How-To: Save $130 and Fees on a 3G iPad 2 If You Own an iPhone

Did you know that there is a fairly clever workaround for 3G iPad fee woes if you already own an iPhone? Actually there are two, one for those without a risk-taking trait and one for those who are a little more ambitious. Either way, getting rid of iPad 3G costs is fairly simple.

First, the workaround for those who like always being on the good side and do not feel like taking risks: AT&T and Verizon both offer tethering plans that will allow the iPhone to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices, including the iPad. However, this is still pricey, though cheaper if you plan to use more than $20 worth of data on your 3G iPad 2.

For those who do not care if they do something that their carrier frowns upon (though it is not illegal and no carriers have been reported of charging for tethering through this method), let me continue. All you need is a jailbroken iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4 and MyWi from Cydia. I will teach you how to setup free tethering in the how-to below. Let’s get right into it:

  1. First of all, your iPhone needs to be a member of the glorious world of “jailbreaking.” If you do not already know what this world holds, a jailbreak is an easy “unlocking of the iPhone” that allows an iPhone (or iPad) to be accessed and modified in various ways. If your iPhone has not already stepped into jailbreak territory, a quick search will point you in the right direction. Unfortunately due to the variety of firmware versions and ways to jailbreak, there is no universal how-to for jailbreaking, so follow the instructions of whichever app you come across. If you are running iOS 4.2.1, you can simply download the GreenPois0n jailbreak app and run through the quick, painless process. You are currently out of luck if you are running iOS 4.3, but a public jailbreak app will imminently be released soon.
  2. Open Cydia and search for “MyWi” (without the quotation marks, obviously).
  3. Tap MyWi and choose to install it. There is a three-day trial, and after which you will have to pay a one-time fee of $19.99 to continue using MyWi.
  4. Open the app. At the top is an option to turn Wi-Fi Tethering on, you can do so now to test the connection.
  5. Under the previously-mentioned option is the ability to set the Wi-Fi network’s name. Call it whatever whacky or serious name you want.
  6. Use any device with Wi-Fi connectivity to try connecting to the Wi-Fi network that your iPhone is broadcasting. If your device can connect but is not actually able to use data, then make sure to try turning your 3G and Wi-Fi connections on and off. It is a simple fix, but I have found it to work.
  7. Since you probably do not want anybody within the iPhone’s Wi-Fi transmitting range using your connection, it is smart to enable WEP security, which is the app’s third option. Create a ten or 26 character WEP key consisting of numbers 0-9 and/or letters A-F.
  8. You can adjust the app’s advanced Wi-Fi settings to your liking as well. Play around to find a Wi-Fi channel that works best with all of your devices and change the transmit power to control whether your iPhone uses less battery life to transmit a Wi-Fi signal or transmits a stronger signal.
  9. Your iPhone is now a fully-functional 3G hotspot able to provide a Wi-Fi connection to multiple devices, including an iPad.

It may be worth buying an external battery for your iPhone 4 because tethering is battery-draining, but the cost of buying one plus MyWi is worthwhile, practical, and economical.

Written by Michael DeLisi