iPhone 3.0: Tethering Enabled

Apple's Senior VP for iPhone Software, Scott Forstall, said that Apple had already built Tethering into the iPhone software, shuffling the burden of "where the heck is it then?" neatly into the hands of the still-waffling carriers.

Well, according to MacRumors, an enterprising developer has gone and shown us that Forstall wasn't just spinning tales. Tethering (where your laptop connects to the internet via a USB or Bluetooth connection to your iPhone) really is already built in there.

Of course, with the way the iPhone brought down AT&T's network at SXSW last weekend, the thought of millions upon millions of iPhone users burning even more data must have AT&T execs quivering in their boots... Will they actually improve capacity before allowing it on their end, and how much of that will be pushed down to the user via Tethering "plan" increases?

Would you rather have cheap but unreliable Tethering, or would you pay more for rock solid service? Or do you just want all these heavy duty data users to get off your 3G lawn?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone 3.0: Tethering Enabled


this cannot end well at&t can't handle this at all and i'm sure it will be super expensive i was happy about 3.0 but i'm starting to think its just a way to make more money from us.

@kyleshankles - its baked into 3.0, it will be up to carrier's to say "turn it on". ATT is constantly exanding capacity - I wouldn't expect it to be turned on tomorrow, but they know where there bread is buttered.

So far, Apple hasn't really been all that kind to customizing the OS per-carrier, have they?
If it's already there, then can AT&T really force them to remove it? And would Apple listen?

It's still going to be the same data usage. You can't get more data by tethering than you can by simply using the Internet on your iPhone. I don't understand what the fuss is all about.

@Steve, exactly. You have the greatest mobile internet device in your pocket. Why would you still carry around your laptop?

Well, this could be rather expensive. Data is already at 30 unlimited. I'll Stick to whatever wifi I can tether to whether in my home or Public Access.

Q: Can you tether and talk over 3G ? (I assume you can since you can talk and use data on the phone) just wanted to make sure.

Uploading an 800 MB file of a magazine layout to a printer's server wouldn't be the same data usage as I'm currently using on my iPhone.

The reason Canada allowed 6 gb of data was because the consumers were in strong disagreement. Why give the idea, the notion that we would be willing to pay. Blackberries in Canada don't need to pay for tethering, why should the iPhone be any different? You're simply polling reason for what the consumer may pay. Wrong question.

I choose option 3.. honestly if people are going to be jumping off the Cel phone connections to use their laptops i think they should pay an extra FEE in order to do it.. it's not right everyone just walking around tethering their connections making it WORSE for the actual cel phone users.
I Do think it's good to be able to do this now, im not saying i'm against it, Shoot i may even use it myself.
But i expect to pay a fee to do something like this.

I see there are AT&T/network people posting. . There woulnt be a problem if they'd upgrade their network. Rogers gas a great network. Never had none of that crashing issue. AT&T will be the next robbers if they charge you for tethering. We pay to use the data neways here in Canada.

Well I live in D.C. and Not once, not one single time have i ever had a problem with my connection. I love ATT here.

I'd pay $10 bucks a month if it was reliable and fast. Then I could drop my internet package at home (since I live by myself nobody needs to use the internet when I'm not there).
I would worry about 3G performance if this was allowed, but I think they would only increase business...users go up, more money for infrastructure improvements, faster internet, more users, cycle continues...isnt that how it goes?

Well, I think that with the Rogers network in Canada, which is the most reliable network in Canada as opposed to Verizon in the states, tethering won't cause problems for other users or make the network crash.
For the following reasons, I don't think Rogers will adopt a tethering plan at all. I think they will ignore it and just allow people to do it.
Reason 1: Rogers has a STRONG, fast, reliable network. AT&T's network is pathetic.
Reason 2: When AT&T added extra fees for "enterprise support", Rogers didn't.
Reason 3: Not a lot of people would be tethering anyway so it would be very unlikely that it would make the network sluggish.

Furthermore, sorry for the double-post, but the majority of people who got an iPhone on Rogers got it between July 11th and August 31st, meaning they ALL qualified for the 6GB of data for $30 (which, using only the the iPhone is basically unlimited. I use it ALL THE TIME and I have only managed to use 700mb in one month). 6GB is a sufficient amount of data for most light internet functions. If they added an extra 10GB of data or made the data unlimited I'd be willing to pay an extra $10, maybe $20.

Just wondering?.....
What is the difference between tethering a cell connection to a laptop, versus having a USB "modem" for internet connection?
Outside of the obvious, this discussion seems to be based on the assumption that everyone will do this. Also that AT&T does not have the infrastructure for implementation. Is different equipment used for internet connection for a laptop vs iphone? I don;t thinks so.
So my question is this....
How is AT&T going to be overloaded with tethering the iphone?

With the availability of tethering via the iphone or any phone, there may be a decrease in USB "modems" for laptop connections. Wouldn't this lead to an increase in network bandwidth availablity?

dmdietz: "Another reason TO jailbreak 3.0. PDANet = free, whatever AT&T offers = not free"
Actually, that's a common misconception. It goes into a reduced functionality mode after 15 days and it cost $29 to register. It uses it's own paid registration and not Cydia's. I'm a paid owner and I hope it continues working on OS 3.0.

I was a competitive cheer competition a few weeks ago. I sware every mom had an iPhone. I saw at least 10 people around me surfing the web, talking on facebook, downloading videos on youtube, etc. Everyone was raving at their new device. I didn't hear complaints. My wife loves hers and my daughter is all the rave. Personally, I like my Blackberry, but I'm glad to see them excited.
I have to agree with Adam. I don't see ALL iphone users carrying around their laptops because they can tether. I don't see either my wife or daughter doing it.

I'd guess the issue with tethering is that a significant number of people will abandon their Comcast, or AT&T Uverse, or whatever broadband landline service to save monthly fees and plug into their iphone, piling on a ton more data traffic onto the wireless network. So, that would be why there are often data limits or substantial fees for tethering.

I updated to beta 5 and did not have the Cellular Data option at all in my network settings. I used the first release of 8.2 to update my carrier settings file to a file I had working very well in beta 3. Once I updated the carrier file, all the options were open to me. The only thing now, I get the “can not activate cellular data” which is the error I started receiving about 2-3 days after it was working so well.
I’m thinking it’s a username/password issue but I’m seeing numerous variations that claim to work but none actually do. Any suggestions?

UPDATE for Tethering:
Celluar Data APN is wap.cingular with no username or password. Same as Visual Voicemail.

Does PDA net still work on Iphone 3.0?
Has anyone tested this. Pleas only reply if you have done it. I want to upgrade, but won't until I know it works (i use it daily)
thank you

Ok AT&T sucks they have known about MMS and tethering coming to the iphone in the new 3.0 version and now here we are weeks after the 3.0 version release and we get nethier!!! And it makes absolutly no sense that i should have to pay to tether my internet to my laptop thats throwback lol! But seriously we are already paying outragous fee's for the iphone data plan and now they want to make us pay more for internet tethering thats bull shit!!!!!! Blackberries are a good example they have free internet tethering why tha hell should we have to pay for internet tethering geez its so retarded!!!!!

Wayne Says:
March 18th, 2009 at 2:57 pm
"It’s still going to be the same data usage. You can’t get more data by tethering than you can by simply using the Internet on your iPhone."
This is exactly correct. Tethering WILL NOT place a burden on AT&T's network if every iPhone owner starts using it. Any concerns from AT&T contrary to this are pure FUD just to make nore $ off iPhone users.
If AT&T does charge for tethering, it will be a bogus charge and customers should voice their complaints against this.

This is scary. I went to http://help.benm.at/help.php and just followed the directions. I clicked on the AT&T logo to install the config settings, clicked install and when the pass code screen popped up I entered the passcode I had created for my iPhone. I again followed directions to enable tethering on my iPone = Settings > General > Network > Internet Tethering > On. In less than two minutes I was done. I plugged my iPhone into my PC with the USB connecting cable and my PC immediately recognized the iPhone and connected to the Internet through the iPhone.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OK does anyone really know if AT&T is going to send me a bill now for a zillion $$ for using a little tethering? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't plan to down load movies or massive files but sometimes use my laptop instead of the micro screen on the iPhone. If/when they allow tethering I'll give them the $30 or so they plan to charge per month for the "extra" feature of tethering, but until then I want to use what I just did.

I agree there wouldn't be much more burden on the network. Most iPhone users have it for its multimedia ability, social and entertainment value. They generally are watching videos, pictures, email, texting and listening to music. What frustrates me is that I downgraded to the iPhone from the AT&T 8525 with Windows Mobile 6. I had this HTC phone for 3 years and was very satisfied but decided to try the iPhone out. With the 8525 I had the capability of tethering and with special 3rd party software setup an access point to a mini wifi network using my unlimited data plan with AT&T. Purchased and installed MS Voice Command for total hands free dialing by depressing the button on my bluetooth headset device to initiate the call. All else was voice. This device may not be as good as the iPhone when it comes to music and videos but it had alot of other functionality that I found practical. So given that we already can use tethering with other smartphones and pc mobile devices on some carriers network makes one wonder when the heck is this all going to finally happen with the iPhone!!!!

Hi all!....I don't believe tethering for every1 as downloading takes time and patience. i got it on laptop & desktop. But I also got the 3G stick way before tethering. that actually sucks paying the extra 3 yr agreement! but 1 gig for stick so they (Fido) agreed only $10 2 more gigs now 3. cuz I'm long trusted customer! I love to have 3Gs but have to wait. I also use wifi at cafe experiment speed or for videos if I fear going over but 6 gigs is far beyond my monthly usage! i only have 40 gigs hard drive computer and was sme with laptop until it "died' now got 160 gig luckily for good price.
I'm in canada & it's sleep time now 11PM. Hope some replies! I read & learned lots from most U..thanks..

Hmmm, Tethering is FAST actually surprizingly fast on AT&T's network. The mms.ifind2.com link gives you the latest update and it allows the Visual Voicemail and MMS Text Message work perfectly also. In some cases I heared people used blackra1n also, but otherwise as far as 2010 goes the above site is the only great one for Tethering :)