OS X Bluetooth Dialup Networking on a Treo 650 and T-Mobile

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I have written this because there is very, very, very little out there that talks about hooking up a Treo 650 to a Mac using Bluetooth dialup networking. At the time of writing, there is absolutely zero that talks about doing so on T-Mobile. Hopefully, this will help someone else. It took a lot of trial and error, plus one step still seems to be magic--it works sometimes, but not others.

I primarily wrote this as a reference for myself. You may find it useful, but I am not available for tech support on the matter. I would suggest you talk to T-Mobile or PalmOne customer support if you run into difficulty.


I started this document with the following things:

  • An unlocked GSM Treo 650
  • A T-Mobile phone plan
  • T-Mobile internet (unlimited internet for an extra $20/mo)
  • An older 1GHz 17" Mac PowerBook
  • Mac OS X 10.3.8


Several resources as well as a lot of trial and error useful in getting this document together. These include:

You will also find that the Palm screenshots were quickly created with a demo version of LinkeSOFT's ScreenShot.

Get the GPRS Modem Scripts

Go to Ross Barkman's page and download the "Generic 3G Scripts" package. UnStuff it and copy the two "Generic 3G CID[1 or 2]" files to "/Library/Modem Scripts".

Starting from a Clean Slate

If the laptop has your phone set up as a trusted device and/or if your phone has the laptop as a trusted device, you must delete both sides of the pairing. This is important because the pairing needs to happen in a very specific way in order for the laptop to detect the phone as an internet-enabled GPRS device. If it is paired as a simple cellphone, you will not be able to use the data services.

On the phone, this can be done by going to your Bluetooth settings, showing trusted devices, selecting the device from the list, pulling up its details, then clicking the "Delete Device" button. The following screenshots show deleting my laptop, fibonacci, from the phone.

Trusteddevices.png Trusteddevicelist.png Trusteddevicedetail.png

On the computer, open the Bluetooth control panel--either through the "System Preferences..." item under the Apple menu or directly from the Bluetooth icon on the menu bar.


From the Devices tab, select the phone and click on the "Delete Pairing" button.


Pair the Devices

This is the one step that seems to be all black magic and chicken-bone voo-doo. I have only gotten it to work a few times, but am really unsure how. Perhaps once in five or six different tries was I able to pair the phone to the laptop as a GPRS modem. All of the other times, it is paired as a basic cellphone with little-to-no internet connectivity.

If these instructions do not work for you, I would suggest deleting the pairing and trying again, perhaps using a little variation. If you can reliably duplicate the correct type of pairing, please contact me so I can update these instructions.

I am not sure this is required, but it seemed to help me. If you have your Treo set up to perform a Bluetooth hotsync (for instance, if you are using The Missing Sync), switch it to "cable/cradle."


I am also not sure if this is required, but it seemed to help me if I started the process with an active GPRS connection. You can tell if the GPRS is active if your antenna-and-bars icon has a pair of green arrows (Gprsactive.png). You can force the GPRS connection to go active by launching the Blazer web browser and going to your homepage.

Again, it may be superstition, but I found that it seemed to work better if I never went to the phone application--if I did everything through the application launcher, instead. Your mileage may vary.

At any rate, find your way to the Treo's Bluetooth preferences. Enable Bluetooth, discovery, and dialup networking. This will turn your normal Bluetooth icon into one with a little laptop (Bluetoothdunactive.png).


On the Mac side of things, use the Bluetooth preferences panel (reached through the Apple menu or the Bluetooth menubar icon) and tell it to set up a new device.


This will open the Bluetooth setup assistant. Tell it to set up a new phone.


It will prompt you with a few numbers, which you will need to enter into a dialog box that pops up on the phone.



If the pairing was successful, you will see a full dialog like the one below.


If the pairing was bad, the dialog will either have everything grayed out or will be missing the pair of radio buttons. If this is the case, you will need to start over again by deleting the pairing on both the laptop and phone, then trying again. If the pairing was bad, you will see a partial dialog like the one below.


Setting up the GPRS Modem

Based on Ross Barkman's GPRS Info Page and a little trial and error, I was able to determine the following network settings work for my T-Mobile service in Portland, Oregon. T-Mobile up here connects using VPN. If you connect directly, you may want to use "internet2.voicestream.com" instead of "internet3.voicestream.com."

Network TCP/IP settings (found in the Network preferences panel under the Apple menu, "Location," then "Network Preferences."


Network PPP settings:


Network PPP options (not a tab, but a sheet that comes up by clicking the options button)...


Proxy configuration...


Bluetooth modem...



If things went well, you should be able to disconnect from your current network (wired ethernet or WiFi) and then dial up with the GPRS modem. First, ensure your network cable is unplugged or your WiFi is turned off.


Next, ensure that Bluetooth is turned on. Then, use the dialup menubar icon to ensure that Bluetooth is selected for dialup (and not the internal modem). Finally, use that same icon to select the "Connect" menu item.


If everything went well, you should get a happy little "Connected" scroly next to the dialup menubar icon and the connection dialog should expand to display new connection status information. You should also be able to load pages (albeit slowly) in your web browser.


Bad Connections

If the laptop can connect using Bluetooth to your Treo, but then cannot negotiate a proper PPP connection, it can sometimes leave open the connection to the phone. This puts it in a state where further attempts to connect to the network fail because the phone's serial device is already open. You can tell this is the case if the Bluetooth modem is not connected, but the Bluetooth icon has those superimposed "connection-dashes." For example:


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