Every couple of weeks, I’m out and about with my iPad and iPhone. Anyone here like mobile data? Thought so.
I have a wifi-only iPad, and I’m too cheap to pay for a MiFi*. Besides which, I’m already paying Vodafone for 1GB of Internet usage through my iPhone contract. But with both a jailbroken iPhone and a jailbroken iPad, I can keep the cost down by using two handy apps: TetherMe and iTether.
I’ve written up a little setup guide, plus my thoughts on how it works in practice.
Not sure what tethering or jailbreaking are? Check here and here, then read on.
To get this working, you have to install two apps:
- TetherMe on your iPhone
- iTether on your iPad
Both of these apps are available through Cydia, and using them is really straightforward. This is a two-part setup:
First, I installed TetherMe on my iPhone, which will be providing the data connection to share.
There is another option: install MyWi. This creates a wireless network to which any device can connect, which is great, but absolutely kills your battery. And I mean stone dead, damn quickly, in my experience.
TetherMe uses the built-in tethering option, so there’s no app icon. You’ll have to:
- enable tethering
– (Settings –> General –> Network –> Internet Tethering)
- choose to “Turn on Bluetooth”
Done. You can now use your data allowance to tether, whether to your iPad or another computer, such as a laptop.
Second, install iTether on your iPad, enabling your iPad to use its Bluetooth to receive the data connection being shared by the iPhone.
Click on the iTether icon. If Internet Tethering and Bluetooth are enabled on your iPhone, it’ll find your iPhone. It’ll ask for a passkey. Choose anything you like; a dialogue will pop up on your iPhone requesting a PIN. Enter the passkey/PIN.
Following this, whenever you want to connect to your iPhone’s data connection, just make sure Internet Tethering is on, then launch iTether on your iPad, and select your iPhone.
If you want to make it even quicker and you use SBSettings, then there’s an option to set a particular iPhone as your default device, which allows you to use the SBSettings iTether toggle.
And how does this money-saving hack fare?
Pretty well. Once the connection’s working, all is fine. I’ve noticed the occasional drop-out when I’m working, but not much.
I did install the optional SBSettings toggle, but it’s been more hassle than it’s worth. The toggle doesn’t work for me. And then I sometimes hit the Bluetooth toggle as well, which screws iTether right up. When iTether is on it disables the Bluetooth control within Settings, but if you accidentally turn it on via SBSettings, iTether throws a wobbler. A couple of reboots are usually needed to fix it.
Theres also the problem that you can’t use a Bluetooth keyboard at the same time, as the Bluetooth connection is in use for tethering. This means it’s not an ideal mobile office solution.
Neither of these apps are free. TetherMe costs, and iTether costs $4.99. But they work well, and it’s a lot less. Paying through Cydia is still a bit of a pain – it always seems to need a few goes for me.
But overall: awesome.
I hardly get close to my data limit with Vodafone anyway, so although this isn’t strictly within the Terms and Conditions on my contract, I don’t feel I’m ripping them off. Besides which, much of my “3G” data usage at home is back hauled over my own broadband using a Sure Signal box. Karma.
The data connection is really quick via Bluetooth, and the battery drain on either device is negligible.
Worried about breaching your contract?
Obviously, you can use this without TetherMe if you have a non-jailbroken iPhone with tethering authorised officially by the carrier, or if you have another phone that allows tethering. That means you’re paying extra for a specific tethering data connection, but that’s up to you. But that way, only your iPad has to be jailbroken.
If you do the unofficial route and are worried about your mobile network finding out, then there’s a solution which I’ve written about before: use a VPN. Your network can’t see any of your data traffic then, so they have no idea which device is using the connection.
* That may well change after my broadband went down this week. No broadband plus one bar of EDGE if I’m lucky around my house has driven home to me that I can’t afford to be without connectivity…