Purple Surfer

Purple Surfer: How to tether your iPhone as an EDGE modem with your Mac

Prof. Dr. Jan Borchers, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
January 17, 2008

Disclaimer: Jailbreaking your iPhone is legal, but may void your Apple warranty. Using our iPhone as an EDGE modem may violate the terms of your iPhone telecom service provider - please check the applicable terms of your iPhone contract. This information is provided for educational purposes only.

Update: Tethering iPhone 3G

PDA Net provides a streamlined process to experiment with tethering iPhones, both EDGE and 3G. It's free for basic HTTP traffic. All other traffic requires purchasing a license after a trial period.

Sample configuration for this experiment:
  • US (AT&T) iPhone 1.1.1, jailbroken with http://jailbreakme.com (dead simple, one click)
  • Mac OS X 10.5.1
  • iTunes 7.5

Plug in iPhone, let iTunes launch, and leave it running (iPhoto is not needed)

Download http://rapidshare.com/files/51980432/iPHUCtetherkit-osx.zip

Move the extracted folder to the root(!) folder (/) of your hard disk. Otherwise the script won't find its files.

Then, in Terminal:

cd /
cd iPHUCtetherkit-osx
chmod a+x tetherify-osx-intel.sh
(follow the script's instructions about rebooting the iPhone twice)

Then follow instructions at http://cre.ations.net/blog/post/tether-your-iphone to create a local WiFi network on your Mac and connect your iPhone to it. The iPhone will complain that it cannot connect to the network, but will still select the network and put a checkmark next to it. Keep following the same instructions to set the SOCKS proxy on your Mac (in System Preferences - Network - Advanced). I recommend creating a new Location such as "Purple Surfer" first, and setting the WiFi network settings on your Mac for that new location so you don't mess up your standard settings.

Use Safari on the iPhone to wake up the EDGE connection. You may occasionally have to do this, and turn WiFi on and off on the iPhone, until the phone works as EDGE modem (again). The connection is flaky and may drop out after a few minutes of inactivity - or maybe it's because the iPhone freaks out since it's connected to something via EDGE and WiFi at the same time, and closes one of them.

A good test is to type into the Mac Terminal:

telnet 1080

If it answers with "Connected" you know the srelay server is running on the iPhone and reachable.

Also, setting your iPhone to never sleep (Settings - General - Auto-Lock), and keeping a separate Terminal window open that keeps pinging the iPhone may help to keep the connection awake. If the connection drops, open a page in Safari on the iPhone until the EDGE symbol reappears in the iPhone menu bar.

Limitations: While this appears to provide basic web access successfully (including .Mac webmail, other uses such as email, and certain web sites (such as http://www.gmail.com) have been reported not to work.

Why the name?
Purple Surfer refers to the iPhone's internal codename "Purple2" at Apple while it was under development. And as this hack doesn't let you do much more than surfing the web...

Happy Purple Surfing!

- Jan

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