Why Does My Straight Talk or Net10 iPhone Show TFW Instead of HOME

carriername


Recently a number of readers have asked me:
Why does my iPhone display “TFW” or “HOME” in the top left status bar instead of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile?

If you are a Straight Talk, Net10, or Tracfone customer using an iPhone you may be wondering why you see HOME or TFW displayed in the left hand corner of your iPhone’s status bar instead of AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile.

TFW means Tracfone Wireless

This text, known as the Carrier Name, shows your wireless carrier’s name. TFW is an abbreviation for Tracfone Wireless. If you didn’t know, both the Straight Talk and Net10 Wireless are brands of Tracfone Wireless.

Many people ask me if their Straight Talk, Net10, or Tracfone iPhones are using the AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile network then shouldn’t their iPhone display the actual network it’s using? And well the answer is, no.

The Carrier Name is meant to show the brand name for your wireless company, not the actual network you are connected to.

So maybe you are wondering, then if I am using Straight Talk or Net10, the why doesn’t my iPhone display Straight Talk or Net 10 instead of TFW? That’s a great question too, and the answer had to do with way the Carrier Name gets set.


Your wireless carrier uses Carrier Settings on the iPhone. Carrier settings control carrier-related settings, such as the Carrier Name, network, calling, cellular data, messaging, personal hotspot, and voicemail settings. You can see which which Carrier Setting version your phone is using by looking in Settings > General > About. You may receive notifications from time to time to install new carrier-settings updates. You may have seen this notification before.
update

My iPhone’s Status Bar Shows HOME

If your iPhone’s status bar show’s HOME, you may be using Straight Talk or Net10’s T-Mobile network. The iPhone uses HOME as a default Carrier Name when your wireless company has not specifically set the carrier name in the Carrier Settings

Can I Change TFW or HOME to say AT&T or Verizon?

Unfortunately, you cannot change the Carrier Name on your iPhone. In the past, it was possible to edit and install the carrier settings yourself. You could make your iPhone display whatever you wanted it to say. For example, I could have changed mine to say “smartphonematters” or “Bob”. Sometime in 2014, Apple stopped letting users install carrier settings files manually for security reasons. If for some reason, you really want to change the Carrier Name you may be able to if you jailbreak your iPhone, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

What about you? Which network are your using? What Carrier Name does your iPhone show? Leave a reply below and share.

205 Comments

  1. Heather Oevering | | Reply

    Down in Arcadia Wisconsin we are officially through t-mobile and is shows tfw in independence Wisconsin it shows bug tussle

  2. Jean-Paul Jeremie | | Reply

    I just got an iPhone 5s through straight talk after transferring from AT&T. I had to make a good few calls to AT&T as well as straight talk to get it fully activated though but once I got the phone working, in a couple hours everything worked perfectly. I noticed the TFW and was wondering what it stood for or if it made a difference in performance. You gave me reassurance, thanks. The speed is pretty good too.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      You are welcome. Glad its working for you.

  3. David steward | | Reply

    Have an iPhone 5 I got it while stationed in Guam on a cell phone company there (GTA is what it was called) got it unlocked before I left island and when I got back I had used att but recently switched to straighttalk and used the t mobile sim because not until after I saw that they were all compatible with unlocked phones anyway my problem is I am receiving terrible service or losing service altogether especially in areas I work and need reception

  4. Steve Tomlinson | | Reply

    I have IPhone 5 with AT&T that I’ve swap over to straight talk, how long does it take for my phone to activate.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Straight Talk says up to 48 hours. Usually faster. You can call them and ask, sometimes the will expedite the transfer.

  5. Barb | | Reply

    My Iphone 5S used to say 3G now it says TFW or LTE. It seems to be much slower now too. You seem to have some good advice, heres to hoping you can help. I have straight talk through Verizon towers.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      TFW stands for Tracfone Wireless, the company that owns Straight Talk. Just like a phone might say Verizon or AT&T they set the phone to say TFW. 3G and LTE are the type of network connection you have. an LTE connection should be faster than a 3G connection. If you used up all your high speed data for the month. Try texting USAGE to 611611, what does it say?

  6. Jake | | Reply

    I used a straight talk $45 plan and bought it with the phone the other day and when I call someone a machine answers saying verizon company cant direct the call, the data wont work, and I cant text under my phone number that came with the phone. This leaves me unable to call, text, or use data that I bought with the plan and I dont know what to do. I have reset the phone and took out and replaced the sim card. I dont know what to do

  7. Habiba | | Reply

    How can I tell of my iPhone is unlocked

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Which iPhone do you have? where did you get it? (from att, verizon,tmobile or Sprint?)

  8. Meranda | | Reply

    I have Straight Talk up until I updated it recently it said Verizon in the corner now it says TFW. Is this going to change my coverage?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      No. It should not be an issue. TFW stands for Tracfone Wireless which is the company that owns Straight Talk.

  9. Katy | | Reply

    I don’t get internet were I live. All I have is what is on my I phone. So to do the up dates it says I need wifi. Do I have to hook up to a computer to do the update or can I just be connected to wifi to do the up date. Because as soon as I got my I phone it says I need to up date it. And I do show the TFW at the top already.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Katy,
      I’m not sure if you are saying you don’t have internet at home or your iPhone’s cellular data isn’t working. Usually cell phones will tell you to connect to wifi to do updates because they are large and will use up or cost a lot to download using cell data. If you don’t have internet at home you can take your phone to any place that does have Wifi and update it there. You can also update it using a Mac or PC with iTunes but the computer would need to be connected to the internet.

      You must have a library, coffee shop, or other location somewhere within a reasonable distance from home that does have a WiFi connection you can use. If not you should be able to use your phone without installing the update until you get a chance to do it.

  10. Dawn | | Reply

    I have to have it. Please don’t take it ofg

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Which Straight Talk network are you using AT&T or Verizon?

  11. Wildebeest | | Reply

    New @ this. My iPhone 6 s was to have ATT for carrier. Wondered why it shows TFW. Thanks for your answer……. Guess I am using ATT signed? That is the signal I need when traveling out of state and in a rural area in the mountains and ATT signal was the best available. Hope I am right in this. I’d hate to get stranded up there and be unable to get a sognal. Thanks again

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      If you used the blue SIM card your on the AT&T network. The red or pink one is for the tmobile network. You should be good to go. Just an FYI, in some rural areas, AT&T customers have coverage but customers using prepaid wireless service on the att network do not. This happens when AT&T doesn’t have coverage on their own network in an area and has an agreement to use a local or regional wireless company’s network to provide service. In that case AT&T made the agreement for their postpoid customers. Not their own prepaid wireless customers, or customers of othe companies like Straight Talk using the AT&T network.

  12. Bri | | Reply

    iPhone 5, from a friend, straight talk acc

  13. Bri | | Reply

    My bf bought me a phone and it says tfw and I tried to set it up with a straight talk AT&T SIM card and it says it’s not valid but I made the acc and it said it’s compatible

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      what type of phone? where did he buy it? what do you mean by “i made the acc”?

  14. David | | Reply

    Oh ok thank u

  15. David | | Reply

    Just a YouTube video showed it showing Verizon and I guess I was just wanting to make shure I hooked it up rite

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Sometimes it does say Verizon, but it supposed to say TFW.

  16. David | | Reply

    I have a sprint iPhone 6 Plus unlocked using it on the Verizon side but it says tfw is thair a way to get it to say Verizon

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      No. TFW stands for Tracfone Wireless. If your a Straight Talk customer using the Verizon network your iPhone should show TFW. Why do you want it to say Verizon?

  17. Elizabeth | | Reply

    having the same problem now

  18. Crissy | | Reply

    My internet is no longer working since the tfw showed up

  19. Elyssa | | Reply

    How do I get a better signal on my TFW?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      You can’t really improve the signal. If you are using Tracfone, Straight Talk, or Net10 you might be able to switch your service to one of their other networks.

      In your area do most people use AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or TMobile service? What wireless company do you use? What type of phone do you have? Any idea which network your phone is on?

  20. Dustin | | Reply

    Not able to do anything except text and is says lte

  21. Dustin | | Reply

    It says tfw at the top and my phone will only text it’s an iPhone 5

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      No calls? no Data? No Picture Messages?

      • Dustin | | Reply

        Lte

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          No calls? no Data? No Picture Messages?

  22. Lou | | Reply

    Interesting post. I have the same question. My network bar says “TFW LTE” although I am on net10. Today I was able to transfer my net10 account from an iPhone 4S (unlocked from sprint – network bar was saying SPRINT even though I was using net10) to an iPhone 5S (also unlocked from Sprint). I’ll skip the trial and error part, but both online check and about one hour on the phone with net10 assured me that my phone was not “eligible” to be transferred to my net10 account. Anyway, since I had already bought the activation kit, I followed the steps with the nano SIM (for AT&T compatible or unlocked GSM devices – on the blue card) and it works 100% (phone, SMS, web). Network speed is Poor though, as per data manager app: 1.10Mbps (upload)/1.32Mbps (download), but it might be because I am a the end of my billing cycle and I went over the limit for high speed. Anyway, I thought that it might be interesting to someone to know that you can bring your BYOP iPhone 5S LTE on net10.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Lou,
      Hmm. Thanks for the comment. Some Straight Talk customers have told me their phones status bar show Verizon when using the Straight Talk Verizon network. You are the first to tell me their phone’s status bar shows Sprint.

      Also I was wondering if you needed to get Sprint to unlock the 5s for you. For a while they were shipping their iPhones SIM locked. Finally, did you check the MEID of your phone to see if it was compatible with ST’s CDMA network? Straight Talk sells Verizon SIMs but not Sprint SIMs. Some Sprint phones have built in SIM cards, I don’t think the iPhone 5 models do.

      • Lou | | Reply

        First, you keep making reference to Straight Talk, but I am using Net10. I understand that their are the same company, but for the sake of clarity I want to mention that.

        Yes, I had SPRINT unlock both my iPhone 4s (in July 2015) and my iPhone 5S (in Feb 2016). In both instances, this was done over chatting.

        Indeed, I was using my IMEI/MEID on Net10 to check for eligibility on CDMA, and it was not eligible (confirmed by Net10 phone Tech). My iPhone 5S has a slot for nano SIM, which I used with the net10 activation kit.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          thanks. I both Net10 and Straight Talk myself, but I answer way more questions about Straight Talk so sometimes I confuse myself.
          I was glad to hear that you were able to get Sprint to unlock your phones, they were really bad at it.

  23. coco | | Reply

    i reset my network settings and i think the data on the straight talk plan is starting to work. thank you for your post. i feel relief.

  24. Alegra Cooper | | Reply

    I just got the service yesterday and now i can not make no phone calls out its saying no service and my sim is in my phone can you please please please get back to me ASAP and tell me what i should do

  25. Olivia | | Reply

    My iPhone 5c is on straighttalk and its Verizon so it said Verizon up in the corner and then I dropped my phone on the back of it in a case and no there’s a small crack on my screen and now it says TFW and I can’t use it if I’m not home and I can’t use my wifi when I’m not home now and I’m supposed to still have service.

  26. andre | | Reply

    ever since this happened my phone data has stopped working. whats wrong

  27. Tess | | Reply

    It is a iPhone 6S Plus

  28. Tess | | Reply

    It’s a 6S Plus

  29. Tess | | Reply

    I’m having trouble with my cellular data. It shows that it’s turned on but gives me error messages when I try to connect with the web or anything that needs it when I’m not connected to a wi-fi. Straighttalk can’t seem to figure out why or what is going on. Anybody else have this issue?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Tess,
      What type of phone do you have and which Straight Talk network are you using?

    • Del | | Reply

      Did you ever find out what the problem was? My 6s Plus does the same thing.

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        Del,
        Which network are you using ST ATT, TMobile, or Verizon?

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