In the SafeLink vs Qlink comparison review, we saw the latter offer unlimited data with up to 28GB of high-speed browsing. But even with high-speed data, you might still be unable to load a browser page or open apps. The issue can happen for various reasons, albeit the most common one is if you don’t know what are the APN settings for Qlink Wireless.
Well, this is not surprising at all, as not many bother to check the settings of their phones. Some don’t even know where they can find the settings menu, leave alone make the necessary adjustments.
Regardless, knowing how to make adjustments like APN settings is crucial if you want to make the most of your device. If the APN settings are incorrect, the data functions of your device won’t work properly. And this will lead to issues like not being able to browse, open an app, or use MMS, iMessage, et cetera.
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What is APN, and Why Does it Matter on My Phone
In general, every smart device (phone/ tablet) will need a clear network path for the cellular data function to work. Access Point Name (or APN) is the information that defines this network path for the cellular data connectivity of your carrier.
In simple terms, APN is the information settings your phone/ tablet reads to get a connection to the gateway between your carrier network and the public internet.
What happens is that when you use your device to access the internet, your carrier uses the APN details to give it an IP address. An IP address is a unique identifier your device will then use to send and receive online requests from the internet successfully.
If by chance two devices have similar IP addresses, the original device may not receive the results of the requests it made.
When dealing with phones, though, it’s rare to encounter IP address conflict (where multiple devices have similar IP identifiers). The connection is also usually secure as the addresses (both public and private) keep changing all of the time.
The public address is what connects the network of the carrier to the internet: they are usually many IP addresses. Then the private IP address is which connects your service to the nearest cell tower.
Now, the carrier won’t generate these IP addresses if you’ve filled in the wrong information under the APN settings of your phone. And this means your device won’t be able to communicate with other devices on the internet.
But Qlink Doesn’t Have Cell Towers of its Own
Although a free cell phone service, Qlink works just like any other cellular carrier. As an MVNO (or mobile virtual network operator), though, it doesn’t have its own cell tower. Instead, it has partnered with a main carrier with the infrastructure needed.
T-Mobile is the carrier network Qlink uses to offer its service, which means your phone will ping to its (T-Mobile’s) cell towers across the country. Hence, the reason your lifeline phone doesn’t work in areas where T-Mobile phones also don’t have coverage.
Nonetheless, we’ve just seen the data services of your Qlink phone may even fail in native T-Mobile coverage areas. One of the reasons this may happen is when you have incorrect APN settings on the device in question.
Similar to any other MVNO, Qlink has its own APN settings that are different from those of the Carrier Network, T-Mobile.
In many cases, though, you can input the APN details of a main carrier on a phone of its MVNO and it works. I’ve confirmed this with Mint Mobile phone (set with T-Mobile APN details), albeit I’m yet to prove it on Qlink.
When You May Need to Adjust APN Settings for Qlink Wireless
You now know your phone, whether from Qlink or any other operator, won’t have data access without the correct APN settings. In most cases, this is not always a problem, as the carriers automatically fill in the APN information.
In particular with the branded phones, such as that Qlink sends you, they have bloatware to “help enhance your service experience”. Part of the areas carrier target with bloatware (when used legitimately without predatory agenda) is network settings. The phone will come with preprogrammed APN settings, either all or at least for calls.
Long story short, the various situations you may need to adjust APN settings for Qlink Wireless phone include when you:
- Activate your service for the first time. Especially when you bring your own phone, you must update the APN settings for the new provider. But Qlink does try to update its APN automatically, which is why they recommend resetting the network settings before you insert the SIM.
- Change between phones (either for replacement or upgrade). But again, the aspect is most common with factory-unlocked BYOP devices.
- Swap SIM cards with your phone. When you do this, your phone will always download the network profile the particular SIM card uses. And this means it will reconfigure the APN information if that other SIM card wasn’t Qlink.
- Use a carrier-branded phone with your SIM card. What happens here is that a phone that is/ was locked to another carrier will always want to go back to the dedicated APN. Say it’s an unlocked AT&T phone, you can set the Qlink APN but after a couple of weeks, it reverts to the original settings.
- Reset your phone to factory default. When done, it will delete all the data and settings, including the ones for the network. And this means you’ll have to reconfigure your device afresh as if it was a new activation.
What are the APN Settings for Qlink Wireless
No matter who’s the carrier of your cellular service, there are two ways how to configure the APN settings of your phone:
- Automatic APN configuration: this is where the carrier updates the network details of your phone automatically. It’s usually the best route as your phone will get to have the best and latest APN bundle available for the supported network (4G LTE or 5G).
- Manual APN configuration: this now is where you have to manually enter the network information of the carrier on your phone. It’s straightforward to do as you just need to fill in the information given in the provided spaces. But again, the method is also not always effective since the APN information you’re referring to may be outdated.
Part A: What are the APN Settings for Qlink Wireless on Android Phones
In some cases, a cellular carrier will have the same APN information for Android and Apple phones. But in other cases, there are different settings for the various operating systems.
For instance, to configure the APN settings for Qlink Wireless on Android phones:
- Go to the settings menu (make sure WiFi and Mobile Data are on before you proceed)
- Select the “Network & Internet” tab (“Mobile Network” or “WiFi & Network” on some phones)
- Tap the “Advanced” button to display the hidden submenus
- In the new list of submenus, locate and select the “Access Point Names (APN)” tab
- Next, select the Qlink APN profile from the listed options. If Qlink profile is unavailable, tap the “+” on the top right (or “New APN” on some phones)
- Now fill in the APN details of Qlink on the appropriate spaces as listed below
|APN Protocol:||Select > IPv4/IPv6|
|APN Roaming Protocol:||Leave blank or keep the same|
- Recheck the APN details you have just entered to make sure they are correct
- If all the details are correct, save them. (You can do that by tapping on the ellipsis [three dots on top right], then select the “Save” or checkmark button.
- When you go back to the saved APN profiles in Step A (5), the Qlink settings you’ve just saved should now be on the list. Select it.
- Finally, restart your Qlink phone for the APN configuration to take effect. After the device is back on, check your data connection to make sure everything works. You can try loading a browser page, opening an app, or sending a picture message (MMS).
Part 2: What are the APN Settings for Qlink Wireless on Apple Phones
If you’re using your Qlink service with an iPhone, iOS will do what it always does. And that’s it will download the profile of the carrier, which includes configuring the APN settings. You just need to go to Settings >> Cellular >> Cellular Data Network
If the device doesn’t update the information automatically, you can try to fill in the parameters manually as below:
- Go to the “Settings” menu
- Select the “Cellular” tab
- Tap the “Cellular Data Network” option
- Next, input the APN settings below in the appropriate spaces. The details should save automatically, and when done you should have a data connection.
|MMS Proxy||Leave blank|
|MMS Max Text Size:||1048576|
|MMS UA Prof URL:||http://www.apple.com/mms/uaprof.rdf|
If the iPhone is still having connectivity issues, the carrier settings bundle on your device could be the issue. You can try to resolve it by updating to the newest settings pack, which is easy to do :
- Go to the “settings” menu again
- Tap the “General” tab
- Next, click on the “About” button and you’ll see if your device is eligible for an update or not.
- If the Apple device is eligible for a Carriers Settings Update, you get a prompt to “update” or skip for later.
Try the Main Carrier APN or Reset to Default
Whether the issue is with just sending picture messages or all data connection, that’s everything relevant you should know on the APN settings for Qlink Wireless. They are straightforward to understand and make work, both on Android and iOS phones.
One thing you should remember is that phone carriers tend to change the APN settings of their network from time to time. And this should explain why the information you used to activate your device last year may fail to work today.
But if the APN details you have of an MVNO (like Qlink) fail to work, it’s wise to try the settings of the Carrier Network, T-Mobile. The two are using the towers of Main Carrier to connect, anyways.
If unlucky and the manual APN settings you have for MVNO and Main Carrier still fail to work, you can try to force an automatic configuration. You just need to reset the network settings to default, then wait for the provider (Qlink in this case) to send a configuration message.