How to Use Cellular Data Options on the iPad mini

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

You see an extra set of settings only if you have a cellular model iPad mini. The options appear on the right pane of the Settings screen when you highlight Cellular Data on the left:

  • Cellular Data: If you know you don’t need the cellular network when you’re out and about or are in an area where you don’t have access to the network, turn it off. Your battery will thank you later. But even if you have access to a speedy cellular network, be prudent; in a 4G environment where you can easily consume gobs of data, your data allowance may run out all too quickly.

  • Enable LTE: LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. What it really stands for is speed. Turn Enable LTE on for the fastest possible cellular data connection if you’re in range. The biggest disadvantage is that you can eat up data awfully fast.

  • Data Roaming: You may unwittingly rack up lofty roaming fees when exchanging email, surfing with Safari, or engaging in other data-heavy activities while traveling abroad. Turn off Data Roaming to avoid such potential charges. You will see the Data Roaming option only if you have turned on Cellular Data.

  • Account Information: Tap View Account to see or edit your account information or to add more data.

  • Add a SIM PIN: The tiny SIM, or Subscriber Identity Module, card inside your iPad with cellular holds important data about your account. To add a PIN or a passcode to lock your SIM card, tap SIM PIN. That way, if someone gets hold of your SIM, he or she can’t use it in another iPad without the passcode.

    If you assign a PIN to your SIM, you have to enter it to turn the iPad on or off, which some might consider a minor hassle. And be aware that the SIM PIN is different from and may be in addition to any passcode you set for the iPad.

  • Personal Hotspot: Tap Personal Hotspot to share your iPad mini’s data connection with any other devices you carry: perhaps a computer or smartphone. Just know that extra charges may apply and even if it doesn’t you will rack up that much extra data. You or the owner of the device piggybacking on your Internet connection have to enter the designated password generated by the iPad for the Hotspot connection to make nice. You can use the hotspot feature via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, or by connecting a USB cable.

  • Use Cellular Data For: You can use your cellular connection for iCloud documents, iTunes, a Safari reading list, and certain third-party apps. You can see just how much data you’re using on your apps and, if need be, shut down an app that’s sucking up way too much. You can also decide whether or not to use cellular connections for FaceTime or for such system services as networking and Siri.

  • Cellular Data Usage: This lists how much cellular data you’ve consumed for the current period. You also can see whether you’re using up data while roaming. Overall, you’ll know if you’re closing in on your monthly data allowance.