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What is APN and How Do I Change it?

There was a time when the consumer only had the option of getting phones from established carriers. You would have to buy your cellphone from a provider such as Vodafone and Verizon Wireless. However, now, there are plenty of unlocked phones that you can get, even from the carriers.

For example, you can get unlocked Amazon phones too. In such phones, APN is very important. While you might have heard about VPN, you rarely might have heard about APN. Let us guide you on what it is and how to change it for your phones and why you need to change it.

What is APN?

APN stands for Access Point Name and you must have seen it in the Network settings of your phone. The APN is a gateway that connects the cellular network of your carrier and the Internet. Using the APN settings, your mobile carrier generates an IP address. Even if you want to connect to a VPN, you will need an APN to establish that private network. Basically, APN has two jobs:

  • It ensures privacy and security in the internet connection.
  • It provides a means of connectivity to the Internet.

This might sound very complicated to you but worry not because your carrier takes care of all the technicalities. The only thing required at your end is to set the right APN settings and then your network carrier will do the rest.

Can you change APN Settings?

The good news is that your phone most probably comes with pre-figured APN settings. You will not have to do much as some carriers sell phones with pre-set APN settings. However, there are times when you will have to change the APN settings on your phone.

Also, some carriers do not allow users to change their phones’ APN settings. Even if your phone is unlocked, the carrier can bar you from changing the pre-configured settings. If you are tech-savvy, you will find a way around this but a regular user would not be able to do much in this situation.

How to reach the APN Settings Options

Step1: Go to the settings. Settings can be found either on your home page as below, or you can go to it by tapping on the “all app” tray and search the settings app similar to a gear.

Step 2: Tap on the “wifi and internet”

P.S. At this stage our main goal is to reach the “network settings” of our mobile. Different mobiles can have different options to choose from. For instance, we are going to select the “WiFi and internet“, however, some mobiles might have the “Connections” instead. You will then tap “WiFi and internet” or “connection” on to the next step.

Step 3: Select “Sim & Network” or “Mobile Networks” or any other similar option

Step 4: Tap on the “Access Point Names” options.

P.S. If your smartphone is a dual sim, there is one extra step that you need to take. Select the sim for which you want to reset the APN options. Now you can see the “Access Point Names” option.

Why do you need to change APN settings?

You do not necessarily have to change the APN settings if your phone is working properly and there is no error in the connection. This is normally the case with most phones as the devices come configured from the carrier. However, the pre-configured APN settings might not work sometimes and this is when you will have to add settings or change them.

In other cases, there might be an error on your device that is not allowing you to use cellular data. Changing the APN settings can solve this error as your APN settings might be incorrect. Similarly, if you are using an unlocked phone, you will need to change the settings for using a different carrier. When you change APN settings on your phone, you must do it properly. If you mess up the settings, you can lose connectivity and might have to face some additional charges.

Why can’t I change my apn Settings?

If you have just bought a new mobile and your mobile data is not working and want to update your APN settings then chances are that you may not be able to create a new APN setting or modify the existing settings.

Sometimes taking the sim out and putting it back in could do the trick. However, if it still does not work one thing you need to know is that you can’t change the default apn settings of your mobile. What you need to do is add a new APN and or choose the carrier from the list your are shown.

The simple path to add the APN is: Settings => Network => Mobile Network => Access Point Names => 3dots Menu / or the + sign => Add APN => 3dots Menu => Save and restart.

The path to reach the APN location could change depending on the system.

The simple path to select a carrier: Settings => Mobile networks => network preferences => three dot menu => click add => check operator list => add the carrier you want from the list => Save => Restart.

The path to reach the APN location could change depending on the system.

If your APN Settings are greyed out Read this Post

How to Change APN Settings for Android?

The APN settings differ from carrier to carrier. The settings for one carrier might be different from another carrier and the requirements are often different. You will find the network settings on your carrier’s website. These settings that you will be required to change are shown in the image below.

Changing the APN for Google Pixel Phones

It is fairly easy to change the APN settings for your phone. If you have a Google Pixel phone, you will find the option for changing the APN in Settings.

  • From Settings, go to Network and Internet.
  • Then, go to Mobile Network.
  • Go to Advanced. This will show you advanced settings.
  • Scroll down until you find Access Point Names. Click on it.
  • There are three dots on the top right corner. Tap them and then select New APN.
  • Here, you need to Edit the APN settings. You can get this information on your SIM card or get it required information in the section below.
  • After you have changed the settings, click on the three dots again and then tap Save.

If you see any APNs that are previously set on the phone, you will find that they are not change-able. You will not be able to edit or update their details as mentioned above.

Changing the APN Settings for Galaxy Note3

If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note3, you can change the APN settings on it too. To do this, go to Apps and then to Settings. From Settings, go to Connections and then to More Networks.

From More Networks, go to Mobile Networks and then to Access Point Names. Tap the Sub Menu and turn the settings to ‘Reset to Fault’.

This will refresh the settings and your default configuration will be set on the phone. If you want to set APN on your Note manually, tap the + icon in front of the APN menu. Then, you have to enter the details as given by the carrier.

When you are done configuring, tap the back key. This will save your settings. To set that APN, select it from the list of APNs and activate it.

Changing APN for Other Android Phones

In most Android phones, you can change the settings by going to the Network settings and then to Others or Advanced. You will find APN in this section. Just enter the configuration details to change the APN.

How to Change APN Settings for iOS/iphone?

Just like Android phones, you can also set or change the APN on Apple phones. The process is quite similar to that of Android phones. To change the APN, you have to reset the existing settings first and then configure new settings.

  • Go to Settings and then to Mobile Data.
  • In the Mobile Data options, select the Mobile Data Network.
  • Scroll down to Reset Settings and Reset them. This will reset all the MMS and Internet settings.

After resetting the options, follow the same steps again. When you enter Mobile Data, this time, you will see the Internet information sections empty. Fill them according to the information provided below.

For any other iPhone such as iPhone7, follow the same steps. Make sure that you turn off the Wi-Fi before changing the APN settings. Turn the 3G and Data Roaming on. If you do not see the option of Cellular Data Network in your settings, it means that your device is locked and you need to get in touch with your previous carrier.

Changing the APN Settings on iPad

If you want to change the APN settings on your iPad follow these simple steps given below. Go to Settings and then to Cellular Data.

  • Then, select Cellular Data Options.
  • Select APN Settings.
  • Then, tap on Reset Settings to reset the in-built settings.

After this, follow the same steps and select APN. Enter the information provided below to change the APN settings.

How to Change VPN Settings in Windows?

In some Windows 10 devices, the option to add a SIM card is present. The card lets you connect to a cellular network and stay online using this signal. You can set up an APN for your Windows 10 device.

  • Go to the Start menu and then to Settings.
  • Select Network and Internet and go to Cellular.
  • In this menu, go to Advanced Options and click on ‘Add an APN’.
  • Now, you have to type in the information such as the Profile Name, User name, Password, IP Type and APN Type.
  • To save these settings, click on Apply.
  • If you want to use this APN immediately, click on Apply this profile.
  • Then, click on Save.


Now, you know methods of changing APN settings on different devices. Your device will now work for SMS, data and MMS. For any specific information, go to the carrier’s website to find if your carrier uses a separate getaway or different APN settings.


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