How can I be certain my iPhone doesn't send or receive data except phone, text and Wi-Fi?
August 19, 2009 10:01 AM   Subscribe

How can I make sure my iPhone 3G doesn't transfer *any* internet data while retaining phone, texting and Wi-Fi capability?

I'm getting an unlimited (3G) data plan next month but until then I'm stuck with my current plan which only supports GPRS data-wise, at a hefty per-MB rate.

Right now I have SBSettings (jailbreak) installed, which allows you to disable 3G and EDGE manually. I did that; will that be enough?

GPRS is 2G I believe so I 'm a little confused about the terminology maybe. I would like to just use the Wi-Fi at home until I get my unlimited data plan, and make calls and send SMS of course.

I'm in the Netherlands if it matters.

Thanks in advance, guys!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane to Technology (12 answers total)
There is a setting to turn off 3G:

Settings --> General --> Network --> Enable 3G = OFF
posted by urbanlenny at 10:15 AM on August 19, 2009

Sorry, read later about the jailbroken bit; the way I describe is a native iPhone fuctionality and if you can get to it will stop all 3G use, if you can still use that aspect of settings with a jailbroken phone.
posted by urbanlenny at 10:16 AM on August 19, 2009

Yeah I turned that off, thanks, but GPRS is 2G, so I don't know whether that setting covers that.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:24 AM on August 19, 2009

Turning off 3G will still roam on edge networks, turn off Data Roaming.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:28 AM on August 19, 2009

Right, so I've got 3G and Data Roaming turned off in the iPhone ("native") settings; 3G and EDGE turned off in SBSettings, and FWIW I have no APN data set (the fields are all blank).

Now, I indeed cannot load a web page (when I'm out of reach of Wi-Fi or when I turn the Wi-Fi off). But, the little circle icon still appears, and according to the iPhone 3G user guide:

"You can tell iPhone is connected to the Internet via the cellular data network if you see the [...] GPRS icon [the little circle] in the status bar at the top of the screen".

So I suppose it's a matter of semantics and the above should indicate that the iPhone has GPRS available, even if it is not currently in use, right? It's certainly ambiguous.

And, on the other hand, I *did* receive a push notification from the AP iPhone app while I was away from Wi-Fi, which was kind of how this question came about. How did the notification reach me? As a text message? And will I be charged for it as GPRS data under my current plan?

Thanks so far guys, but I'm still not entirely appeased.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:46 AM on August 19, 2009

Can you call your provider and have them disable internet access for your account on their end?
posted by reptile at 10:53 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

According to this:

The GPRS icon indicates the ability to connect to GPRS, not necessarily the use.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:29 AM on August 19, 2009

I don't know about SBSettings, but i installed BossPrefs instead, and I can verify that the phone uses no data when both 3G and Edge are turned off in the preferences. I spent several months in France on a pay-as-you-go plan with somewhat expensive data rates, so I had to be very careful to turn it off when not needed.

In any case, to verify that no data is being used, make sure to reset your usage indicator immediately after turning data off, and check it from time to time to make sure it stays at zero kb.
posted by helios at 1:15 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I asked my provider to block all data usage on my iphone. I get an "E" next to the carrier name when I'm not connected to wifi.

Also, a way to check the data usage is to go to: Settings - General - Usage. You should see "Cellular Network Data" and the number of bytes. Check to see that it doesn't change.
posted by kamelhoecker at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd imagine turning it off in SBSettings will be enough, my logic being that SBSettings is so darned useful that there would be an option for it if it wasn't.

(SBSettings is the successor to BossPrefs, apparently, so also what helios said.)
posted by neckro23 at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2009

Just to be sure, I entered a fake APN and disabled Location Services and push notifications, which I've heard can use small amounts of data, or at least count towards the Cellular Network Data tally.

I suppose I'll be fine this way. I've also asked my provider to block the data usage. Come September 8, it will be ALL ONLINE, ALL THE TIME ©. Remind me to get one of those auxiliary batteries ;)

Thanks guys.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:11 PM on August 19, 2009

@kamelhoecker: An E means you're connected to EDGE which is slightly faster than GPRS but not as fast as 3G. In other words, you have a data connection.

Best solution for a locked iPhone would be to turn off the applicable options in settings and then set the APN's to something else so it can never connect.
posted by mr_silver at 1:19 AM on August 20, 2009

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