For those of you using iPhones on cellular (EGPRS/GPRS/EDGE/G3) networks that do not include unlimited data access, you probably want to disable Internet access through your service provider’s network, and use only wifi for Internet access. In the first generation iPhone, you could disable cellular Internet access by changing the APN (access point name) in the Settings utility on the phone.

In the new iPhone 2.0, however, Apple gave service providers the ability to disable this setting so you’ll automatically connect to the Internet through their network and incur their data access fees. Sneaky, and evil.

To change the APN in iPhone 2.0, with underhanded carriers that disable the option in the iPhone Settings, you need the iPhone Configuration Utility, which is provided for enterprise customers to deploy configurations within their organization. For your convenience, I’ve created a basic configuration profile that does just one thing: sets the APN to “NULL”, so that your phone won’t be able to use your cellular provider’s Internet service. Here it is.

To install it on your phone, simply e-mail it to yourself as an attachment, and open it on your iPhone. When you click on the attachment on your iPhone, it will prompt you about applying the new configuration, and warn you about no trusted signature (I didn’t pay Verisign). Once the profile is installed, it won’t be possible for your iPhone to use your carrier’s network for Internet access. If you wish to re-enable cellular data access, all you need to do is open Settings -> General -> Profile, and remove the profile. The phone might require a reboot after removing the profile.