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How to Enable Hotspot Tethering On iOS 6 (No Jailbreak Required)

Posted by Joe on July 7, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Please note that this is only confirmed for GSM carriers at this time and has only been tested and confirmed to work on T-Mobile. This also no longer works in iOS 7. AT&T customers could also enable this as well but will need to tinker around and test a bit to get it operational, if you aren't able to the first time around. Keep in mind that you can edit the other APNs as well if you prefer different ones to be set rather than the default. CDMA carriers may not be able to do this as CDMA devices handle APNs a bit differently. Also, it is highly recommended that you have an unlimited data plan, or higher teired data plan (above 2GB), for this to be worth anyone's time. You WILL blow through data quickly.

So you want free hotspot on your iPhone or iPad but don't have a jailbroken device, huh? Well, I come with good news for a lot of you today. Many of you may remember a story I put out awhile back talking about how CommCenter blocks edited carrier.plist files and I may have found a work aroun to get things like personal hotspot enabled. Well, I've found the solution, but first, let's talk about why CommCenter blocks plist editing. This happens because of the very thing we're doing right now, which i suspect will likely be patched quickly by iOS 7 GM release time. People were enabling tethering by modifying the original carrier.plist files and this stopped entirely when Apple implemented signatures into the carrier.plist files and creating what we all know as CommCenter which is the process that checks these signatures. So, the challenge was finding a way to enable hotspot without CommCenter checks and verifications. After months of research and digging, I've finally found a genuine workaround to enable this great feature and its quite simple, really. Follow the below instructions to begin the process and enjoy responsibly.

Guide

Step 1: Download a program called iBackupBot.

             Windows

             Mac

Step 2: Open iTunes and create a backup of your device. Take note of the date and time it was created.

Step 3: Minimize iTunes and open iBackupBot. if you get any errors while loading the program, just click cancel, continue, and or ignore.

Step 4: Once the program is open, you should see a list of all of the backups that are beings stored in your iTunes library. Find the most recent one (the one you just created) and click the plus symbol. This will display a few different selections. Example below.

Step 5: Navigate to System Files > SystemPreferencesDomain > SystemConfiguration and right click the file named preferences.plist then click "Open with Built-In Editor" which will display the lines of code we will be working with.

Step 6: Once the file is opened, scroll down till you find the tethering APN associated with your carrier. If you don't know what it is, look for APNs with "type-masks" that are 16 bit or 48 bit. You can also google your carrier's tethering APN. Make sure to to also erase these lines of coding in the tethering APN field: 

<key>signature</key>

<data>

RANDOM LETTERS, SYMBOLS, AND NUMBERS WILL BE HERE

</data>

For CDMA carriers, they may be referred to as DUN APNs. Once you have located the tethering APN, change it to the regular data APN your device uses to access the web. An example of a tethering APN on T-Mobile is provided below. The APN pcweb.tmobile.com would be changed to either fast.t-mobile.com or epc.tmobile.com, depending on your APN preference.

Step 7: Once you have changed the APN, save the altered file and close iBackupBot.

Step 8: Open iTunes again and choose the "Restore From Backup" option while holding the shift key in Windows and the "Option" key in Mac. Select the update that corresponds to the backup you created and modified and click "Restore" once you've found it. The device will boot up and tethering should now be enabled. Enjoy!

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192 Comments

Reply Brent
1:25 AM on May 31, 2014 
So unfortunate, it would have been perfect! The trial version of the program currently allows only the downloading and opening of the file, but not saving the newly altered file. That requires a purchase, which was rather brilliant of them to do.....get right in the middle of a process that looks like it might actually work, and BAM: $ required now!

Anyway, warning to all, this method will not work on your iPhone anymore. Jailbreaking only works if your current version of your iphone software is supported by a Jailbreak. Therefore, go find that jailbreak, or stick with an Android or Windows phone that have tethering options built in without having to pay an extortion fee to your service provider for. My Lumia 1020 still takes 41mp pictures, which I love, and it tethers for free. My iPhone is sitting next to the bed and works great as a really expensive night-light right now.

Joe says...
This method is old and outdated. You also don't have to spend money on the full version of the program. The lite version works just fine. I would encourage you to get a refund and jailbreak your device for free tethering.
Reply Joe
3:41 AM on May 30, 2014 
Brent says...
Read this pretty good set of instructions, paid $35 for the iboot program (they force you to pay for it before it can save files) and then found and deleted the code. However, Restore Backup rewrites the original tethering code back in. Am I supposed to be using the "Restore Backup" feature, or the Restore iPhone feature? Any advice would be appreciated, I'd hate to have spent $35 for nothing. I'll post here if any resolution is found.


This method is old and outdated. You also don't have to spend money on the full version of the program. The lite version works just fine. I would encourage you to get a refund and jailbreak your device for free tethering.
Reply Brent
3:00 AM on May 30, 2014 
Read this pretty good set of instructions, paid $35 for the iboot program (they force you to pay for it before it can save files) and then found and deleted the code. However, Restore Backup rewrites the original tethering code back in. Am I supposed to be using the "Restore Backup" feature, or the Restore iPhone feature? Any advice would be appreciated, I'd hate to have spent $35 for nothing. I'll post here if any resolution is found.
Reply Nick
5:27 PM on April 28, 2014 
Still work for iPhone 3gs iOS 6? the newest version of iOS 6 i believe its iOS 6.1.6
Reply Joe
1:15 AM on April 10, 2014 
Sam says...
Did no work at all.


That's because it was patched a long time ago. You have to jailbreak and install a carrier update hack.
Reply Sam
11:43 PM on April 9, 2014 
Did no work at all.
Reply Annie Kauppila
11:53 AM on April 4, 2014 
Wish I could figure all this out I have the tech. Sooooo frustrating !!!!???!!!
Reply Kris
11:48 PM on March 24, 2014 
I'm on Verizon. Couldn't locate my tethering APN but found a similar code so deleted it as well. Restored, and still get the screen that says "contact verizon" iOS 6.1.4
Reply Fec
11:00 AM on March 18, 2014 
clr says...
I think you might need the paid version of iBackuprobot to save the changes?


Did you get the answer? Thx.
Reply Mark
4:38 PM on March 15, 2014 
Was wondering I hae iPhone 5 IOS 7.1 cant seem to get the tethering to work always directs me to tmobiles hotspot page please help my email is markgresens@gmail.com and txt to cell is 2488028351 please help asap
Reply GeekyNinja247
2:52 PM on March 11, 2014 
What version of iPhone do you have and running which iOS Anders?
Reply Anders
11:53 PM on March 3, 2014 
Just tested this today, on T-Mobile, and it does work. 100% confirmed.
Reply RepairedKarma76
10:36 AM on February 14, 2014 
I have the iPhone 4S with ios7 and sprint, Will this work on my phone?? Iv been trying to find free wifi hotspot tethering forever because I moved somewhere where all I have is satellite internet and it sucks... BAD.
Reply Sr
1:00 AM on January 30, 2014 
So if I'm using iphone 5c verizon it won't use any of my data?
Reply clr
3:27 PM on January 15, 2014 
I think you might need the paid version of iBackuprobot to save the changes?
Reply clr
2:25 PM on January 15, 2014 
I don't have anything ID'ed as a tethering APN. Phone is ATT now provisioned for Consumer Cellular with iphone 4 and ios 5. Any clues would be helpful. I can see 4 APN sections of the preferences. Looks like one for VM, broadband, text and network access.
Reply Cobb county used auto parts
9:47 AM on January 12, 2014 
Doesn't work for ios 7.3. On 5s
Www.ccuaps.com
Reply Derek
4:22 AM on December 20, 2013 
Settings seem to take effect, now the problem in question is why i'm unable to change my APN settings from that of t-mobile to att's network (just like my current data settings via the 'cellular data network' method.)
Reply Jack
3:38 PM on December 16, 2013 
Bored
Reply Mary
1:11 AM on December 16, 2013 
I have a sprint iPhone 4 will it work for me?