Having the right mobile network settings makes a difference. Here’s how to change them if you need to!
Updated March 2017: Up-to-date information and changes.
Unlocked phones and alternative carriers are more popular now than ever before. Most every company makes an unlocked model or two that you can buy directly from their website or a retailer like Amazon with the necessary parts and software to use it on any GSM network around the world. And when you don’t have a phone that’s tied to a carrier through financing you’re free to try other carriers and see who offers what’s best for you.
Shifting things around and trying someone new for phone service is pretty simple and pain-free, but you might need to know how to set the APN on your phone. Let’s take a look at what an APN is and how you go about changing or adding one.
What is an APN?
The Access Point Name (APN) is the name for the settings your phone reads to set up a connection to the gateway between your carrier’s cellular network and the public Internet.
You carrier reads these settings, then does things like determine the correct IP address, connect to the correct secure gateway, and see if you need a private network like a VPN. All the heavy lifting is done on the carrier side, but we need to make sure the right settings are in place to get on the network we need, in the way we need to connect.
An APN has the network settings your phone needs to connect to your provider.
Depending on how your carrier’s network is structured, different settings are mandatory. The rest can be slightly altered to change some of the parameters, but for most of us, we will need to use the exact settings provided by our carrier.
The good news is that most of the time, your phone has several “default” APN settings and one will work for phone calls automatically. Very handy if you need to call for help because unless you’re using one of the Big Four networks (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) nothing else will work correctly and you’ll need to add an APN yourself.
The bad news is that carriers can customize the software on any phone they sell, and that includes blocking the ability to change the APN. Even if your phone is unlocked. You might be able to find a workaround posted on the internet, but there is also a good chance that you’re just not going to be able to use any other network. We suggest buying your next phone from someone else.
How to change your APN
The first thing you’ll need to do is find the right APN settings for the network you want to use. You’ll be able to find these at the support pages at the carrier website. The settings will look like this example for Mint SIM:
- Name – Ultra
- APN – Wholesale
- Proxy – (leave blank)
- Port – 8080
- Username & Password – (leave blank)
- Server – (leave blank)
- MMSC – http://wholesale.mmsmvno.com/mms/wapenc
- MMS Proxy – (leave blank)
- MMS Port – (leave blank)
- MNC – 260
- Authentication Type – (leave blank)
- APN Type – default,supl,mms
- MCC – 310
These are the settings you’ll need to enter for a new APN that can use Mint SIM’s service for data and MMS. Now we just need to find where to enter it.
This is going to be different depending on who made your phone, but it’s always going to be in the Wireless & networks section of the settings. You’re looking for a setting for Access Point Names and it might be nested in another setting like Cellular Networks. That’s where you’ll find it on the Pixel or Moto Z, and it should be similar to your phone. Don’t worry, you can’t mess anything up by tapping the settings and looking inside. Just try not to make any changes while you’re looking.
Once you’ve found the “Access Point Names” section. Tap to open it.
You should see a list with at least one APN on it. If things aren’t working with the current APN, you need to add another. Don’t modify or delete the one you see, instead make a new one and we can choose it when we’re done. At the top of the page, or possibly in a menu if your phone has a menu button, press the plus sign to bring up the “Edit access point” screen.
This is where you will enter the settings you got from your carrier’s website. Two very important things here:
Not every setting in the “Edit access point” screen will need to be filled in. Only fill in the items your carrier provides, and leave the rest as-is.
Be sure to type in everything exactly as provided by your carrier. For example, default,supl,hipri is different than default, supl, hipri because of the white space between items. Your carrier’s system is set up to read an expected set of values, and any changes — no matter how minor — can and will break things.
Once you have the settings provided by your carrier entered, you need to save the APN. You do that by pressing the three dots in the upper right (or the menu key if your phone has one) and selecting the “Save” option.
Once your APN information is saved, go back one screen to the list we saw earlier. On this screen, tap the new APN settings you just entered to make them active. Your phone will lose its data connection for a little while as it connects to the new network using the new network settings. If you can’t get a connection after a few minutes, you might need to restart your phone.
And that’s it! Now your phone should work for calls, SMS, MMS and data. Now be sure to set up any Data Saver or warning settings your phone might have to monitor how much data you use and if you are getting close to your allotment.
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Not every company offers first-class tech support for its laptops. With confusing web resources, unhelpful social media accounts and clueless phone reps, many brands put a lot of unnecessary obstacles between consumers and the help they need.
That’s why, for over 10 years, Laptop Mag has published its annual Tech Support Showdown, in which we go undercover to test and grade the most popular laptop brands.
After we spent several weeks evaluating 10 laptop makers based on their online support and live chat, social networking resources, and phone-based help, we found that Apple earns top marks once again for its extremely knowledgeable support staff and strong web resources.
In a huge improvement over prior years, Acer leaps into second place by providing quick, helpful phone calls and highly accurate online info. Lenovo rounds out our top three with its excellent callback service and wealth of web articles.
Bringing up the rear are Asus, Samsung and MSI. Asus’ live chat and website were especially disappointing. Seemingly still shell-shocked from its exploding-phone debacle, Samsung’s support line kept mistaking our Notebook 7 spin for a Galaxy Note 7. And MSI’s tech-support reps were shockingly unfamiliar with their company’s products.
#1. Apple (93/100)
Web Support: support.apple.com
Phone Number: (800) 694-7466 (24/7)
Key Takeaways: Apple offers the best tech support in the business, year after year. The company’s website and mobile app are loaded with helpful, step-by-step tutorials and, whether you reach them via phone or live chat, support reps are knowledgeable and friendly. Apple also answered Twitter messages quickly and accurately.
Apple Tech Support 2017 Report Card
#2. Acer (88/100)
Web Support: acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support
Phone Number: (866) 695-2237 (24/7)
Key Takeaways: The best Windows vendor for laptop support this year, Acer offers a useful live chat feature and an extremely helpful, easy-to-use website with lots of articles you can use to help yourself. Company reps nailed the answers to our questions on all three phone calls, which averaged less than 9 minutes.
Acer Tech Support 2017 Report Card
#3. Lenovo (86/100)
Web Support: support.lenovo.com
Phone Number: (877) 453-6686 (24/7)
Key Takeaways: Lenovo’s callback service, in which you register online and a rep calls you back right away, is extremely quick and helpful. The company has a wealth of online resources, but it can be challenging to find the page which solves your problem.
Lenovo Tech Support 2017 Report Card
#4. Microsoft (82/100)
Web Support: support.microsoft.com
Phone Number: (800) 936-3500 (24/7)
Key Takeaways: Microsoft’s support site has a lot of helpful information, and the live chat and Twitter responses were quite helpful. Phone support was mostly good, but one confused rep changed a whole bunch of unrelated settings on our laptop.
Microsoft Tech Support 2017 Report Card
#5. HP (80/100)
Web Support: support.hp.com
Phone Number: (888-698-3762 (8 am – 12 am Mon-Fri, 9 am – 9 pm weekend)
Key Takeaways: HP’s website features a bevy of resources, including a very useful live chat. The company also provided speedy answers to our Twitter query, though the HP account initially sent us outdated instructions from 2011. One phone rep tried to sell us antivirus software after answering our query.
HP Tech Support 2017 Report Card
#6. Dell (76/100)
Web Support: dell.com/support/home
Phone Number: (800) 624-9897 (8 am – 12 am ET Mon-Fri, 9 am – 11 pm weekend)
Key Takeaways: Dell’s site has a rich set of Windows tips, how-tos, FAQs and diagnostics, though the company’s automated “interactive support agent” wasn’t much help. Two out of three agents didn’t even know about the built-in Waves MaxxAudio app that comes on most Dell laptops.
Dell Tech Support 2017 Report Card
#7. Razer (74/100)
Web Support: razersupport.com/gaming-systems
Phone Number: (888) 697-2037 (12 pm – 8 pm ET)
Key Takeaways: Razer’s website has some useful FAQs, but offers less information than most competitors; it’s also sorely missing a forum. Phone calls were fairly quick, but on one call, the rep kept giving us instructions for the wrong laptop.
Razer Tech Support 2017 Report Card
#8. Asus (72/100)
Web Support: asus.com/us/support
Phone Number: (888) 678-3688 (24/7)
Key Takeaways: Asus’ live-chat and phone-support agents often steered us wrong (example: changing the video drivers to answer our question about disabling passwords after wake from sleep). On one call, we were even exposed to 15 minutes of odd noise before being disconnected.
Asus Tech Support 2017 Report Card
#9. Samsung (67/100)
Web Support: samsung.com/us/support/computing/windows-laptops
Phone Number: (800-726-7864 (8 am – 12 pm ET Mon-Fri, 9 am – 11 pm weekends)
Key Takeaways: When we called Samsung’s phone line, we kept getting routed to smartphone support, even though we asked for help with our laptop. When we finally reached the right people, two out of three answers were wrong, with reps unable to understand the company’s own software.
Samsung Tech Support 2017 Report Card
#10. MSI (63/100)
Web Support: us.msi.com/support
Phone Number: (888) 447-6564 (8 am – 10 pm ET)
Key Takeaways: Peppered with broken English, MSI’s support form asks for highly technical information, including your current BIOS version, before you can get an answer. Support calls were blissfully short, usually because the reps weren’t familiar enough with MSI’s products and gave poor answers.
MSI Tech Support 2017 Report Card
How We Rate and Test
To see how well laptop makers support their products, we went undercover, posing as everyday users, and tried to answer three questions. We used both the online and telephone support systems of the top 10 manufacturers (because it stopped making consumer laptops, Toshiba missed the cut).
For each brand, except for Apple, which has its own OS, we asked one common question about how to stop the computer from going to sleep and then requesting a password upon wake-up. All the other questions were customized for the brands and the consumer laptops we chose for testing.
We initiated three phone sessions for each brand, asking one question per session. We also used each company’s web resources, including articles, forums and live chat, to find answers. We attempted to contact the companies via both Facebook and Twitter. If a company offered a mobile app for support, we tried that also.
Each brand received a score out of 100, of which 60 points rate the company’s online support — web, social, apps and forums — and the other 40 points score the brand’s phone-based support. We gave online support more weight, because it’s a more popular way to get help and is most people’s first stop.
Tech Support Showdown
- Scorecard and Winners
The atmosphere here in Austin, Texas is warming up nicely (as is, thankfully, the weather). With the smell of BBQ and the constant strum of guitar now permanently lingering in the air, it can only mean one thing: SXSW’s Interactive weekend is upon us. If you’re not here on the ground in Austin, no worries, we’re here to bring the show to you via the interpipes.
What do Ridley Scott, Bill Nye, La La Land and Joe Biden have in common? You guessed it, all of them are featuring at SXSW this weekend. And that’s just the start. Scott is here promoting the next installment of the Alien movie franchise, so isn’t presenting a keynote. But fans of the movies should keep an eye out over the weekend though, as you never know where he might pop up.
Bill Nye on the other hand is here in full “Science Guy” force, with the premier of his documentary feature that follows his journey in Carl Sagan’s footsteps. Buzz Aldrin is also here later in the week, but there appears to be no immediate plan to recreate their recent fashion collaboration.
In other movie news, Lionsgate — the studio behind almost the best picture last year — will be hosting a fireside chat with Justin Hurwitz, the man responsible for that sound track, and the cameo appearances of hot music tech (such as Native Instruments’ Maschine, and the Roli Seaboard) in the film.
Last year’s biggest keynote was undoubtedly, then President, Barack Obama. This year, his wingman Joe Biden is in Austin to talk about his work in the fight against cancer, and the Biden Foundation. We’ll be there, and expect video highlights to follow.
There’s more to SXSW than celebrities and keynotes though. So rest assured we’ll be hopping across town scoping out the best new gear, events and other weirdness that Austin’s most famous show has to offer.
The next iPhone is well on its way, and we’ve heard a ton of rumors about what the new phone (or phones) might look like. With any new smartphone, however, there’s sure to be a new operating system to go along with it. For the next iPhone, that means iOS 11. Although we’ll probably start hearing details regarding the mobile OS soon, creative minds are already at work creating concepts of what they want the operating system to look like. These aren’t based on any facts, but rather things the creators want to see in iOS 11. That said, here are some of our favorite iOS 11 concept designs so far.
iOS 11 Concept From Jacek Zieba
This is perhaps one of the newest concepts, and the best thing about it is that we can totally see it coming to fruition. The ideas in the video show some small and very reasonable tweaks to iOS 11 that would make things a lot easier in a number of different situations. For example, the video shows a beautiful and classic-looking Dark Mode, a feature that has long been requested by iOS users. The video also shows a slew of great features, including the ability to set up multiple accounts on a single iPad, a button for locking the screen orientation, and a split-screen mode for the iPhone. The latter would allow users to engage in a variety of activities simultaneously, meaning you could essentially watch a video while surfing the web.
All these changes are well-designed and look very Apple-esque, so perhaps Apple will take note and implement some of them in future iOS builds.
While this concept is a little less believable than the previous one, it still draws inspiration from Apple’s software. Only, that inspiration comes from the Apple Watch’s WatchOS, rather than iOS. As you can see in the video, the home screen seems to use a clock with circular icons surrounding it, which is very similar to the main screen on the Apple Watch.
Even the quick settings menu is a little more circular — it boasts a rounded border rather than the straight interface normally found on the iPhone. The concept even incorporates the Watch’s Digital Touch feature, which allows users to send little sketches and taps to other users.
ComConceptsiPhone iPhone 8 Concept
This concept isn’t limited to software, as it also shows a concept for the iPhone 8’s hardware. In the video above, the iPhone does away with the long-used Home button in favor of a larger display. The fingerprint sensor is built directly into the display and shows up in the bottom-left of the screen. The operating system is even given classy notifications, as well as a new control center, which looks sleeker than iOS’ current one.
Aside from the aforementioned hardware changes, this iOS concept shows some basic refinements that we could see Apple actually making in the future. There’s certainly no guarantee, but the changes look very Apple-esque and modern.
AGVideos iOS 11 Concept
This concept also deviates from the current iPhone hardware, but it’s interesting because of how it incorporates the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro. Like the previous concept, you can see that the device has a full-screen display that does away with the Home button. Instead, it features a dedicated software button along with an iPhone-optimized Touch Bar. That Touch Bar is mainly used for switching between apps quickly and efficiently.
The concept also shows a split-screen mode for the iPhone, a feature that has so far been limited to the iPad. Last but not least, it shows an “AirDrop 2.0,” which apparently allows users to share files by simply pushing on them with 3D Touch.
iOS 11 Concept — iPhone Lover
The fifth and final concept in our roundup also shows some basic UI tweaks that Apple could very easily implement in iOS 11. For example, the control center has been given 3D Touch controls, so if you hard press on the Wi-Fi button, you’ll have the ability to turn Wi-Fi on or quick select certain Wi-Fi networks. The concept also shows a handsome Dark Mode, which gives everything a subtle tint.
The Departmen of Motor Vehicles in California will make it easier for automakers and tech titans to test their autonomous cars in the state. While it’s currently the go-to place for companies looking to trial their new self-driving technologies, it also has rules that can hold them back. The new set of proposed regulations that the DMV has released, however, eliminates the need for human drivers to be on board during test drives. Further, the companies no longer have to equip their vehicles with steering wheels and pedals if they’re not exactly necessary.
If you’ll recall, Google had to fit its prototype cars with temporary steering wheels and controls just so it could launch its trial in the Golden State. The proposed rules will give Mountain View a way to find out how its vehicles will perform when they’re used the way they’re intended.
Eric Noble, president of automotive consulting firm The CarLab, told Bloomberg that the changes are “necessary and timely” if California wants to “keep that level of development activity.” They could prevent Michigan, which made autonomous vehicle trials without human drivers and physical controls legal in December, from becoming the new go-to state. “[California] kind of had to do it because at some point manufacturers can’t move autonomous vehicles forward without getting controls out of cars,” Noble added.
It doesn’t mean California will welcome all driverless vehicles, though. If a company wants to unleash its cars without conventional controls and human drivers, it needs to secure permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The proposed regulations are open for public comments until April 24th, followed by a public hearing. It could take some time before the rules are approved and enacted, but DMV authorities believe they’ll be polished and ready by the end of the year.
Source: Bloomberg, Reuters
Welcome to the weekend.
If you’re missing the usual editor’s letter then know that we are too, and the man that usually wrote it. After six years with Engadget Michael Gorman is moving on, but you can still find him at @numeson.
As for the rest of the weekend, expect to see many dispatches from the crew at SXSW 2017. Until then, we have Reggie Fils-Aime talking Switch issues an update on the Winklevii Bitcoin push and an uncomfortable truth about who powers the surveillance state highlighted by WikiLeaks.
A lot of smoke and misleading claimsWikiLeaks CIA cache: Fool me once
If you’ve been on the internet this week you probably heard about WikiLeaks CIA post, but what does it all mean? As Bad Password columnist Violet Blue explains, your level of understanding depends mostly on whether or not journalists actually read and understood the documents. Once the hysteria died down, it was clear that (according to these unverified revelations) encryption on Signal and Whatsapp had remained unbroken, while the real vulnerabilities are in the devices they run on.
Unsurprisingly, the CIA appears to be interested in how it can reach specific targets — very different from the broad surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden. As she argues, what should be scary is how the government can rely on companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook to collect your data on their own.
Already looking for your next Switch game?It’s ‘Mario Kart 8,’ again
Nintendo’s new system is currently flying high on the strength of its Legend of Zelda game, and the next hit will be close behind. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a port of the Wii U game, but when it comes to the Switch on April 28th, it will have new racers like Inkling Girl and Inkling boy from Splatoon, King Boo, Dry Bones and Bowser Jr. Better yet, it’s reviving Battle Mode, and the jump-enabling Feather power-up that players have missed since the SNES Mario Kart game.
How’s your left Joy-con feeling?NoA president Reggie Fils-Aime on the Switch
In an interview, Nintendo exec Reggie Fils-Aime responded to some issues new Switch owners have reported. Those include controllers that occasionally lose sync (especially the left one), and trouble buying a spare dock so they can easily move the console to a new TV. While Nintendo says “There are no widespread technical problems,” the issue of spare Switch docking stations is simply a supply thing, which should be resolved soon. The only remaining problem is for users who want to use a single cable for TV connections instead. According to Fils-Aime, that will have to wait for a third-party solution.
100MWh or it’s freeTesla promises to fix an Australian state’s power problems within 100 days
South Australia has been dealing with an energy crisis, and guess who has a plan to fix it. Elon Musk and his cousin Lyndon Rive (co-founder of Solar City and now head of Tesla’s energy division.) Along with an Australian billionaire, the two have pledged that Tesla can get a battery system set up to deal with the issue within 100 days of contracts being signed — or the system is free. Now the Australian government has seven days to consider the offer.
It’s about the size of a hotel roomSan Francisco startup Apis Cor 3D printed a house in 24 hours
Using a mobile 3D printer, Apis Cor created this house in a Russian town within 24 hours. It still required workers for things like painting, wiring and insulation, but produced the 400 sq ft house for just about $10k. Plus, its curved walls were perfect for a curved TV.
But wait, there’s more…
- SEC rejects Winklevoss twins’ plan to trade Bitcoin as stock
- How Sonos made the new Playbase sound a lot better than it should
- IBM can store data on a single atom
- The Engadget Podcast Ep 31: Look Inside America (with three UK editors)
- ‘League of Legends’ creator wins $10 million in cheating lawsuit
- Waymo asks court to halt Uber’s self-driving car project
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While Oculus is still tied up in legal wrangling (in more than one direction) with Zenimax, a California judge just dismissed a different lawsuit against the company. Total Recall Technologies sued the Facebook subsidiary in 2015, claiming that Palmer Luckey violated a confidentiality agreement he’d signed when the company was working with him to develop a VR headset in 2010. The two parties eventually stopped communicating, and later Luckey crowdfunded development of the Oculus Rift, which TRT claimed used info covered by its agreement.
Unfortunately for TRT, the Judge William Alsup of the Northern District Court in California (who you may recall from the Oracle/Google trial) ruled that its lawsuit is invalid because one of the company’s partners objected to it before stepping down. In a statement to TechCrunch, an Oculus spokesperson said “We are pleased with the Court’s ruling to dismiss TRT’s entire case with prejudice. Our commitment to VR is the same. We are focused on expanding and pursuing our vision for this transformative technology.”
Source: TechCrunch, Law360, The Tech Portal
While there are government-approved test sites for land-based autonomous vehicles in the US, so far there is only one official test site for their seafaring counterparts. Tucked away in Norway’s Trondheim Fjord, the test site offers wide, open waters similar to a small sea, but with relatively low shipping traffic so there’s less of a chance of a collision should one of the test vehicles go haywire. The site officially opened late last year, but thanks to the cluster of research institutions and businesses in the area, companies like Kongsberg Seatex, Marintek, Maritime Robotics and Rolls-Royce Marine have all flocked to the fjord to test their new robotic and autonomous technologies.
Established as a partnership between the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Center for Autonomous Marine Operations (NTNU AMOS) and the Norwegian government, the site includes part of Trondheim Harbor and has already been used to test everything from navigation and collision avoidance systems to operational safety and risk management projects. The technologies developed in Trondheim are expected to revolutionize the shipping industry as human crews are no longer needed to literally man the ship.
“As far as we know, there are no such test sites of this kind in the world so the Norwegian Coastal Authorities are taking the lead in a changing maritime world,” Kongsberg Seatex President Gard Ueland said when the site opened. “We will also see technology that has the potential to enable fully autonomous cargo vessels. Much of this will come from Trondheim, thanks to the unmatched maritime expertise here and our autonomous vehicles test bed.”
While pilotless smart ships are a logical application of autonomous technology, Kongsberg Seatex has also been using the Trondheim site for the continued development of its snake-like Eelume underwater cleanup and inspection robot. The modular vehicle, which we saw early versions of last year, is being developed so that it can live permanently underwater without the need for a tethered support ship. Rolls-Royce, which expects to build a fleet of remote controlled ships by 2020, is also using the Trondheim test bed as it builds a new remote fleet management center in Alesund, about 150 miles to the Southeast.
Despite its explosive growth, Samsung has mostly preferred to buy smaller startups or develop its own technology. That changed last November when the company announced it would purchase Harman International Industries, Incorporated for about $8 billion, and tonight it confirmed the deal is complete.
Harman president Dinesh Paliwal said “Samsung provides Harman with the scale, platform and complementary technologies to accelerate growth and extend our global market leadership in automotive, smart audio and connected technologies….Samsung and Harman will define – and drive – the future of automotive.” If you’re not sure how that works, remember Harman is the parent company of not only the Harman Kardon brand, but also Infinity, JBL, Lexicon and Mark Levinson.
That’s also a different way of going about things compared to Google’s Android Auto and Waymo efforts, or Apple pushing CarPlay and whatever Project Titan really is. It also is a potential boost to Samsung’s smart home and other connected devices, even as Harman, which counts 30,000 employees, continues to operate as an independent subsidiary.