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If you’re like most smartphone users, chances are you aren’t familiar with your phone’s Access Point Name (APN) settings — until you need to fix them.
So what is an APN setting? In short, it’s information you program into your smartphone to access the carrier network. This allows you to use mobile data, place phone calls and send and receive text messages.
To connect you to the internet, your mobile carrier reads the APN settings on your device and then generates an IP address for it. Once your carrier establishes the connection, you’re free to use your favorite internet-enabled apps, text your best friend or call your mom.
But for everything to run smoothly, your APN settings have to be configured correctly. Otherwise, even if they’re just slightly off, you won’t be able to access the carrier network.
On this page:
What happens if my APN settings are off?
There are a few telltale indications that your APN settings aren’t configured properly. For instance, you won’t be able to send and receive text messages or make phone calls. Also, you might not be able to access websites or internet-enabled apps using mobile data, but they function when you’re using Wi-Fi. Finally, you might see your mobile data settings greyed out or unavailable. If this happens to you, it’s time to address your APN settings.
Can this affect my AT&T phone?
If your mobile data has suddenly stopped working and you suspect your APN settings might be to blame, there are several likely culprits. For example, some people find that bringing an older, non-AT&T phone to the network might require a re-configuring of the APN settings. The same applies if you’ve recently inserted a new SIM card into your phone. Recently updating your phone’s software could provide another possible explanation for why you need to update your APN settings.
Don’t fret if this all seems a bit too technical. We’ll walk you through the process with a step-by-step tutorial, depending on the type of device you have. Plus, it might bring you some comfort to note that updating the APN settings on your phone won’t affect anything else on your device, so you don’t have to worry about permanently messing with your phone’s settings. That said, it’s still important to read all of the instructions carefully, so you understand the process and the logic behind the updates you’re making.
What are the AT&T APN settings?
In most cases, your device should automatically populate the correct APN settings if you have a compatible SIM card and an active AT&T data plan. But sometimes, especially if you’ve inserted a new SIM card or recently updated your phone, you might have to program these settings manually.
If you’re updating your APN settings manually, you must enter all of the details exactly as they appear below, including capitalization and punctuation. Any fields that read “none,” “not set” or “unspecified” should be left blank.
Here are the AT&T APN settings for 2020 (from the official AT&T website):
iPhone vs. Android APN settings
How do you access your APN settings? It depends on whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android device.
Updating APN settings on an iPhone or iPad
If you have an iPhone, you typically won’t have to modify your APN settings when you insert a new SIM card. In most cases, your device should automatically set them for you. But if you’re having trouble accessing mobile data after popping in a new SIM, you may need to configure them manually.
According to Apple support, you should be able to find your APN settings in one of these two locations:
- Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Cellular Network
- Settings > Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options > Mobile Data Network
Please note: If you’ve located your APN settings and they’re greyed out so you can’t edit them, you should get in touch with AT&T support.
Before trying to update the APN settings yourself, it’s worth trying to reset them first by clicking Reset Settings. Doing this should revert your phone to AT&T’s default APN settings. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then it’s time to adjust the settings in accordance with the AT&T APN settings we’ve outlined in the section above.
In the future, you may notice that you can’t access mobile data after updating iOS. That’s because Apple automatically resets your APN settings when you update your software. If you can’t connect to the AT&T cellular network after an update, verify your APN settings and modify them again if necessary.
Updating APN settings on an Android device
If you’re an Android user, you may find that you need to modify your APN settings after completing a software update. The location of your APN settings may vary a bit depending on your phone’s manufacturer and the software version you’re running, but here’s a general overview of where to find them:
- Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names
Once you’ve located the APN settings on your Android device, try resetting them to see if that fixes your connection. If not, enter the AT&T APN settings listed in the table above, being careful to enter them exactly as they appear on this page.
After you’ve learned the signs of misconfigured APN settings and understand how to fix them, you can quickly identify and correct this common problem. If you’ve tried resetting and manually re-programming your APN settings, but you still can’t access the mobile network, you’ll need to get in touch with AT&T to troubleshoot.
By Taylor Freitas
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