet open, and when I haven't received any calls or smses. Can anyone help with this? Thanks, Jason.

Great!! Worked perfectly and smoothly without any problem. I would just add to the instructions after step number 4 that you need to connect your computer/laptop to the peer to peer network you just created and then you need to join that network from your iphone.
thanks a lot

Is it possible to setup a broadcasting wifi network on an iphone, such that other devices as a laptop can simply connect to it in the same way as to usual wifi access points? No prior ad hoc networks.

is it possible to open IN ports in pdanet and redirect them to the connected laptop ip? Emule reasons...

Thanks for this great info. It all worked perfectly. except connecting to the ad hoc network. I can set up the ad hoc per your instructions but, then I can't see it or manually connect to it from my iphone. Any ideas?

I'm having the same issue as Jason on post #13. Connects then drops after a few seconds.....!
Help

Thanks a lot guys. Just purchased the IPhone and thought I would have switch my sim back and forth for a while.
Worked perfectly!

Hello, any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I have been banging my head against the wall trying to trouble shoot my process to connect PDAnet from my windows XP PC.
I get all the way to the end of step four. When I attempt to click “This is a computer-to-computer (ad hoc) network; wireless access points are not used.” The option is grayed out and unclickable.
I have been told that this my be the same port my computer is connecting to it's router with, and that I need to tell it to forget the router. If this is so how do I do this? Has anyone else ran into this problem?
Thanks,
Tuna Oddfellow

this instructions are awesome. The only one thing was is that I had to find instructions on setting up ad-hoc on Vista. the rest is great. Thank you.

I am running 1.x firmware on my iphone and can't seem to find PDAnet on Cydia. I looked under "Modmyi" and it just is not there. Is there a conection between the firmware I am running and the non-availability of PDAnet? The Cydia page on my iphone says that IphoneOS1.x is no longer supported by cydia. It says to upgrade with PwnageTool. Will this solve my problem?
Thanks in advance for your response.

I am running firmware 2.1 and my iPhone cannot find PDANet in Cydia. I did the updates for ModMyi.com, adv-cmd, inetutils, and iSpazio. The first and last indicated issues in updating and I cant find how to do them over to see if PDANet becomes available. What should I do? I used PwnageTool to jailbreak and unlock.

"Sounds pretty nice. Would I be able to play WoW through a 3G connection?"
I did this on my Blackjack about 9 months ago, and then my HTC Kaiser 4 months or so ago.
WOrked with USB, worked with Bluetooth, and worked with WMWifiRouter.
Pings were 150-200, so don't expect hardcore arena, but if signal strength is 3 bars+, definitely playable

I successfully used PDANet with my iPhone, but have some questions:
1) How would I get a second laptop on the same connection to share it with the first laptop that created the adhoc network? I tried connecting the second laptop to the adhoc network and got an error about an IP address being in use.
2) Or, is there a way I can share the iphone's internet to two computers through a router (such as linksys,etc) either with stock firmware or third party firmware such as DD-WRT?
3) Is there any way the iPhone itself could truly act like a router, broadcasting a wifi network signal for laptops to join instead of the adhoc network?
Thanks

It works great but I can do the same thing for much less then $30.00. I got the "trial over" screen this morning. Luckily I have 2 or 3 other options on my iPhone to tether. Time to try some of the others. I would probably pay $10.00 like Netshare but I also have the free iPhone Modem software.

Everything worked Great. What can i do to make sure i dont receive an outrageous bill from at&t? Anyone?

Can anyone comment on my questions in post #28?
jwlussow, are any of your other solutions as good as PDANet? Other solutions seem to lose about 1/3 the speed of an EDGE connection, but PDANet keeps the full speed of the phone's connection. (I am on iPhone 2G.)

thank you a bunch, ive been tryin' all kinds of crap to get my iphone tethered. this is by far the easiest method.

superb , well explained and well presented
Regards to your team,
Sir I am facing some weak signal problem I m using 2 g iPhone 2.1 jailbroken , is their any software or any other remidy, please help

I can't get mine connected with Aspire One Net book, does anyone have a netbook that it actually work with it's wireless lan card? I do all the steps, just can't get the aspire one to conenct, it drops out after a few seconds.

For some reason when I try to create an ad hoc, it connects but it say local access only and the laptop witl not connect online.

Anyone else getting the error "please make sure you iphone has good data service first then launch pdanet again"?
It's not connecting back to 3G for me...

PDAnet is outstanding... Can use the iPhone for games etc etc...However version revisoons state that PDAnet supports VPN connections .... not so unless im doing something wrong... I use a work laptop and we use Cisco VPN .. it will not connect --- erroro 412 the remote host has timed out.. plug in a normal modem and bang connects first time.... anyone else got this issue ?? Is it a trial limitation ?
thanks

I am using windows XP, I cannot create an ad hoc. The illustrated "wireless networks tab" does not exist. I am using a wireless router. I have tried all the backdoors but cannot find an entry. I did look for any way to "add a network." I even searched the microsoft web site and my computer data base w/o success. Any suggestions?

Wow, this is leagues faster than my old Verizon wireless card. Only problem is that my battery life went down about 10 points (I use BossPrefs to display my numerical battery life) in the time span of about five minutes. Hope they (PdaNet or Apple) can patch this up soon.
Fred,
In all likelihood, your computer is using a third party software provider to manage your wireless card. Try disabling that software, and the tab should appear. For example, I'm using the Dell Wireless WLAN Card Utility, and there's a checkbox for "Let this tool manage your wireless networks." When I uncheck it, the "Wireless Networks" tab appears.
TawnyFan,
Upgrade your firmware to 2.2, then jailbreak using either QuickPwn or PwnageTool, install Cydia, and you should see PdaNet.
Telemarkski3,
Enter the network key you set up when you created the ad-hoc network.

I have connected to both my laptop and iphone. But pdanet keeps saying go to settings and comnect to ad hoc but i have already connected

Grant8010,
Try turning off the PdaNet router, then restart PdaNet and turn on the router. The same thing happened to me.

Hi, pdanet is of great help, one thing though, I can't connect to yahoo messenger and when I go to yahoo website I can't sign in, please help....Thank you !!!

In addition to my comment and inquiry, I was talking about my laptop not being able to connect to yahoo. Thanks again !!

ok, this is going to be a bit lengthy...not an IT guy by any means, hwvr, this process is so simple that I'm sure I'm going about it correctly,but... I have Win Vista; a newly jb iphone 3G; loaded PdaNet; created the Ad Hoc network, etc. etc. The computer shows the network and has full bars, it always says 'waiting for users to connect', properly selected in my iphone; however, when I open PdaNet it never gets past "PdaNet Router is ready. Please go to WiFi settings and connect to your computer's peer-to-peer (ad hoc) network, then launch PdaNet again." I've, of course, tried this and every other possible scenario I can think of (re-boots, re-loads, etc.) UGGGHHHH, what the hell? Any suggestions are appreciated!

I am not sure if readers will get this far down on the comments, but PdaNet has recently released a desktop app to work with PC. Simply, jailbreak your iPhone, download PdaNet through Cydia, then download the desktop app for your PC and then connect. No "Ad-Hoc network" setup.
What doesn't seem to be mentioned is that PdaNet is free but with limited usage and $29 for the full version.

Created an ad hoc network, named it iphone. (wep) "connect To Network" showing on screen. Says "waiting for users to connect".
Installed PDAnet. Went to settings, Wifi. New iPhone network showing and checked.
So clicked on PDAnet icon from home screen.
From there I get... "PDAnet is turned off" Please turn it on from settings below. I click on settings and see...
"PdaNet Off" but it is checked. With a red X next to it and no way to turn it on.
Have full PAID version.
Been fighting this for six hours now. Fed up. What do I do?
Thank you,
John
OS: Vista Home Premium | SP1
Puter: Toshiba Satellite M305D
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks you,
John

Do not go over 5gb on att unlimited data plan. Or they will bill you for over use. The unlimited data plan is not unlimited.

Can anyone verify that tethering your Iphone per these instructions works with Windows Vista?

Worked great.
I've had the wifi connection drop a bit. You can also run with the USB cable and make it even easier. You still install the app on the iPhone AND install the desktop app found here:
http://www.junefabrics.com/desktop/
Then you don't have to deal with the wifi settings - just go cabled. I'm using it right now.

FYI, it then shows up as a dial up connection in connection manager (XP). You never have to "dial" - just click the phone icon that shows up in the taskbar by the clock

Hello All,
Thank you for the great info about PDAnet. I have a jail broken, unlocked phone serviced with T-mobile. I do not have wifi connections often, however, I do have voicestream.internet2. with T-mobile on the first generation iphone. Forgive me, I am confused-
DO I HAVE TO HAVE A WIFI CONNECTION TO SET PDA UP, or can I just use my voicestream internet connection through t-mobile? Any Information about this would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Brandy

Hi, I was able to log into using pda a week ago and have moved into a new complex and can't get my ad-hoc network to work? any ideas?

And what if it doesn't work...you don't mention that issue! I use a mac..did everything and then get PdaNet failed to establish internet connection on your iphone.????

Excellent article! Got everything i needed and all went smooth on my mac. This is great for avoiding the 9.99-19.99 all day internet usage fees at the hotels or just anytime your internet cuts out in the middle of your poker tournaments (HAPPENS OFTEN!!)

great site, lots of useful information, especially in my country where even the new 3.0 OS specs don't automatically allow for tethering or MMS.ould be great now if someone could give me info on how to get a compatible version of ireal sms, tried the beta version for OS 0.3 but it just keeps crashing.

I get "PDANet failed to establish internet connection on your iPhone" messages constantly. Phone shows all 5 bars of signal and 3G network available (and working fine on the phone itself). What's wrong with this thing?

I read this somewhere else "How can you do PDANet and a VPN at the same time so you can avoid AT&T noticing, make a VPN connection from the iPhone before setting up the tether. They'll still see the amount of traffic, but not the content. For all they know, it could be a network-hungry iPhone application. Youtube anyone?"
Anyone know how I can set up VPN and PDANet on the iphone at the same time?

Has anyone successfully used PDANet on a 3GS that was accidentally upgraded to 3.1 firmware? I tried downgrading, I've looked everywhere, and can't tether anymore! Ack!

Great Tut!!!
Running on 3GS...3.0 fw...definitely have backgrounder so you can use close PDANet and use your phone for other stuffs...Reaaaallllyyy cool!!!
enjoy!!

Is there a program that will allow me to use my "local" internet provider on my PC and connect to the web via my iphone? Besides WiFi of coarse!!
I know Nokia and other cell phone manufacturers have a PC Suite and so does Iphone...
I ask this because i live overseas and don't have to have the AT&T data plan. Anyone have any input on this matter? THANX!!

Our G phones do it very easily and can even tether a whole room full of laptops. tap tap wow mobile for more info.

Dear users who can't connect to an ad hoc network. Please keep in mind that not all ad hoc networks are what you can create. I did my mistake and created a network connection for the first time and wasn-t a ad hoc one
Look under wireless network management.
Best wishes

By the way, I have win 7 ultimate and works like a charm
I know the speed isn't fast enough...but thanks a lot for PDANET cause sometimes i need it for google maps ( i am a truck driver ) and I don't have enough time to connect my verizon usb card. Thanks a lot and keep up the good work ! Best regards for www.theiphoneblog.com

So it installs perfictly and everything and i am trying to use usb on my ipod touch but i keep getting this message
pdanet failed to establish internet connection on your iphone. please make sure your iphone has good data service first than launch pdanet again.
I dont have wifi so im not sure if that will work...
Please help!!!

everytime i try to connect using a USB it just says, “please make sure you iphone has good data service first then launch pdanet again”? WHAT THE HELL?!?!?! some1 plz help!

How often am I allowed to tether before AT&T catches on? I normally use 1-2 GB of data a month on my phone without tethering.
So...what should I do?

Hi..I am a beginner to all of this but will you know how I can add password to an already set up adhoc network? I was juggling with btw my iphone and my mac, and while I dont know I was automatically connected to the pda network but I seem not to know how to add more security to this(I know that I sould have done this better...)or if I connect to vpn, will i add some sec over to this? Thanks so much for your help!

I was wary about jailbreaking my iPhone, but I did it for this. It didn't work. It couldn't even find my ad hoc network. Good thing I made a backup so I can now unjailbreak.

I set up a password on it but it's still showing I hve 12+ connections. How are other
people using this?

I'm just creating a short post to express I liked your article and enjoyed reading it. I've bookmarked your website in order to be notified of new content. Thanks

Thank you for creating this blog and sharing your viewpoint. I enjoy reading it during my lunch break at the office. It is nice to take my thoughts off work even if for only 30 mins. Cheers

I have a question. I used mywi and AT&T called me 3 times saying I needed a tethering plan upgrade. I switched to pdanet and it worked for about 12 days and now doesn't show up on my computer anymore. Can someone help me with this? I just purchased pdanet. J

My brother suggested I might like this blog. He used to be entirely right. This post actually made my day. You cann't believe simply how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

Wow these are just great photos, what an absolutely amazing landscape, i bet there is some good fishing to be had, I would like to visit someday.