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Arvi Krishnaswamy

Entrepreneur and Tech Executive

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Ok, I'll have to assume you've already unlocked and jailbroken it. If not, ethical ground aside, head here - you can finish this over your morning coffee, and it requires minimal tech knowledge. And don't worry, its extremely hard to brick your phone.

Now that you've done that, you'll love these apps off Cydia which Apple didnt approve on their store, but truly tap into the full potential of the device:
  1. Cycorder: If you are still on a 2G device without video cam capabilities, you'd love Cycorder.
  2. Pixelpipe & PPVideoEnabler: These together let you upload your videos directly over Wi-Fi to Youtube, Facebook, and several other sites without needing to go through your computer.
  3. Backgrounder: Work around Apple's frustrating lock on multitasking by using this little app to background apps. Now, you can run Skype in the background while doing other things with your phone.
  4. MCleaner: Are you sick and tired of the daily SMS spam? MCleaner enables you to set up whitelist and blacklist filters so you can avoid the marketeers. It works for calls as well in case there's someone whom you are trying to avoid.

But then, this post was about tethering your iPhone and laptop! I'm actually writing this post off my laptop, sitting at a Cafe Coffee Day. My laptop taps into my iPhone as if it were a wireless router, and I surf away to glory.

First, the prereq: download and install PdaNet off Cydia. It's free and is hosted by ModMyi.com (add the repository if Cydia doesnt have it).

And now, in three really easy steps:
  1. Set up a Wi-Fi network off your laptop, which your iPhone will join. You got that - it's not the other way around. Go to Control Panel>>Network Connections>>Wireless Network Connection Properties>>Add. The Add button lets you create ad hoc networks. Pick any Network Name (SSID), choose WEP and ensure you stick in a decent password. Be sure to check 'This is a computer to computer network; wireless access points are not used'.
  2. Now, switch over to your iPhone, go to Settings and join the Wi-Fi network you've just created.
  3. You are almost done! Open PdaNet and let it check the Wi-Fi connection and complete tethering. Congrats! Surf away :-)

Now a few caveats. You'll need to be sensitive to which GPRS data plan with Airtel or Vodafone you have. These days, they've dropped their prices significantly, and I have an unlimited plan. You may noticed that this uses WEP and not WPA. While this isn't ideal from a security perspective, this is the only option to get tethering working. Tethering also drains your iPhone battery, so keep it plugged into your laptop at low brightness. Speeds aren't great - you are limited by the carrier network, but this beats the speeds you'd get out of paid Wi-Fi at a cafe or airport lounge in India. And finally, exiting PdaNet will disconnect you. You can work around this by installing the Backgrounder app mentioned earlier in this post.

If you need any help getting this working, give me a shout.