IDEA Cellular GPRS, 3G Internet APN Settings on iPhone and iPad

This is no magic, but a simple setting that MUST be set on the iPhone or iPad to get GPRS or 3G Internet. Everyone knows it & hundreds of users were using it already, but I am writing here just incase you didn’t. However, if you’re using Android phone or tablet then it is not required. Surprising, eh?

This will NOT work if you’ve not yet activated GPRS or 3G on your phone but this setting is required on iPhones and iPads. (I have confirmed this from Idea support). If you haven’t yet, then do read an earlier post on How to Activate IDEA 3G.

The setting is called APN. The same APN can be used for Internet Tethering. Read further for more info.

What is APN

APN means Access Point Name and its a protocol that allows a user’s PC or mobile device to get access to the Internet via mobile network.

On a technical level it is a configurable network identifier used by a mobile device when connecting to a GSM carrier. The carrier will then check this identifier to decide what type of network connection should be created.

How to set-up APN Settings for IDEA?

If you’re using IDEA and have already activated GPRS and/or 3G then follow these easy steps to enter Idea 3G APN Settings

How to get IDEA Internet on iPhone or iPad?

  1. Open Settings app on iPhone / iPad
  2. Go to General > Network > Cellular Data Network
  3. Type internet (all small letters) under Cellular Data > APN
  4. Leave Username and Password field EMPTY
IDEA Cellular GPRS, 3G Internet APN Settings on iPhone and iPad

How to share IDEA Internet from iPhone to PC or Laptop?

The above method will only get Internet on the device itself, but if you’re looking for sharing IDEA internet on PC or onto a laptop and other mobile devices then you will have to add APN for Tethering as well.

  1. Go to General > Network > Cellular Data Network
  2. Scroll down to see Internet Tethering
  3. Type internet under Internet Tethering > APN
  4. Tap Network button on left-top
  5. Toggle Cellular Data to ON and you should now see Personal Hotspot option
  6. Turn ON Personal Hotspot
  7. If you connect iPhone or iPad to PC through USB charging cable – you should now see new Local Area Connection under Control Panel > Network Connections
IDEA Cellular GPRS, 3G Internet APN Settings on iPhone and iPad


  • These settings are mandatory for iPhone and applicable for IDEA cellular only. You should enter them manually every time you upgrade iOS or reset network settings.
  • Internet Tethering charges are ALWAYS different from your regular GPRS charges. Always confirm about it through IDEA support before using.


  1. Great article tushar! 3 yrs on this is still valid and it was such a releif to find this. Almost went mental tryin to setup a hotspot on my iphone.. This 1 little apn crap holy cow! Even ideas own website has no infor on it.

  2. Hey,

    Awesome post, was very helpful.
    However, have a query which is off topic.

    I find that on idea! the 3G switches to 2G ever so frequently. I don’t think it is a problem with my iphone.
    Even if I am standing in a zone that has 3G for a minute, it will suddenly switch from 3G to 2G.

    Please Help!


    • I find it annoying too and yes, it does happen when 3G is available for sometime and then goes back to 2G for no-reason. Bad IDEA! 🙂

      BTW – does this issue occur on your iPhone 3GS?

      • No, on my iPhone 4.

        Wish there was a way to just leave 2G off so if there is 3G, great, otherwise I don’t get charged. I’m on one of their 3G plans, in case your wondering.

        It’s a inconvenience + I get charged. Bad Idea! indeed 😉

  3. i got tis idea 3g micro sim for my ipad 4g and the sim was activated on my ipad and it shows the idea 3g signal at top but when i got into safari it says no internet connection …pls help

    • First: make sure the settings are in lowercase letters. Once done, restart your device to see whether Internet is available or not.

  4. i got tis 3g idea micro sim and it was activated on my ipad4g three days later and it shows
    idea signal at the top but no internet although i put in the apn.pls help..

  5. hey, I wanted to know if 3g services from idea were available for iPhone 4s? because i didn’t see it on their website. Let me know soon? thank you 🙂

  6. even though i done all the apn setting on my ipad still it is not connecting to internet.i am using idea netsetter 3g sim on my i pad.i got my sim activated and 5gb data in it.still it is showing cannot connet to internet.what should i do????

        • Okay, that’s weird… I would suggest 2 things
          1] Make sure your microSIM is properly inserted. If you have cut the bigger sim into micro SIM yourself, then it probably is damaged. Get a brand new microSIM from your carrier.
          2] Then, make sure your have latest iTunes & then make sure you have latest iOS version installed on your iPad. Test again
          3] If that doesn’t work – Reset your network settings from Settings menu – Reboot – Enter APN again and check.
          4] If that doesn’t work either… – your iPad’s 3G modem has some serious issues. Show it to service center.

          let us know…

        • I think you should once try rebooting ur device. The settings worked for me only after rebooting my iphone.
          Anyway, thanks Tushar 🙂

    • if you’re using iPhone for the first time with that SIM – then you need to call customer care to make sure Internet is activated for you. While, rest of the settings remain as mentioned above.

  7. Thank you, I was searching this for a long time, the idea people don’t know much detaild regarding Personal Hotspot, earlier for Personal Hotspot I wrote only Internet for only Cellular Data APN, because of that the phone was continuously searching for personal hotspot device, I was unaware of the fact that I had to even Type internet under Internet Tethering > APN, now after your guidance, actually ‘Personal Hotspot’ option was displayed in main settings (which was not displayed earlier)

  8. than ou brother, i. it just helped me. i called idea three times, they said same, i will get sms to save the settings. i didn’t any sms though. thanks again. imran.

  9. hi,

    I have an idea sim card and already have “internet” under the APN for cellular data. The problem i am having on my iphone is that when I turn 3g on, the network goes down till is down to almost 1 or 2 bars, and often it switches to 2g. However when it switches to 2g the range goes back to full bars.

    Turning the airplane mode on and off helps for a a few seconds, but the 3g range goes down again. rebooting the phone also has not helped much. pls help!


    • You’re right & this happens in lot many coverage areas, happens at my home & office as well. Really, they have a very bad coverage for 3G. Also, are you on House Full plan? they have limitations on that plan if Free 2G package of 512MB is activated. hope this helps 🙂

  10. I am from meghalaya..and i have followed instructiond for idea 3g APN settings…that is input internet in APN settings..but its still not working…pls advice

  11. Hi Tushar,
    Thanks a ton. The settings worked like a charm.
    I have a question not related to this post, hoping you help me out.
    I called Idea Celluar today to find out their unlimited 2G schemes.
    They let me know the various plans, Rs.99 for 200MB, Rs.199 for 1GB….
    My question to them, which was unanswered/not clear to me  was
    1) If i leave my 2G(Celluar Data) “on” all the time, using only push notifications on my iPhone, switched on, what kind of plan should i go in for
    2) I might just use google maps now and then and download and reply to emails
    Now here is my worry, I heard just leaving the 2G on all the time on the normal(use as you go) scheme data gets used, I get charged.
    Would like to know, based on my usage mentioned above, what do you think, in your personal opinion, the scheme I should go in for, I’m really not interested in 3G(too expensive).
    Appreciate any help.

    •  @getjakey Push notifications won’t need much of data but Google maps will. It’s always good to try things out for each personal requirement. See below1] Use default, zero rental plan to begin with. You wont need to pay anything upfront for nothing. 2] Use bandwidth monitor app. I have one listed in one of articles.3] See how much exactly you’re consuming in ref with the stats displayed in app & also cross-check with your first bill.4] You shall know which plan to use, that suits you perfectly. :)Hope this helps. PS: I am using Idea Housefull plan. You shall get 528MB free  of 2G


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