What is APN Type in APN Settings?

Here’s exactly what the APN type is in the APN settings, how it works, what you should know about it, and whether you can change it or not. So, this is exactly what the APN type is.

cropped screenshot of apn type not set

Understanding APN Type

Within your phone’s APN settings, you might encounter a field labeled “APN type”. This setting plays a crucial role in how your device connects to the network for various services.

screenshot of apn type ; default, supl, mms, fota, cbs, xchap

Think of APN type as a tag that tells your phone which network “lane” to use for specific purposes. It ensures your device uses the correct settings for activities like browsing the internet, sending MMS messages, or using location services.

screenshot of apn type default and supl

Here are What are all the APN Types

Now, I’ll be discussing the different types of APNs (Access Point Names) and their purposes. I’ll share my experience and provide recommendations based on my knowledge.

  1. Default:
    • Purpose: This APN type is what I typically use for general data connectivity, including web browsing, email, and other internet-related activities.
    • Configuration: In my experience, it typically includes settings such as the Access Point Name (APN) provided by your carrier, Mobile Country Code (MCC), and Mobile Network Code (MNC), and often supports both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols.
  2. MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service):
    • Purpose: I use this APN type specifically for sending and receiving multimedia messages, such as pictures, videos, and audio files.
    • Configuration: In addition to the basic APN settings, it includes specific settings for the Multimedia Messaging Service Center (MMSC), MMS Proxy, and MMS Port, which are necessary for handling multimedia messages in my case.
  3. Internet:
    • Purpose: This APN type is primarily for accessing the internet without any specialized services like MMS or secure location services.
    • Configuration: In my experience, it typically has a minimal configuration, often just specifying the APN and possibly supporting IPv4 or IPv6 protocols.
  4. Supl (Secure User Plane Location):
    • Purpose: I use this APN type for obtaining location information, such as GPS data, in a secure manner.
    • Configuration: It enables communication with the carrier’s Secure User Plane Location (SUPL) servers, which assist in determining the device’s location. In my case, this may involve additional security measures beyond standard data connectivity.
  5. Hipri (High Priority):
    • Purpose: This APN type gives priority to certain types of data traffic, such as streaming media or online gaming, ensuring a higher quality of service for these applications when I use them.
    • Configuration: It is configured to prioritize high-bandwidth or latency-sensitive traffic over other types of data, potentially improving the user experience for specific applications in my case.
  6. FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air):
    • Purpose: I use this APN type to receive firmware updates and software upgrades for my device over-the-air, without the need for a physical connection.
    • Configuration: The FOTA APN settings typically include the APN, server addresses, and any necessary authentication details provided by the carrier or device manufacturer. In my experience, proper configuration is crucial for seamless over-the-air updates.
  7. CBS (Cell Broadcast Service):
    • Purpose: This APN type allows me to receive cell broadcast messages, which are text messages sent by my carrier or emergency services to all devices within a specific geographical area.
    • Configuration: The CBS APN settings usually involve specifying the APN and any required parameters provided by the carrier. In my case, enabling this APN ensures I can receive important broadcast messages in a timely manner.
  8. XCAP (XML Configuration Access Protocol):
    • Purpose: I use the XCAP APN type to manage and configure various settings and supplementary services on my device remotely, such as call forwarding, voicemail, and other advanced features.
    • Configuration: The XCAP APN settings typically include the APN, server addresses, and authentication details specified by the carrier. In my experience, properly configuring this APN can provide a convenient way to manage device settings without manual intervention.
screenshot of default apn type
screenshot of blank apn type in APN configuration
screenshot of all the apn type in the field

I hope this first-person perspective explanation helps you understand the different APN types and their intended uses better. When configuring your device’s APN settings, I recommend following your carrier’s recommendations and considering your specific requirements.

Common APN Types

Here are some of the most common APN types you might encounter:

APN TypePurposeEffectiveness (0-10)
DefaultGeneral data connectivity9
MMSMultimedia messaging8
InternetBasic internet access7
SuplSecure location services6
HipriPriority for high-bandwidth apps5
FOTAOver-the-air firmware updates7
CBSCell broadcast messages6
XCAPRemote device configuration4
Essential APN Types and Their Effectiveness
  • default: This is the all-rounder APN type used for general internet access, including browsing, email, and app updates.
  • mms: This type is specifically for sending and receiving multimedia messages (MMS).
  • supl: This type is used for location-based services, like GPS, to determine your device’s location.
  • wap: This type, less common nowadays, was used for accessing specific mobile web content.

Here is a table explaining the different APN types and use cases:

As you can see in this breakdown, the default APN type works for most general data and messaging needs. The mms type is specifically for troubleshooting multimedia messaging capabilities. supl handles location services like GPS. And wap historically provided access to certain mobile web content, but isn’t as widely leveraged these days.

screenshot of apn type cropped

Outside of any specialized carrier services, or issues sending MMS messages, I typically recommend most users stick with the default APN type for everyday connectivity.

It’s important to note that some carriers might use additional, unique APN types for specific services.

When to Choose a Specific APN Type

Based on my experience configuring APN settings over the years, the “default” APN type will handle most people’s needs without issue. However, there are a couple of situations where my readers may need to choose a specific APN type instead:

1. Troubleshooting MMS Problems

If you ever run into problems sending or receiving MMS messages on your device, I would recommend trying the “MMS” APN type to see if it resolves your texting issues. In some cases, switching to this dedicated multimedia messaging profile has helped improve the stability and connectivity of my device.

2. Accessing Carrier-Specific Services

Some carriers offer custom APN types for accessing certain special services they provide, like mobile hotspot tethering or enterprise VPN connections. If you need to set up a carrier-specific service that requires a dedicated profile, I would suggest checking with your mobile provider directly on the proper APN settings needed. They can provide the specific name, APN details, etc.

Outside of those two scenarios – troubleshooting MMS capabilities or using carrier-customized offerings – my standard guidance is to just utilize the “default” APN type profile. That handles general data and messaging needs for most mobile users without any specialized configuration required.

I hope these APN-type explanations give you a better understanding of when and why you may need to switch from the default settings

My Opinion on APN Type

Generally, you don’t need to be worried if you have set some value into the APN type while configuring the APN settings, because even if you don’t add anything, the internet would still work and this makes perfect sense. Most often, people think APN types must be entered, but that’s not the case.

Generally, any default APN configuration does not have any APN type selected.


The APN type setting is like picking the right road for your phone to connect to the internet. Usually, the “default” road is fine, but sometimes you need to choose a different road for special things. Understanding these roads can help fix problems or get special services from your phone company.

Remember: It’s always recommended to consult your carrier or device documentation for specific information about their recommended APN settings.

That’s it for today’s blog post. Today, I tried to show you what an APN type is in the Access Point Names settings, along with its various types and how to configure it. I hope you find it helpful. If you have any questions related to APN or the internet, feel free to ask us.