How to Activate 3G on an iPad


Activating the 3-G data network on your iPad is simple, but you will be charged by the 3-G service provider based on your selections. You must have a 3-G enabled iPad to activate this service, as it cannot be added onto Wi-Fi-only iPads. The iPad is considered "Unlocked," meaning you do not need to contract with a specific cellular data provider to use the 3-G service. However, your carrier may offer discounts for contract plans, and each carrier may have compatibility limits due to the network protocols they use for their cellular service.

Things You'll Need

  • Credit card
  • Tap the "Settings" icon on your iPad and press "Cellular data" in the "Settings" menu to open the 3-G connection wizard.

  • Choose your cellular network provider and data plan type from the options listed. If you don't know how much data you will use, consider selecting the "Unlimited" or the highest limited plan to start so you will not be subject to overage charges. Once you learn your usage, you can change your plan to a lower limit and price.

  • Enter your credit card information to pay for your cellular service when prompted.

  • Enter and confirm your billing information, following the on-screen prompts to complete your account setup.

  • Press the "Home" button to exit the "Settings" app when your 3-G setup is complete. Any time you want to turn the 3-G service on or off, tap "Settings" and choose "Cellular data" and slide the virtual switch on or off.

Tips & Warnings

  • When using Wi-Fi or not using the Internet at all on your iPad, switch the cellular data off to prevent unnecessary battery drain and data charges.
  • You do not need an existing Wi-Fi connection to sign up for 3-G service.

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  • Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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