Splash of Style...Macs, Photography, Design, and other Passions

Switched my iPhone 3GS from AT&T to PureTalkUSA

May 16, 2012 by debbie T | iTunes & iPhone

A few weeks ago, I never realized that there were other options for my older (out of contract) iPhone 3GS, but when the news broke that AT&T was now “unlocking” iPhones, I learned that there was money to be saved on my monthly bill!

So, after I completed the unlocking process for my iPhone 3GS, and a couple of weeks of online research, I decided to switch my monthly service from AT&T to PureTalkUSA.

Why did I choose Pure Talk?

Well, reason #1 was price. For $44, I would have unlimited talk and text and 300mb of data each month. AT&T only offered me 200mb; I had no trouble sticking to that allowance, so I knew 300mb would be plenty. PLUS, I’d be saving almost $20/month on my bill!

Another important reason was that PureTalk is an AT&T MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) which basically means they are an AT&T service reseller, buying the service in bulk and setting their own fees. I knew my network access/speed wouldn’t be compromised because it would still be AT&T.

I had considered trying T-Mobile’s prepaid service, but unfortunately at this time, TMo’s network runs on a different frequency, which would drop my service down to Edge/2G. Our home is in an area that doesn’t have good Edge service, so it would be really difficult to use my cellphone inside/around the house.

I did hear that TMo is in the process of upgrading, so eventually, they will be on par with AT&T as far as 3G access on the iPhone. I will definitely consider them in the future, but for now, Edge is just too spotty and slow for me.

For those curious to see my “notes”, here is a link to my cell provider comparison spreadsheet:

Setting Up With the Pure Talk

I ordered my free PureTalk simcard online, and it shipped quickly, and I received it in a matter of only a couple of days.

The sim card arrived with an instructional letter, which included important info for activation, like account and sim numbers. I couldn’t complete activation online, because I was porting over my old cell number; I called PureTalk’s customer service, and the process was quick and easy. The rep informed me that I’d receive an email when AT&T released the cell number; worse case scenario was 48 hours, but it rarely ever took that long.

I was thrilled to receive the email in only about 90 minutes! Yay.

So I removed the AT&T sim card and popped in the Pure Talk sim, and rebooted. It was so cool to see the “Pure GSM” text on my iPhone screen.

Setting up for Mobile Data Access with Pure Talk

Setting up text/talk was very easy, but mobile data access was a different story.

In order to set up the iPhone for data, the APN settings need to be changed to PureTalk’s specific configuration.

iPhone: Settings > General > Network > Cellular Data Network

I was at a dead stop because on my iPhone, the Cellular Data Network menu was unavailable!

can't find apn settings on my iphone

Thankfully, there was a safe, legal fix (doesn’t require a jailbreak).

Using a wifi connection on iPhone, browse to http://www.unlockit.co.nz – choose your cell provider, and save the new APN file to your iPhone. Keep that file there until you switch to another provider.

Happy With PureTalk

So, it’s only been a week or so, but I’m happy with PureTalk’s service so far. My cell/data access has been the same as with AT&T.

I’m on the fence about their customer service at this point. I have contacted them by email with two separate concerns, and received only one response in a timely manner. I did not receive a response to my second inquiry, even though a help ticket was opened.

Thankfully my question wasn’t incredibly important, but still, it would have been nice to receive an answer.

I will probably continue to use PureTalk, as I don’t think any other MVNO would be any better.

UPDATE 2013-07-28: I’ve been using PureTalk for over a year now, and it’s been great. They text me every month when they charge my credit card and I’ve had no problems. Wireless service is probably not as strong as if I were a direct AT&T customer, but it’s fine on my old (slow) iPhone 3GS. I like saving $money!

Changed My iPhone Data Plan With AT&T

January 7, 2011 by debbie T | iTunes & iPhone

Well, I finally did it. I lowered my iPhone data plan to the $15/month basic 200mb “Data Plus”

I was hesitant to leave my “unlimited” data plan, but looking back at my usage, I barely hit 150mb most months. There were occasional months that were over 200mb, and one month when I was a heavy Pandora Radio user, I hit 300+mb.

Most usage is on my own wireless network at home. And since my contract is up at the end of June, I don’t foresee staying with AT&T very much longer after that.

So, for now, I am saving $15 per month, and that’s good! I should have done it months ago!

UPDATE January 20, 2011: wouldn’t you know it. I was watching maybe 10 minutes of streaming video on my QVC app, and shut it off. I guess I didn’t shut it off properly, or there is a major bandwidth leak in the app, but a couple of hours later, I receive a text message (and email) from AT&T telling me that I’ve used 65% of my allotted data. Oh no! I check the QVC app, and it was still “running” in the background, so I quit…and then about an hour later, I receive two texts in a row telling me I’m at 75% then 100% of my data plan maximum.

Crap! So I call up AT&T, and long story short, I upgraded to the 2GB plan. sigh. I’ll sign in again at the beginning of the month to revert back down to the 200mb plan.

I was over the plan by 200mb, and duh, why did it take AT&T so long to inform me? Both text and email messages came too late! They were useless!

Using Handbrake to Copy DVD to Hard Drive, iPod & iPad

April 15, 2010 by debbie T | iTunes & iPhone

Disclaimer: I do not advocate illegal copying any DVDs that you do not rightfully own. Please respect the copyright of all DVDs.

This tutorial was written on a Mac, so the screenshots will be Mac, but it should be fairly easy for Windows users to follow along as well. It would be very helpful if you understand how to save files to your computer and other basic computer tasks.

Please don’t be afraid to try this. It might look very confusing and difficult with so many steps; but I tried to add as many details as possible, so it might look more overwhelming than it really is. Once you get started, it will hopefully be easy to follow along. Print out the tutorial for better comprehension.

Encoding is the process of transforming information from one format into another. So, we’re going to "encode" the files from a DVD into a format that can be played on your on your computer, iPhone, iPad, or iPod. This is also a great process to make a backup copy of your favorite DVDs.

The program Handbrake does all the encoding work for you! Easy!

Download & Install Handbrake

First, download Handbrake from http://handbrake.fr/ – it’s free!

There are versions for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. Make sure you are downloading the correct file for your operating system.

Install Handbrake to your computer.

If you need further help with Handbrake (beyond this tutorial), then please check out their Guide.

Once Handbrake is installed, insert a DVD movie into your computer’s DVD drive, and start up Handbrake. If your computer’s DVD Player also launches automatically when you insert the DVD, just close the player for now.

Read the Rest of the Article

TextExpander for iPhone

February 11, 2010 by debbie T | iTunes & iPhoneMac Software

I am still using TextPander (old old old version that was originally free) on my Mac, and I find myself missing the functionality when typing on my iPhone.

Good news, I found out that TextExpander is available for the iPhone! I just downloaded for only $2, BARGAIN!

For those that are not familiar with the app, it uses keystroke abbreviations to add snippets of text to your content. On my Mac, I use it a lot for signatures and even html coding. I find a lot of uses for it!

I will probably use it for signatures on the iPhone.

I haven’t installed on my iPhone yet, but I will post again after I have used it for a little while.

Cool Song from the Palm Pixi Commercial

November 30, 2009 by debbie T | iTunes & iPhoneRamblings

I just love that new Palm Pixi commercial. The song rocks.

So, of course I googled and found that it’s “Sleepyhead” by Passion Pit. I am so out of the loop, I didn’t even know who Passion Pit was, but I love the song, and bought it on Amazon tonight (woot! only .89)


Do I Love the iPhone?

July 2, 2009 by debbie T | Digital PhotographyiTunes & iPhoneWireless

So, I did pick up my new iPhone 3GS last weekend. Black, 32gb.

And I adore it! I love love love that I am able to have internet where ever I am. I loved the iPod Touch, but it was limited to only wifi, so I missed out on a lot. But the iPhone, oh I am in heaven!

I really love the camera, both still photographs and video are wonderful. And again, being able to upload or email immediately is so cool. (Can you guess this is my first Smart Phone? My husband has had a Blackberry for awhile, but this is MINE!)

iphone 3GS - photo of Mindy

The true test will be when we travel up north to New Hampshire or Maine. Don’t know how the AT&T service will fair in the boonies. I have a feeling I won’t be connecting on 3G, but it’ll be okay. My expectations are low, so I hope they will surprise me!

New iPhone?

June 27, 2009 by debbie T | iTunes & iPhoneMac Corner

I am just about ready to leave, heading to the Applestore to pick up a new iPhone. Thinking black 32gb. I will have to see both colors in person. The store told me they had both in stock.

I will also look at cases.

Gosh, this is exciting! Filled out the whole pre-authorization thing online so we’ll see how long it actually takes in store! whoo whooooo!

Song from the New Bud Light Lime Commercial (2009)

May 21, 2009 by debbie T | iTunes & iPhone

I have watched the new Bud Light Lime commercial a couple of times, and I love the song…googling only brought up findings for an older commercial from last year – the song “creator” from santogold.

I finally found the song on the Bud Light Lime web site; it’s also by Santogold, and the song is “Lights Out (Remix)” – get the free download! Grab it while it’s hot! Cool song!

UStream Now Available for iPhone & iTouch

January 20, 2009 by debbie T | iTunes & iPhoneMac Corner

Yay, UStream is offering an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Cool. Hmm, I wonder if the UStream Chat will work as well. Even though it’s not my favorite thing to type on the touch keyboard, it would be cool!

Allison, this is something we are going to have to test!

New iPod Touch yay

October 3, 2008 by debbie T | iTunes & iPhone

My dear sweet husband brought home a 32gb iPod Touch last weekend for me. I was thrilled. I downloaded a bunch of free apps, and loaded up my podcasts (video and audio) and I even paid .99 to purchase the cool koi pond app.

I was really thrilled about the 2g iPod Touch because of the built in speakers, but those turned out to be a drag for listening to podcasts or audio unless the room is very quiet. Not so great for the car or work. It’s great for games though.

I am not thrilled w/ the keyboard, and I am hoping I just need to get used to it. My fingers are not large, but it is so easy to hit the wrong key. I tried all day to gain access to our home’s WPA wifi network, and finally, I had to change our WPA passkey to something w/ no capital letters. No matter what I did, it would not accept my passkey. I also wish there was an option to “view” password instead of hiding it, so I could see if I was typing it correctly.

I don’t know if I will be doing much typing on it. I think it could be cool for browsing and reading though.

The screen rocks! I love it. And my photos look wonderful on it, although it took me a bit to figure out how to change from portrait to landscape view. I was holding the iTouch flat instead of upward. Once it’s held upward, changing to landscape view is quick.

I love it, and am very happy that I have one now…and the 32gb was a nice surprise. I would have been happy w/ an 8 or 16gb, but the 32gb will be awesome! Can’t wait to mess around more w/ the cool games and apps.