How Do You Select Wi-Fi or Cellular Data on the iPad?

By Travis Meyer

The iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models include both a Wi-Fi receiver and a cellular data service receiver built in to the device for connecting to the Web. The two receivers work hand-in-hand to provide options for maintaining connections to the Internet and conserving battery life. When you find yourself in range of a wireless network, use the device’s preferences panel to deactivate the optional 3G data service. When you're not near a Wi-Fi network, deactivate the wireless receiver to extend your iPad's battery-life.


Tap the Settings app on your iPad.

Tap “Wi-Fi” in the left side bar.

Toggle the “Wi-Fi” switch to the “ON” position to activate the Wi-Fi receiver. Tap a Wi-Fi network displayed in the list below the Wi-Fi toggle switch to connect to a network.

Cellular Data Service

Tap the Settings app on the home screen of the iPad.

Tap “Cellular Data” in the left side bar of the Settings menu.

Toggle the “Cellular Data” switch to the “ON” position to activate the 3G data service on your iPad.


The 3G service requires an optional data plan obtained from a cellular provider. If you do not have a data plan in place, the iPad prompts you to add one the first time you attempt to use the 3G service.