Dear Lifehacker, For Xmas I received an brand new iPad (with 3G), but I also have an iPhone 3GS with a data plan. I do not really want to go and get another data plan as I very rarely use all the allowance for the iPhone plan, as I mainly use them both at home or in the office. What I would love to do is ‘share’ the phone’s mobile broadband with the iPad. Any suggestions? Yours, SIM Sage
Picture by bfishadow
Dear SIM Sage,
While being able to share your data allowance between an iPhone and an iPad would be great, it isn't something that's possible with a standard iPhone and iPad combo. Mostly this is a decision about profitability rather than user convenience; telcos (and Apple) make more if they can sell you two SIMs.
While the iPhone includes a tethering option to allow sharing its connection with another device, this works via USB or Bluetooth, which means the iPad itself is out. (In Australia, we're also relatively lucky that the tethering option is widely available through all iPhone carriers and doesn't cost a fortune; in the US, the reverse applies, though that's partly a consequence of offering no download limits on some iPhone plans and then trying to restrict those being used all the time.)
As with many iPhone-related issues, to solve the problem you need to jailbreak your phone so it can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Not everyone is happy to do that, but it does have a number of benefits. If you choose to go that route, here's the steps to follow (as detailed by Lifehacker US writer Adam Dachis, who recently solved a similar problem for a stateside reader):
- First, you need to jailbreak your iPhone.
- Second, download the MyWi app from the Cydia store (which you'll find on your jailbroken iPhone). You may have to search for it, but chances are you'll just see it advertised on the Cydia front page. To buy it, you'll need to authorise your account through Google or Facebook and Amazon or Paypal. Once you've purchased MyWi, click the install button in Cydia and it'll install it on your iPhone.
- Finally, launch MyWi application from your iPhone's home screen and click the Wi-Fi button up top (the second button from the left). All you have to do is flip the "WiFi Hotspot" toggle and you're ready to connect any other device via Wi-Fi. (You should also enable the WEP security option to stop wholesale leeching of your connection by fellow commuters.)
If you don't fancy jailbreaking, the other possible option is to plug your iPhone SIM into some kind of Wi-Fi hotspot device to share its connection. However, that means carrying the hotspot around as well, and having a phone that won't receive calls while you've taken the SIM out. But since most iPad SIM plans in Australia are pre-paid, experimenting to find out your actual usage isn't too expensive.