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. Michael | |

    How do I change service tower

    • Bob Thompson | |

      If you asking how do you change from Straight Talk’s Verizon, ATT ,or T-Mobile towers you need to have a phone that is compatible with those towers and then transfer your service to a new SIM card. Without knowing which phone and towers you are currently using and which one you want to change to it’s difficult to provide a better answer.

  2. Scott Mueller | |

    Hi my fiance bought a used unlocked iPhone 7S and we use straight talk. She cannot send or receive photos via text or SMS.

    The Network in the upper left hand corner says HOME LTE and the carrier says 31.0

    Is it possible we put in the wrong SIM card?

    Straight Talk nor Apple can Help us fix the issue.

    Hopefully you can solve the puzzle.

    Thank you


    • Bob Thompson | |

      Yes. I should be able to help you. Do you know if she is using Straight Talk’s AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon towers? Let me know. I assume you mean the phone is an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus…

    • Bob Thompson | |

      did you resolve this?

  3. Aubrey Berry III | |

    I’ve been with straight talk for two years. I just got a new iPhone and all of a sudden it says home. I did have to put a T-Mobile chip inside

    • Bob Thompson | |

      That sounds right. Did you want to use Straight Talk’s T-Mobile network rather than their ATT or Verizon network? Does t-mobile work better in your area?

  4. Dannycarmichael | |

    I’m using a Galaxy E5 sim cord and put it in my iPhone 6 and it’s workingbut it still says tfw

    • Bob Thompson | |

      if your using Straight Talk, Net10, Tracfone, or Total Wireless it should say TFW.

  5. jk | |

    I recently purchased a iphone 7+ off a classified ad, and the person said it was locked to Sprint, but the carrier says TracPhone, and I notice if I put my Boost Sim card in it, it says Boost of course. But How do I find out which carrier it originated from and is really locked to? Seeing how I’m trying to get it unlocked.

  6. alex | |

    I have simple mobile with a sprint unlocked iPhone 7 and it shows HOME as the carrier name. When i inserted my friend’s simple mobile sim it showed as simple mobile. What gives?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      It really shouldn’t make a difference. Check Settings General About does the carrier name change when do this?

  7. penelope | |

    Mine shows tfw i was told at$ t was sims card for it but i cnt get it to register please help its a iphone

    • Bob Thompson | |

      what do you mean by “can’t get it to register”

  8. Lashay | |

    Hi my name Lashay and I have a iPhone 5s and I’m with straight talk but mines say TFW, how can I switch over to another company like booth? This my first time having my phone on so I really lost so can u please help me??

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Your iPhone 5s isn’t likely going to work with Boost Mobile. You can visit their site and check the MEID of your phone there to see if it is eligible. Do you know if you are using Straight Talk’s AT&T or Verizon network?

  9. Cierra | |

    Please help me ;-(
    I just switched phones this weekend and it has been such a pain ! I had a Verizon 5c originally And used the straight talk BYOP Verizon SIM card and it worked great, just the same as workEd on Verizon , even said Verizon in the top left corner. THen I username a straight talk branded iPhone 5s, of course it said TfW.now I have a Verizon branded 6s. I Bought the Byop verizon straight talk SIM card. But the phone says TFW in the corner now instead of Verizon. It is always searching for singles and will drain the battery in no time ! My husbands Verizon iPhone 5c is on ST but has always said Verizon and run on Verizon towers. Have I done something wrong ?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      are you sure you are using the ST Verizon SIM? On your phone turn off WiFi and visit http://whoismyisp.org using Safari. Who does it say your isp is?
      try swapping your SIM with your husband? what do the two phone show?

      • Cierra | |

        Hey thanks for the reply! I clicked the link you gave me and it says Verizon wireless…. I did swap cards with my husband to see if their was a difference and it did infact change my TFW to Verizon and his Verizon to TFW. I don’t Understand what could be the problem, I don’t get as good as reception as he does. I did use the Verizon card that came in the BYOP package. I have since ordered another Verizon SIM card from straight talk and I hope that will be the fix. Otherwise I have no idea :-/

        • Bob Thompson | |

          It’s a little technical. The phones are loading different carrier bundles when the SIM is put in. If you look in Settings General About, you’ll see the carrier will say TFW or Verizon. I am not sure why. Check out Settings General About and see if your phone prompts you to install a new carrier bundle.

          I’d also mention that in currently I don’t believe Straight Talk’s Verizon network is a good value, you could spend less for the same amount, or a tiny bit more and get way better speed and features. See Two Other Options: Verizon Wireless Prepaid and Total Wireless

  10. Taylir | |

    Bought an iPhone 5s off Tracfone website for a family member. The phone can only text, no phone calls unless on wifi?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      The phone can only make regular phone calls when using WiFi?

      • Taylir | |


        • Bob Thompson | |

          I have never heard of anyone with that problem before. I’m not sure how that is even possible as Tracfone doesn’t support WiFi calling for most phones. I’d install the latest iOS, do a reset all settings, and try again. Resetting All Your iPhone’s Settings. If it doesn’t work after that, I’d contact support and tell them you have no phone service. I wouldn’t mention it works on Wi-Fi.

          BTW… do you use Verizon, TFW, or something else it your status bar?

  11. john | |

    To simplify an answer to any of these questions, look to my situation:

    I bought an AT&T (Carrier Unlocked) BlackBerry Z10 and chose Straight Talk as the carrier. In order to do that, I had to get an AT&T type SIM card.
    AT&T and T-Mobile are different signal types: Sprint/Verizon = CDMA
    AT&T/T-Mobile = GSM

    So, if you’re phone was branded to use one of these signal types, it’s likely that your current carrier is riding on the shoulders of the parent provider of the signal.

  12. john | |

    ~/Blackberry/10/AT&T/StraightTalk “Home”

  13. Tommy Magee | |

    How do I know if my carrier is Verizon on my iPhone 5s Straight Talk phone?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I have never really found a simple way to check this. If the status bar says TFW, the sim was attached to a grey or blue plastic card, or your data and MMS just worked without setting anything up its AT&T. If the SIM card was white and red, or you needed to install an APN profile using Safari, its Verizon. If Visual Voicemail works, its Verizon.

      You an always ask Straight Talk support via live chat too.

      • Patrick Finnegan | |

        One at to tell is go to your phone settings and under Phone Info option where your wireless network info is displayed look at the frequency band it is on if it is 800/900:1800/1900 then it is usually going to be on a GSM network anything other than that will be a CDMA network (ex. 850/950). The only reason CDMA phones like Verizon’s and Sprint’s use SIM cards is for LTE network access, which they usually end up leasing from GSM networks because they already have it integrated into their networks.

  14. Donna | |

    Will TFW prevent text messaging in certain areas?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      No. Can you describe the problem you are having?

  15. Alan | |

    Hello. I was on the phone with pagepluscellular for 4 hours yesterday, to no avail. I bought a sim-free iphone 7 and when I put the simcard from my iphone 5s into the iphone 7, the carrier changed from verizon to tfw. I can’t connect to the tfw network and so have no cellular data at all. I’ve tried reloading a new profile but that doesn’t change anything. Is there a way to move from tfw back to verizon? Or do I need to buy a new sim card?

  16. Bill in Berkeley CA | |

    I recently switched from a 4S to a 5S as part of Tracfone’s Bring Your Own Phone program. The 4S still just barely works, allowing me to see that it says “Verizon” in the upper left. I get excellent reception on this phone at my workplace. The 5S says “TFW” in the upper left, and I either get 1 bar or No Signal at my workplace. It appears that the two phones are using different carriers.
    My question: Is there any way to get the 5S to use the same carrier as the 4S has used for the two or three years that I’ve had Tracfone? I’ll have to ditch the 5S elsewise – it is rather important that the phone actually be usable during the time I am at work.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Sounds like your iPhone 4s is using Tracfone’s Verizon network and your 5s is using Straight Talk’s AT&T network. Can you tell where did you get the 5s and the SIM card you are using. If you have a BYOP iPhone 5s, and it is eligible, you should be able to use the phone on Tracfone’s Verizon network.

      And yes, I tell all my readers that choosing the network that works best in their area is the most important step when signing up for prepaid.


      • Bill in Berkeley CA | |

        The 4S is a hand-me-down from my step-father. The 5S is a hand-me-down from my cousin. I can check with him to see what carrier he used when he had the phone, if that matters.
        I’ve been trying to move my phone number from the 4S to the 5S and was told I needed a new SIM card to do that. Tracfone sent me one, so I have a new SIM card sitting in an envelope, waiting for me to take action. I know nothing about what they sent; for instance whether they have separate Verizon vs AT&T SIM cards.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          is the iphone 5s active? or do you just see one bar, and TFW without the phone having service? Also open up the envelope from tracfone, what color is the plastic card the SIM is attached to? Look at this video, which cards does it look like?
          Tracfone Bring Your Own Smartphone SIM Activation Kit From KMart

          If you get a chance ask your cousin if he used that phone with tracfone or maybe straight talk. asking if he knows which network he was using.

  17. Tabatha LuQuette | |

    I have AT&T iphone 4, and got the straight talk sim kit, it had tfw at the top since u activated it but when I called AT&T to get help and rebooted my device my network and my carrier says TFW. And I still can’t access data , send r get mms.. Please help .

  18. William | |

    Thanks for the information. I also wondered what the TFW meant.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      You are welcome. It confuses a lot of people.

  19. Shericka Myers | |

    I switched my sprint iPhone 6 Plus over to page plus and yes I have a page plus SIM card and all. Once activation was complete k thought I would see page plus LTE or something like that. Instead mines say TFW as well. I don’t have straight talk, tracphone, or Net 10 like its describing so why would my sprint iPhone that I switched to page plus have TFW? Really curious to know. Please message back if anyone is experinceing this but don’t have the phones or plans listed

    • Bob Thompson | |

      PagePlus is owned by the same company as Tracfone. TFW stands for Tracfone Wireless.

  20. Linda | |

    We just bought a used IPhone 5C and are transferring phone number from tracfone phone utilizing the tracfone network to IPhone 5C. It seems that the number transferred with data. However, in the upper left corner it shows Verizon LTE. We just want to make sure it is still a Tracfone plan. on the 5c. Is there a way to verify that?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      A BYOP iPhone using tracfone’s Verizon network will sometimes show TFW and sometimes Verizon. It should be fine. Did you need to install a profile using safari to get cellular data data working?

  21. Heidi | |

    I just got an iphone 5s from Straight Talk, I had a 4 and was on Verizon network, now it says TFW, can you tell me if I’m still on the Verizon towers or did it switch to another carrier?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      possibly. You could be on AT&T. is your data working? Did you need to install a profile? Do you have Visual Voicemail?

      • Heidi | |

        My data is working, I did not need to install a profile and I do have visual voicemail.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          VVM only works on their Verizon network, so I would say you are.

  22. Heather Oevering | |

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

  23. Jean-Paul Jeremie | |

    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 | |

      You are welcome. Glad its working for you.

  24. David steward | |

    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

  25. Steve Tomlinson | |

    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 | |

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

  26. Barb | |

    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 | |

      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?

  27. Jake | |

    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

  28. Habiba | |

    How can I tell of my iPhone is unlocked

    • Bob Thompson | |

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

  29. Meranda | |

    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 | |

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

  30. Katy | |

    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 | |

      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.

  31. Dawn | |

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

    • Bob Thompson | |

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

  32. Wildebeest | |

    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 | |

      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.

  33. Bri | |

    iPhone 5, from a friend, straight talk acc

  34. Bri | |

    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 | |

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

  35. David | |

    Oh ok thank u

  36. David | |

    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 | |

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

  37. David | |

    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 | |

      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?

  38. Elizabeth | |

    having the same problem now

    • Bob Thompson | |

      What problem are you having?

  39. Crissy | |

    My internet is no longer working since the tfw showed up

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Are you using Straight Talk or Net10? Do you know which Straight Talk network you are using?

  40. Elyssa | |

    How do I get a better signal on my TFW?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      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?

  41. Dustin | |

    Not able to do anything except text and is says lte

  42. Dustin | |

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

    • Bob Thompson | |

      No calls? no Data? No Picture Messages?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Is is showing 3G or LTE?

      • Dustin | |


        • Bob Thompson | |

          No calls? no Data? No Picture Messages?

  43. Lou | |

    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 | |

      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 | |

        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 | |

          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.

  44. coco | |

    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.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      glad it helped!

  45. Alegra Cooper | |

    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

  46. Olivia | |

    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.

  47. andre | |

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

  48. Tess | |

    It is a iPhone 6S Plus

  49. Tess | |

    It’s a 6S Plus

  50. Tess | |

    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 | |

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

    • Del | |

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

      • Bob Thompson | |

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

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