iPhone Tethering on Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic)

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If you're like me you have an iPhone and a portable computer running Ubuntu and you would like to have mobile internet without paying for an extra data plan from your carrier. Thanks to a few devoted individuals tethering the iPhone to Ubuntu is simple. The only prerequisite is that you must have an iPhone 3G or 3GS running OS 3.0 or higher. If you're running 3.0 then you can do this without jail breaking your phone by installing a modified carrier profile. However, if you're on OS 3.1+ then you will need to jail break your phone to install the modified carrier profile.

This tutorial is written for those who are not familiar with Ubuntu/Linux and is very detailed. If you are experienced feel free to just grab what you need from it.

Update: I've updated the tutorial to fix some errors that came up due to a change in the libiphone package.

Update (1/27/10): I've updated the tutorial with a new PPA and set of packages needed for tethering via USB to work. This should iron out all other problems with the tutorial.

Tethering the iPhone via Bluetooth is as simple as pairing the two devices and ensuring that Internet Tethering is turned on on your iPhone. To pair the devices you will need to install a new Bluetooth manager aptly named "blueman" from the Blueman Project PPA repository. To do this you will need to execute the following commands in a new Terminal window:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:blueman/ppa
sudo apt-get update

After it finishes updating your repositories you can install Blueman by executing

sudo apt-get install blueman

Once everything stops working and you're back at a blank command prompt you can then close Terminal and open the "Bluetooth Manager" which can be found in the "System>Preferences" menu. (Note: A reboot may be needed for it to open) To pair the devices you will need to turn on Bluetooh on your iPhone and computer. To turn it on on your iPhone open the Settings application from your springboard, when the settings screen appears press the "General" button near the bottom, from here press the "Bluetooth" button, and then press the switch to turn it on. Once on you should see a list of devices as well as a message near the bottom saying that it is "Now Discoverable". In the "Bluetooth Manager" program press the "search" button and the list should be populated with nearby discoverable Bluetooth devices. Locate your iPhone 3G(S) from the list, select it, and press the "Keys" (pair) button above it. At this time Bluetooth Manager will attempt to pair the two devices. On both the iPhone and your computer you should see a prompt asking you if you want to pair the two. Press "Pair" on your iPhone and "Yes" on your computer. Once paired, press the diamond on Bluetooth Manager to trust your iPhone.

Now that everything is set up, you can go back into the "General" tab on your iPhone's settings and select "Network"  near the bottom you should see "Internet Tethering" (if you don't then you need to install the proper carrier profile to enable it) press on it and turn it on. Lastly, go back to the Bluetooth Manager program on your computer, right click on your iPhone and select "Network Access Point" from the option "Connect to:" it will work and hopefully give you a "Connection Established" message. Your iPhone should now have a blue banner with "Internet Tethering" on it. If all went well, you should now be able to access the internet through your iPhone's data connection.

Thanks to Sergey Stadnik Bluetooth tethering on 10.4 (Lucid) now works. According to him: "... right-click on the Blueman icon, select Plugins. Enable NMPANSupport plugin, press Ok."

Tether via USB:

Tethering your iPhone via USB uses a iPhone Ethernet driver written by Diego Giagio. Paul McEnery has set up a PPA repository with the driver and it's dependencies so there is no longer the need to compile both ‘libiphone' and ‘ipheth'. The first step is to add the PPA repository to your Synaptic repositories. To do so, open a new Terminal window and execute the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pmcenery/ppa
sudo apt-get update

Once it finishes updating you can continue by downloading and installing the driver and the needed dependency:

sudo apt-get install gvfs ipheth-utils

When it finishes plug in your iPhone via USB, if internet tethering is enabled you should see a new interface pop up and a blue banner on your iPhone along with a dialog on your computer notifying you about a new ethernet connect. If not, check to see if tethering is enabled by opening the Settings application on your iPhone and navigating to "General>Network", near the bottom you should see "Internet Tethering" (if you don't then you will need to download and install the proper carrier profile) press on it and turn it on. Open up a browser and enjoy your mobile internet.

Hopefully, you ran into no errors with this tutorial. If you did let me know, or let me know if you ran into any error with anything else pertaining to it.


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175 Responses

  1. Ludwix says:

    Thank you Sergey Stadnik, your tip did the trick

    “To make bluetooth tethering work in Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), right-click on the Blueman icon, select Plugins. Enable NMPANSupport plugin, press Ok.”

    Posting this via internet tethering working 🙂

  2. Kimerus says:

    I’m using Ubuntu 10.04, but i have a problem that the ipheth-utils can’t be found.Help me!

  3. Ruben says:

    Thanks !

    I was looking for my new ubuntu netbook remix 10.4 and my iphone 3GS and works fine ! by bluetooth

    Thanks again !

  4. Mats says:

    Following my belief that all things worth doing starts with a good dose of Googling, I arrived at this page, in search for how to USB tether my Android phone to my Lubuntu 10.4 netbook. After reading it thru, said to myself “What the heck” and went ahead and just plugged the phone in and switched on Internet tethering. And lo and behold – The netbook just picked it up and connected. Linux has come a long way!

  5. Steve says:

    Thanks very much for this.. worked beautifully!

  6. Ed in Yorkshire says:

    I am a complete Linux (and everything else) novice, but just like mucking about. Cut-and-paste suggestions into terminal is about my level. I had iPhone tethering working nicely on Ubuntu netbook edition (many thanks by the way) but then an advertised upgrade messed up my windows (something to do with metacity apparently).
    Anyway, I had to re-install completely (using Wubi)and am trying Xubuntu instead, just cos it’s even lighter and I don’t do much when out and about except write a bit & surf a bit. I can’t get this (USB) tethering trick to work in Xubuntu. Anyone know if it should?

  7. peppino al says:

    Tank you for info.It work very well.

  8. did says:

    Works great! thank you so much! (Ubuntu Remix)

  9. Ullrich says:

    Hey, that’s cool.
    Runs out of the box on my Ubuntu 10.04 with 2G and MyWi



  10. Alan Rebouças says:


    I don’t have bluetooth device, so I need to use the USB device.

    I instaled the packages that you said and the my Ubuntu 9.04 recognized the iphone like a modem. But the problem is: when my notebook try to get an ip with dhcp, the Iphone don’t send to me the IP.

    I tried the tethering with Windows XP and work’s very well, but the ubuntu can’t get an IP with dhcp.

    Please.. help me!


  11. dan says:

    Worked. Thanks!

  12. Rueda-Ubu says:

    it worked perfect thank you!!!

  13. karin says:

    Thanks. keep up your good work. I am gradually switching to Linux.

  14. Marcus says:

    I tried the bluetooth way and I did everything you said and it does not work. I have a iPhone 4, and I know it has worked before but when I reinstalled the OS it does not work anymore, I have tried reinstalling it many times. The USB way does not work either.

  15. Marcus says:

    Nvm my comment it works wonders now thanks =D

  16. john says:

    coool!! i love it:D

    thanks dude

  17. R. Daneel Olivaw says:

    Worked out of the box on Ubuntu 10.04 ! Really impressive.

    Thanks a lot.

  18. PixAMF says:

    USB tether worked as soon as I rebooted – iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3 and Ubuntu 10.04. Thanks

  19. Jani says:

    Works like a charm, absolutely fantastic! Thanks! My setup’s iPhone 3GS and Kubuntu 10.04.

  20. peppinoalv says:

    But the problem is:for make this you have need a internet connession.Whitout telephon connected is impossible.
    ciao at all

  21. desteyo says:

    I am afraid I am trying to use it with an iphone g4 and Ubuntu Maverick 10.10 and it is not working 🙁
    The funny thing is that sometimes the blue line on the iphone showing that it works is on but I don’t get the wlan icon on Ubuntu… Any clue?

  22. JB says:

    Hey, Please i cant get this to work tried everything and still no luck. Iam using 3gs ios 4.1 and Ubuntu 10.10. Installed the package just fine and when i connect my 3gs to the computer rhytmbox and picture manager wants to open it so Ubuntu finds the Iphone 3gs. But the threatening wont work. Tried reboot but still nothing. Please any one that can help me i need to use my Iphone as modem when iam working. Post here or send me an email on [email protected]

  23. Kimerus says:

    I Have the same problem of JB. Can anyone help us?

    [email protected] or post here!

  24. Olav says:

    I was happy to find that for my Iphone 3G (4.0.2, without jailbreak) and Ubuntu 10.04 it worked out of the box. But after upgrading to 10.10 it does not work anymore.

  25. Paul McEnery says:

    I think the problem with 10.10 is that ipheth-dkms is no longer required.

    I’ll upload the latest Debian package which no longer requires ipheth-dkms – but I’ll still provide ipheth-dkms which has been patched to solve this problem…


    When you upgrade, please REMOVE ipheth-dkms.

    ipeth was included in the mainstream kernel as of 2.6.34.

    Sorry for the inconvenience…


  26. zippo says:

    i’m a big noob here can anybody help me step by step?

  27. bobele says:

    Works very well, great!

  28. kanro says:

    I’m working with an iPhone 3GS, OS 4.0, and Ubuntu 10.04.

    I’ve got tethering turned on on the iPhone and the packages installed, no errors there, but when I connect the iPhone nothing shows up in network connections. Nothing changes on either the iPhone or my computer. Do you think this might have anything do with wicd?

  29. Piolin13 says:

    I was happy to find that for my Iphone 3G (4.0.2, without jailbreak) and Ubuntu 10.04 it worked out of the box.

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