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

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, Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, 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.

In 2020, you have a lot of choices for prepaid wireless service. You may be able to save $100s per year and get the features you want such as Wi-Fi calling, Mobile Hotspot, and Visual Voicemail. Sound good? to learn more see, Is Straight Talk Your Best Option in 2020?

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, Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, or Tracfone are Tracfone brands.

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.

For whatever reason, Tracfone has chosen to use only have one carrier settings bundle for all three brands: Tracfone, Straight Talk, and Net 10. Perhaps Apple had a say in this. Rather than have three different settings that only differ in the name they have one.

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.


  1. Misslala | |

    My mom had gotten a phone from a friend and at the top left side it says HOME. The carrier in the settings says HOME as well but I can’t figure out which carrier it actually is if she needs to buy a phone card for it. So how would I be able to tell?

    • Misslala | |

      Adding to comment
      Also there is no apn settings. Can anyone help with these issues?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I don’t know. Connect the phone to Wi-Fi.
      1. Ask your mom’s friend
      2. text ACT or REACT to 611611
      3. text APP to 611611

  2. Jack Coffay | |

    My carrier is TFW LTE

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Your carrier is TFW. The LTE part is the type of cellular signal you have. LTE = 4G LTE 3G would be GSM

  3. NORA M | |

    All of a sudden my phone says I can’t except any calls at this time. No one can reach me by calling my phone. What’s wrong? I did not set it to can’t accept any calls. How do I undo this? I have an iPhone X

    • Bob Thompson | |

      check to see if you accidently turned on airplane mode or do not disturb. Easy to accidently do if when it control center (swipe down from right top)

  4. William Martin | |

    I want a free straight-talk phone to continue services but none available. Therefore cancel my automatic payments as of Dec 28, 2020! I will go to another service plan.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      you need to contact Straight Talk to cancel your automatic payments, not smartphonematters.com. smartphonematters.com is not part of straight talk, we have no control over your straight talk account.

  5. Michael kane | |

    I’m using my girlfriends phone (untrustworthy girlfriend and her family is untrustworthy as well)
    And it says tfw and not home like it used to. Her phone is an at&t iPhone 11 and I use net10 byop (at&t )

    • Bob Thompson | |

      It’s normal for it to show TFW. They changed it from home to tfw.

      Can’t help with the untrustworthy girlfriend though. Watch your wallet and your back.

  6. Shavarian hill | |

    I dont no my PUK code and i cant find it

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I don’t know how to reset that

  7. Nar’e | |

    Mine says Visible since I have Visible phone service, which is owned by Verizon Wireless.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Yes phones using Visible say visible.

  8. Mary Lou Weyer | |

    My phone is an unlocked AT&T I-Phone not a TracFone or any of the others. What’s the deal with having a TracFone carrier? Why did I have to get an AT&T SIM card if I don’t use AT&T carrier with Straight Talk? I was with straight talk before for 7 and 1/2 years and I used AT&T carrier on bring your own phone, which was unlocked AA&T, to straight Talk. Can they change that carrier to AT&T since my phone is an AT&T telephone.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Both Straight Talk and Tracfone use either the AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile network towers. If you have a Tracfone AT&T SIM card in your phone, it’s using AT&T towers. The TFW, AT&T, Verizon or whatever you normally see in the top bar of your iPhone is “branding”. Tracfone wants to brand all their services as “TFW” not AT&T, Verizon, or whatever. IN the past, this required support from Apple to do this. Now they have it. It can not be changed back and it makes so difference in how your phone works. If you want it to say AT&T, switch to AT&T prepaid. They have very competitive rates and you’ll get visual voicemail too.

  9. Norman Smith | |

    I have a trac phone flip phone and have great reception. It shows the bars and 3G. My wife has straight talk and a 5s apple. She only has 2 bars and tfw not 3G like my phone. Before I call them do you have any idea why she has poor reception, 2 bars and my flip has 5 Bars?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      The bars on the iPhone are likely showing the LTE signal strength. Straight Talk uses either the AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint towers. Did she buy her phone from Straight Talk? Of the four big carriers which one has better coverage in your area AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint ? Do you know?

      I’m assuming she really has problems with calls and data, and you just not concerned about 2 bars. I don’t put too much faith into what the bars really mean and comparing them on different phones and carriers isn’t too helpful. You can call their support line and tell them you have reception issues but I don’t think they will do anything to help. Identifying the best network in your area and using that is the best way to go.

  10. Donna | |

    My straight talk I phone has yew why my number is 7063669753

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I don’t understand your question.

  11. Jay Holloway | |

    Good Evening Bob. I am clear on the whole TFW scenario, but my question is are you in the clear with what’s going on with Family Mobile’s plans? I called my carrier , and I spoke with a cs rep yesterday. When I asked her about all the plans including hot-spot, she told me only the truly unlimited and two truly unlimited lines plans have the feature. Yet, other websites have said all of the plans now have hot-spot. So, have you heard of anything as of late thanks.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Jay,
      I do not have any direct experience, but according to their own plans page, all the plans include hotspot. See https://www.myfamilymobile.com/why/service-plans I haven’t heard any reports from readers about hotspot working or not working. If I were to guess, I think the CS rep is not informed. Family Mobile uses the T-Mobile network, and prepaid services using the TMobile network often include hotspot.

  12. Sr. Dolores Mikula | |

    Hello, we are working with a company which helps us send text messages to our parents (school program) if we have an announcement, need to cancel classes due to weather, etc. This is the first year I’ve seen TFW come up. When the company asks for the parent’s cell phone carrier, is this what we should down (as opposed to Simple Mobile, etc.?) Thanks

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hello Sr. Dolores,
      If your parent is using Simple Mobile and your text alert service has an option for Simple Mobile, choose Simple Mobile. If Your parent is using Simple Mobile and their is no option for Simple Mobile, choose T-Mobile. If you simply need to send the phone company name to the service, tell them Simple Mobile (uses T-Mobile network). I thought your question was a good one, so I created a YouTube video about it, see https://youtu.be/s3OJtfZhL5s

      If you have further questions I’d be happy to answer them for you.

  13. Robin Whitaker | |

    I have mins. and it was showing 4G but know it shows the TFW … What should i do

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I’m not sure what phone you have nor the service you are using so I’ll assume its the iPhone and Straight Talk or Tracfone. Make sure your service is active. With Tracfone you could have minutes but not service days. Make sure you can make a call. Turn off WiFi and see if cellular data doesn’t work. If not, turn your phone off and on again. If you can’t make calls or use data try your phone in and area where their has been good service in the past.

  14. Laura | |

    My iPhone see says TFW LTE (I use straight talk) I u send to be able to use my mobile hotspot on my other phones I had that were TracFone brands like ZTE, LG, Alcatel! Those phones allowed me to do my mobil hotspot but not my iPhone see, a friend of mine has an iPhone 6 that says TFW LTE- straight talk and hers works but my hotspot is in grey color! Hopefully soon I can get it to work! Everyone that has an iPhone kinda close to my version all say mine should be working as well

    • Bob Thompson | |

      You think you left a similar comment 4 days ago. I doubt you will get it to work without changing phones. Ask ST and they will tell you hotspot is not included with your plan

  15. Barbara Shepard | |

    I am using verison on my Apple 7 plus. It says TFW. I did not pay for trac home, I paid for Verizon for coverage my actual AT&T did not cover. I want to make SURE I AM GETTING WHAT I requested and paid for.Is straight talk trying to rip me off? My husband has regular Verizon through work. We were at a restaurant and he had full bars, I barely had one. THAT IS WHY I WENT STRAIGHT TALK VERIZON NOT TRAC PHONE.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Please take a moment to re-read my article. I explained how this works in detail. Your comment is a little hard to follow. If you want to know which towers your phone is using, ask Straight Talk via their online chat. Just say “hi, my number is XXX-XXX-XXXX, can you tell me which towers my phone uses?”. You can find the link to online chat here?https://www.straighttalk.com/wps/portal/home/support/contactus

      If you bought your iPhone from Straight Talk it likely is using their Verizon towers. If you signed up for Bring Your Own Phone, it will depend on which SIM card you bought.

      Finally, your husband having full bars at a particular time and location where you have one bar may not be an indicative that coverage between the two carriers is different. My wife and I use the both use identical carriers and plans and we often have different coverage on our phones.

  16. Joyce | |

    Hi I’m an iPhone user with a T-Mobile phone and straighttalk service. I can receive group texts but I can’t send them. I can receive picture msgs from android users but I can’t send them. What is wrong??? Help me please!!!.

  17. lisa | |

    My phone carrier is Walmart Family mobile which is part of t-mobile. But in the top left hand corner of my iPhone 7plus, it says TFW LTE. I don’t understand why. It used to say Family Mobile.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      This isn’t a problem. Your phone will continue to operate the same, the only thing that changed is the network name in the top left corner.

      Walmart Family Mobile was originally created as a joint venture between Walmart and T-Mobile. After the first couple of years, T-Mobile sold or transferred Family Mobile to tracfone. Family Mobile still uses T-Mobile’s network, but Tracfone has owned it for years. While they don’t tell us why, I suspect it simpler for tracfone to use TFW, rather than having to work with Apple to make sure all the different brand names they use are displayed i.

  18. Cathy ray | |

    Top left says TFW I have straight talk and no single please help or I changing carrier

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I might be able to offer some suggestions, you did not share what phone you have, and which of the three different networks your phone is using. If you don’t understand how Straight Talk works, How To Sign Up and Use Your iPhone 6 or 6s with Straight Talk Wireless/#part2.

      Please note, I don’t work for Straight Talk, so if you think you need to change to another carrier that offers service in your area I think that is a good idea.

  19. Kathleen Hard | |

    My new iPhone XR and straight talk also new numbers. Removed old iPhone under Verizon. Didn’t tell Verizon about my changing into TFW but they set old numbers back on this iPad. I checked often and removed. I thought about WiFi as old numbers is a password. Should I tell Spectrum to change the password on WiFi cable modem? Guy was here and knew how to help me with iPhone. It is back on.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I find your comment a little hard to follow. I am not sure what you are asking me.

  20. Kathleen Hard | |

    My iPhone was not working…

  21. Tony Perkins | |

    The carrier I have is Safelink, it shows TFW in my display. Is Safelink a part of Tracfone as well?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Yes. Safelink is a one of the many Tracfone brands.

  22. Daniel Gartin | |

    I think Straight Talk’s $35 service plan with 3GB of LTE data would be perfect for my grandma because she pays $45 now and she’ll save $10 a month over Verizon and be able to use her new phone because the new phone is an AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 3,it was her brother’s old phone and then he bought a new phone so he gave her the old phone because he didn’t need it anymore and her iPhone 4s is getting quite old by today’s standards

  23. Daniel Gartin | |

    Why does Straight Talk’s AT&T network operate at full speed but Cricket Wireless is throttled down, because my grandma got a new smartphone but it’s from AT&T and the postpaid AT&T is too expensive I’m wondering which AT&T MVNO offers the most data for the best price, Straight Talk has 2GB of data for $30 but is that the lowest price

  24. Daniel Gartin | |

    A Straight Talk SIM card installed in an actual Verizon phone will still show “Verizon” and if your AT&T phone is old enough it will show “AT&T” my dad’s did he had an iPhone 3GS, it was his first iPhone

    • Bob Thompson | |

      on the iPhone the carrier name is set by the carrier bundle. Most iPhones will show TFW. Sometime you need to agree to install the bundle.

  25. Nadine | |

    I recently got the iPhone x and my carrier is Straight Talk. But I can’t access my personal hotspot as it tells me to set it up on TracFone and sends me to a website which doesn’t even exist anymore… Do you know of something I can do?

  26. Christi Lockridge | |

    Question: I was told I bought an unlocked phone. When put in my Verizon SIM it wouldn’t work stating the SIM wasn’t associated the the network; or something to that effect meaning it’s carrier locked. Without a SIM inserted is says in settings>general> about> Carrier TFW 34.0. How do I find which is the carrier if there are several possibilities? Straight talk, Trac, Net10 etc…? Without the SIM inserted under settings>cellular> no SIM. I need this phone to work on Verizon network.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      OK. I’m assuming you bought an unlocked iPhone and put an already active Straight Talk verizon SIM in it.

      If this is the case the steps you should take is to check to see if the phone is eligible for use on Straight Talk
      ‘s Verizon network and if it is, then transfer your service to from your current phone to the new iPhone.
      See Checking If Your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S Is Compatible With Straight Talk’s Verizon Network

      As part of transferring your service, you may be required to get a new SIM. You can order one from Straight Talk for $1.

      Without knowing the exact error message you see it’s difficult to say what the issue is. Keep in mind that you’ll need an iPhone that is compatible with the Verizon networks. Some are compatible with all networks. Others are not. For iPhone 7,8, and X there are models that only work with ATT and T-mobile.

      If you have a friend that uses Verzion or AT&T, you can try their SIM in your iPhone and if you can make a call, the phone is likely unlocked.

      If you have a link to the phone you bought I can take a look at it.

  27. Shantaza | |

    My service network is Simple Mobile but it’s switched to TFW. Why is that ?shan

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I answered that question in the article

  28. Ricardo | |

    I use SimpleMobile as my provider, and that’s the name used to show on the upper left corner. I haven’t changed providers, and since like almost a month ago it’s been showing TFW.
    I tried to change it back to SimpleMobile (I have the option still), but after selecting SimpleMobile, goes back to TFW.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Simple Mobile is owned by Tracfone Wireless, don’t worry about it, its not a problem.

  29. Farzuna | |

    hi , so recently i updated my phone, is tfw carrier able to recieve all messages and calls through another phone?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I’m not sure I understand your question. I explained in the article that they just changed the carrier name its the same service.

  30. Sam Guerrero | |

    I bought my iPhone at a Walmart website. It said “PREPAID STRAIGHT TALK IPHONE SE 32GB” so does that mean I can use any other carrier instead of Straighttalk? For example if I choose to walk in a T-mobile store they would accept that I pay for a monthly service ?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      No. If you bought a Straight Talk iPhone from Walmart the phone is activation locked to Straight Talk. After using it for 12 months, Straight Talk will unlock it for free. If you already opened the phone, you could try an ATT sim in the phone. I don’t think it will work though. If you haven’t opened it return it unopened.

  31. Joshua Montalvo | |

    Thank you for the information, i have Family Mobile with T-Mobile Network and my phones says Familymobile now my iPhone updates to iOS 12 and changed the name to TFW.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Originally Family Mobile was a joint venture between T-Mobile and Walmart. T-Mobile eventually sold it to Tracfone.

  32. Fritz langenegger | |

    What can I do to use my iPhone/with straight talk ,in Germany to make phone calls to usa

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Straight Talk only operates in the USA does not support international roaming. If you choose a prepaid wireless carrier that offers wi-fi calling, you may be able to use your phone with a Wi-Fi connection. Straight Talk does not officially support Wi-Fi calling. It appears to work on some phones, but not supported.

  33. Roger Scharf | |

    I use to get great coverage at my house last year, but this year it is VERY speratic. I have StraightTalk. My friends who have at+t get EXCELLENT cover in the same spot. WHY ????

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I don’t know. I assume you are using Straight Talk’s ATT towers. Try swapping SIMs with a friend and see if they get poor coverage with ST and you get great coverage with ATT and your friends poor coverage with Straight Talk. Straight Talk ATT network is prepaid service, and there are some differences between that and ATT’s postpaid service but unless you live in a rural area, your unlikely to notice the difference. Are you using a BYOP or a Straight Talk phone?

  34. Victoria Pompey | |

    My iPhone say TFW so I hope get the same great service that I had with Verizon. I which over two phones from Verizon to straight talk a iPhone and a HTC 10 phone the HTC has Verizon displayed on the left corner which it was the opposite since my granddaughter uses the HTC phone

    • Bob Thompson | |

      On the iPhone, the TFW is just a name they display. They could have just left it saying Verizon or something else. The don’t change it for android phones.

      There are differences between Verizon and Tracfone’s Verizon towers. Straight Talk is prepaid wireless service and it does not have all th features of Verizon’s post paid network. For example, mobile hotspot. Is Visual Voicemail working on your iPhone? If you live in an areas where you had goos coverage on the Verizon network, you should see the same coverage on Straight Talk.

      • Cody | |

        Do you think that these commenters should be allowed to produce offspring?? Yet sadly, the more likely truth is that these mouth breathers are pooping out replicas at alarming rates. All of which will no doubt grow up to be every bit as mentally gifted as their genius parents that have been commenting (the absolute dumbest sh**) on this article.

  35. Gail pique | |

    Using pageplus but phone shows TFW


    • Bob Thompson | |

      page plus is also owned by tracfone.

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