The Easiest Ways to Disable Data on your iPhone 3G / 3GS

This is for those poor souls who got served a 200SGD bill from Singtel because they didn’t read my article on the dangers of getting an iPhone without a data plan or read it way too late.

To disable data on your iPhone if you don’t have a data plan, the easiest way is to install bossprefs via Cydia and turn off edge and 3G, if you have a jailbroken iPhone.

For those of you purists who rock original unmodified iPhone software, the best way is to mess up the APN settings.

Under Settings>General>Network>Cellular Data Network>Advanced, change the settings from this;

APN: e-ideas

to something like this;

APN: xxxxxx
Password: zzzzzzzzz

Remember, it is not enough if you just turn off the 3G in the settings. All it does when you turn off the 3G is to revert to Edge/GRPS in order to save battery power.

Edit: Ever since iPhone 3.0 came out, many iPhone users, particularly Starhub ones, have complaint that changing the APN settings no longer stop the 3G/GRPS data from working. The only way is to call up Starhub, and tell them that you want to cancel your GPRS service with immediate effect.

  • ame

    Does the iPhone 2G 1st generation Firmware 2 needs to be jailbreak to be used by SingTel/Starhub/M1 sim cards?

  • Kelly

    Hi. Interesting article you have here. I was wondering if this still occurs if I am using Starhub instead of SingTel for my iPhone.

  • ryuworks

    Yes it does occur for all telcos

  • ryuworks

    Yup, pretty much

  • jess

    May I know after messing up the APN setting how to revert back when i need to use edge?

  • ryuworks

    Change the settings back to the below:

    APN: e-ideas

  • jerry Lek

    hi, when i messed up the apn setting, i still can go to the internet
    i'm using starhub, by the way'
    my APN setting are something like what you described,, but the data usage under the settings>General>Usage shows that i have sent 18 kb and received 296 kb
    an it was the first time i accessed the net using my sim card.
    did i miss anything?

  • ryuworks

    Did you turn off your wifi? If messing up the settings does not help, I think the only way then is to jailbreak your phone and instead bossprefs to turn off edge and 3G

  • Simon

    Hello I would just love to ask.. If I mess up the APN, can I still use WIFI? Like if my WIFI is free, how do I freely use it on my Iphone?

    Say, my home WIFI… What settings do I do on my Iphone so that I can use my Singnet Broadband Wireless Internet at home? Thank you.

  • ryuworks

    You can use the wifi if u mess up the APN settings. As for the wifi settings, you have to consult your router manufacturer/documentation.

    It's all standard router settings.

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  • satheesan

    Great man!!
    Thakyou so much …
    I just got my Iphone, got a bill from singtel 87S$ for 6days data usage…
    I went to singtel shop and asked how u cannect me GPRS since I have asked to disconnect GPRS one year before.and same was disconnected .They says when I got I phone it turns on automaitcally.
    I cant understand that how singtel can turn ON automatically without consumer consent.
    Any way first step I havedone is switchOFF GPRS at singtel end and change the setting as u mentioned ……

    This 87 is nothing,…some of my friends got 800s$
    Pity thing is sigtel is not all seeing consuemer point of view , they should alert the consumer and make them understand .They casually making bucks!!!!!!

  • chotto

    A BIG Thank You!
    I'm one of those unlucky souls who received a S$200 bill from SingTel and got a shock of my life! I kept telling my friends that iPhone 3GS is flawless but doesn't seem so now…

  • ryuworks

    Call them to complain and complain and complain and insist you didn't do anything. Usually they might waive off part of your bill as a “gesture of goodwill”. Just be nasty to them.

  • Thomas

    Hey what if I change the APN so that it can't get online via 3G, and then disable 3G in the settings as well? It still won't be able to get on EDGE, and it'll also help with maximising the battery life, am I right?

  • andrew3294

    Hi, so am I right to say that by doing this, (turing off data), I can use iPhone's apps without having to pay for data? OR will the data not run at all?


  • Name

    since os3.0, leaving the username and password blank will drain the battery very fast. So is there any other solution ?

  • Hi ryuworks, if I had change the settings of APN, am I still need to turn ff the 3GS?

    Do you mind to tell me what exactly 3GS ( it only indicate load faster)

  • I seriously don't think that has anything to do with the battery drain. LOL.

    Just call your provider and ask them to cancel GPRS

  • Of course the data won't run. Apps requiring internet connection might not work.

  • Technically speaking yes. But wifi takes up power as well.

  • 3GS is the model of the iPhone that was released June 2009.

    Turning off 3G is a setting in the iPhone settings.

    Changing the APN might or might not work depending on your provider. For best results call your provider and ask them to cancel any GPRS service if you have any.

  • Thanks man, just what I was looking for. Thanks so much…

  • sb

    So if I do the following, my iPhone 3GS will run on wifi alone and not incur data charges:

    1) Turn off 3G
    2) Screw up the APN by adding a letter or numbers to the Cellular Data of APN, username and Password.
    3) Call Singtel to remove GPRS and Broadband on Mobile plans


  • Jane Doe1

    not really, if you're on Starhub, YOU MUST EXPLICIT CALL IN TO DISABLE THE GPRS service!

  • kenl78

    if you talking about stopping data, try something call sbsettings install that you can disable your data and the data ip address will become local loopback… it works but you need to remember to disable data each time you turn off or reboot your iphone

  • Peottack

    When i mess up my cellular data, at messaging it will pop out a message saying that i didn’t subscribe to cellular data, and is kinda annoying , it pops out a lot. any suggestions?

  • Meow

    Subscribers cannot access to MMS if they were to cancel GPRS.


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