Cellular settings in Windows 10

Applies to: Windows 10

Some Windows 10 PCs have a SIM card or eSIM in them that lets you connect to a cellular data network, so you can get online in more places by using a cellular signal.

If your PC doesn’t have a SIM card or eSIM, you can still connect to a cellular network by plugging in an external cellular device (also called a cellular modem or mobile broadband device). Either way, you must have a data plan from a mobile operator to connect.

Connect to a cellular data network for the first time

Often, you’ll see the name of your mobile operator next to the cellular network  icon.

  1. Select the Network icon ( or  or ) on the lower right of the taskbar, and then select the cellular network in the list.
  2. If the Let Windows keep me connected check box is cleared, select Connect. If the check box is selected, you'll get connected to cellular data automatically when you're not connected to another type of network, such as Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

  3. If prompted, type your user name, password, and the access point name (APN).

    If necessary, check the info that might have come with your PC, SIM card, or cellular device for more info about what settings to use.

If your cellular data connection is working correctly, you shouldn't need to change the cellular settings. However, if you're having cellular connection problems, changing one or more settings may help. Settings vary by PC model and mobile operator.

 Setting  Does this
Let Windows manage this connection

Determines if your PC will automatically connect to the cellular data network when it’s available. Clear the check box if you want to manually connect each time you want to use your cellular data connection. Select it if you want Windows to manage the connection for you. When selected, you’ll connect to cellular data automatically when you’re not connected to another kind of network. 

To find this setting, select the Start  button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Let Windows manage this connection. This setting is available when you're disconnected from the cellular data network, and it's applied when you select Connect.

Use this SIM for cellular data

Determines which SIM or eSIM profile is used for your cellular data connection. To help control costs, you can choose the cellular network connection to use for cellular data. For example, you might choose one SIM or eSIM profile over another because data costs less. This setting only appears on Windows 10 PCs that have both a SIM and an eSIM. For more about using an eSIM, see Use an eSIM to get a cellular data connection on your Windows 10 PC.

To find this setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Use this SIM for cellular data.

Data roaming options

Determines if your cellular data connection stays on when your PC is outside your mobile operator's network. Selecting Don't roam can help prevent data roaming charges.

If you do allow roaming, you can use cellular data when your PC is in a roaming area. Depending on your data plan, you might pay more for data you use when roaming.

To find this setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Data roaming options.

Use cellular instead of Wi-Fi

Sometimes you might be connected to a slower Wi-Fi network, or you might be in an area where using cellular data would be faster than Wi-Fi. In cases like this, Windows can connect you to the best network based on your current location if you select When Wi-Fi is poor or Always. When cellular data is used, it will use data from your data plan and you may incur charges.

To find this setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular .

Choose apps that can use your cellular data

To help control your data usage, you can choose which apps can or can’t use cellular data. For example, if you have an app that uses a lot of data, but you don’t use it often when you’re on the go, you might not want that app to use cellular data.

To find this setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Choose apps that can use your cellular data. On the Cellular data screen, do one or more of the following:

  • If you don’t want any apps to be allowed to use cellular data, turn off Let apps use my cellular data. Apps won’t be allowed to use cellular data. They’ll only send and receive data when you’re connected to another kind of network.
  • If you don’t want a specific app to use cellular data, find the app under Choose apps that can use your cellular data, and then turn off cellular data for that app.
Network selection

Appears when roaming and determines which cellular network connection is used. The default setting is Automatic.

If you try to connect to a cellular network and see a message that the selected network isn't available, you can choose Search for networks, and then select another cellular network.

To find this setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Advanced options.

Active network

Displays the name of the cellular network that you’re using.

To find this setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Advanced options.

Set as a metered connection

A metered connection is an Internet connection that has a data limit associated with it. By default, cellular data connections are set as metered. Some apps might work differently on a metered connection to help reduce your data usage. Also, some updates for Windows won't be installed automatically.

If you set a data limit in Data usage settings for your cellular data connection, Windows can help you stay under your data limit and set the metered connection setting for you. For more info about how to set a data limit, see Set your data limit.

If you can’t change the metered connection setting and want to, see Why can’t I change the metered connection setting?

To find this setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Advanced options.

Add an APN

The Internet access point name (APN) is the address your PC uses to connect to the Internet when using your cellular data connection. Usually, the Internet APN is set automatically.

If your cellular data connection isn't working and you can't connect to the Internet, type a new Internet APN based on your location and mobile operator. If you can connect to a Wi‑Fi network on your PC or have a phone handy, try searching online to find the Internet APN settings for your mobile operator.

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Advanced options > Add an APN.
  2. Next, do one or more of the following:
    • In the Profile name box, type a name for the APN profile.
    • In the APN box, type the address for the APN to use.
    • In the User name box, type the user name for your mobile account.
    • In the Password box, type the password for your mobile account.
    • Select Type of sign-in info, and then select the authentication method that's used.
    • Select IP type, and then select the type of IP address to use.
    • Select APN type, and then select Internet.
  3. Select the Apply this profile check box if you want the APN profile to be used right after you save it.
  4. Select Save > OK.
  5. To go back and view the list of APN profiles you have, select Back, and look under Internet APN.
Properties

This displays information about your SIM and cellular data connection. Select Copy to copy the information to paste into an email or elsewhere. This can be helpful if you’re having connection problems and need to send information to your mobile operator or support person.

To find this setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Advanced options.

Use SIM PIN

Determines if you want to use a PIN for the SIM in your PC to help prevent other people from using the cellular data connection when they’re not authorized. After you've set up your SIM PIN, you'll be prompted to type the SIM PIN when you try to connect.

When prompted, type your SIM PIN. If this is the first time using it, type the default SIM PIN. If you don't know the default SIM PIN, visit your mobile operator's website to see if they list it there. You must restart your PC for your cellular data connection to be locked with a SIM PIN.

If you’ve already set up a PIN for the SIM, type your SIM PIN when prompted, and then select OK.

To find this SIM PIN setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Advanced options > Use SIM PIN under the Security section.

Remove SIM PIN

This appears when you're using a SIM PIN. If you’re using a SIM PIN and decide you don’t want to use a PIN anymore, select Remove SIM PIN, type your current SIM PIN, and then select OK.

To find this SIM PIN setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Advanced options > Remove SIM PIN under the Security section.

Change SIM PIN

This appears if you're using a SIM PIN. To change your SIM PIN if you’re using one, select Change SIM PIN, type your current SIM PIN in the Current SIM PIN box, type a new SIM PIN in the New SIM PIN box, type the same new SIM PIN in the Confirm new SIM PIN box, and then select OK.

To find this setting, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Advanced options > Change SIM PIN under the Security section.

Unblock SIM PIN

This appears if you're using a SIM PIN and the incorrect PIN was entered three times. When this happens, the SIM will be blocked and can't be used until you unblock it. To unblock it, you’ll need to contact your mobile operator for the PIN Unblocking Key (PUK) code.

Next, select Unblock SIM PIN, and then type the PUK code. If an incorrect PUK code is entered too many times, your SIM card will be permanently blocked, and you'll need to get a new SIM card from your mobile operator.

To find this setting if your SIM is blocked, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular  > Advanced options > Unblock SIM PIN under the Security section.