How to Get Reasonably Priced Pay As You Go Data (and Calls and Texts) on an Unlocked iPhone in the US

Here is a system that has worked for me in the USA on an iPhone 4 and an iPhone 5 in July 2012 and February 2013. Both phones were not locked to any particular carrier but they were not jailbroken.

  1. Visit an AT&T store or otherwise get a GoPhone SIM that fits your phone (micro sim or nano sim). Choose whatever rate plan suits your needs. I’m partial to the $25 for 30 days unlimited texts and 250 minutes. Note that the salesperson will almost certainly tell you that you won’t be able to get data on this plan – they are wrong just say ok!
  2. Connect your phone to wifi somewhere (Starbucks if all else fails!) Visit unlockit.co.nz through your phone’s browser. This site is going to make twiddling your internet settings a lot easier – it doesn’t jailbreak or carrier-unlock your phone it just changes internet access settings in a simple way. Choose Create APN, “USA” and “GoPhone”. Press “Install” to install the settings.
  3. Set up a PIN for your account by getting it texted to the phone. You can choose “Forgot Password” from the GoPhone login page to set it up.
  4. Sign in to your GoPhone account and add a data package (200MB for 30 days for $15 for light usage or 1GB for 30 days for $25 for heavier usage). You’ll need a credit/debit card to do this entirely online or you can use a refill card you bought in a store.

And that’s it. You may need to remove the APN settings that you installed when/if you leave the US.

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