How to Use an iPhone Without the Data Plan

[digg-me]After playing with my kids iTouch’s it became clear to me how much the iTouch is lacking in functionality. Before buying one I considered it just an iPhone without the ability to make calls. The lack of camera was the biggest surprise, because I can’t figure out why they left it out. The GPS and Camera would have been really nice to have even if I can’t use it as a phone.

So would it still be better to buy an iPhone and use it just like an iTouch but with camera and GPS?  I found a thread on one of the iPhone forums where a guy, who was going to college and couldn’t afford the $30.00 a month data plan, but wanted an iPhone anyway.  He was on campus where they had a robust wifi connection all of the time and didn’t really need the data plan. He already had an AT&T cell phone (a Razor), and just wanted to get a used iPhone and put his SIM card into it.

After giving the guy a hard time, a good samaritan responded with a way to do just that.  He pointed out a cool service offered by unlockit.  It is an APN Changer for 3G iPhones.  It lets you turn off the Edge and 3G data service on your iPhone.  This lets you use an AT&T SIM card with your iPhone but lets you use it without adding the iPhone data plan.

To use this service do the following:

  1. Put the AT&T Sim card in the already activated iPhone.
  2. Make a wifi connection to a local wifi source.
  3. Navigate to this page.  Click “Continue To The Next Page”.
  4. Click Disable Data (Fake APN). The Install Profile window appears.
  5. Click Install. Another Install Profile window will popup warning you that authenticity of this profile cannot be verified.  Click Install on this window too.
  6. You should now see a message stating “Could not activate Cellular Data Network; You are not subscribed to a cellular data service.

You should now be able to make phone calls and be able to use wifi to access the internet.  When you aren’t connected, you should get an error.

To remove the 3G/Edge block, simply go to your Network settings and removed the Fake APN profile.

This thread pointed out a really cool service.