We’re not quite sure how many of you out there are iPhone owners, but our guess is that there’s at least a good handful of you who will be able to benefit from free Wi-Fi for your phone. First it started as a rumor but now it has been confirmed that AT&T is now offering iPhone subscribers free Wi-Fi access at Starbucks and Barnes and Noble locations. When you bring your phone in to those locations, a login prompt will appear on your screen, you enter your phone number in, and in no time you’ll be surfing the web on a Wi-Fi network (which we all know is much faster than the Edge network) for free. Nice.

Take a look at the log-in screen that you’ll see (image from Gear Diary):

iphone free wifi.png

I was sitting here thinking to myself, “now wouldn’t it be nice if you could somehow get free Wi-Fi on your laptop using your iPhone?” And then I read the MacRumors article where they explained how you could get the free iPhone WiFi through your laptop. Because AT&T’s system is based upon the iPhone’s User Agent, there’s a quick work-around that can be done. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Open Safari and go to preferences
  2. Click the Advanced tab and check the box that says “show develop menu in menu bar”
  3. Go up to the Develop Menu > User Agent > Mobile Safari 1.1.3 – iPhone
  4. Open a new window, enter in your iPhone number and you’ll be good to go!

If you’re using another browser besides Safari, there are extensions and other tools you could use to change the user agent if you really wanted to.

The only disappointing thing out of all of this is that it is limited to only iPhone users. Wouldn’t it be nice if more places offered free Wi-Fi access for all of their customers? Panera is one of those places that has done this for quite a while, and I’m sure they’re able to get some extra business because of it.