How to Change APN Settings on Your Mobile Device

View or change the APN carrier settings for iPhone, iPad, or Android

APN Settings on Android
APN Settings on Android. Melanie Pinola

The Access Point Name is the network or carrier your cellphone or tablet uses for internet access. Usually, you don't have to touch the APN setting because it's configured for you automatically. There are times, however, where you'll want to visit the APN settings screen on your device: For troubleshooting, for example, when you can't get a data connection after switching to a new network, to avoid data charges on a prepaid call phone plan, to avoid data roaming charges, or to use a different carrier's SIM card on an unlocked phone.

Here's where to change the APN settings (or at least view them) on your Android, iPhone, or iPad. 

Note that changing the APN can mess up your data connectivity, so be careful when editing it. Make sure you write down the APN settings before changing it, just in case. Mangling the APN actually is a strategy for blocking apps from using data, though.

For troubleshooting on iOS devices, tap Reset Settings to get back to the default APN information if for some reason you mess up the APN settings.

iPhone and iPad APN Settings

If your carrier allows you to view the APN settings—and not all of them do—you can find it on your device under these menus, according to Apple's support document:

  • iPhone: Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Cellular Network
  • iPad with cellular: Settings > Cellular Data > APN Settings

If your carrier does not allow you to change your APN on your iPhone or iPad, you might try a service or site like Unlockit on the iPhone or iPad and follow the instructions.

The site was developed so you could use unofficial SIM cards from other carriers on your Apple device.

Android APN Settings

Android smartphones also have APN settings. To locate the APN setting on your Android device:

  • Go to Settings >  Mobile Networks > Access Point Names

Android and iOS APN Settings

Another resource for both iOS and Android devices is the APNchangeR project, where you can find cellular carrier settings or prepaid data info by country and operator.

Different APNs may represent differently priced plans with your carrier. If you want to make a change in your plan, contact your carrier instead of trying to change the APN yourself. You may end up with a higher-than-expected bill or a smartphone that won't make calls at all.