Getting Vodafone Mobile Connect and Mac OS X to play nicely together

This content is 15 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

VodafoneA couple of years back, I wrote about getting Vodafone Mobile Connect (VMC) to work with Windows Vista and today, after spending most of my train journey from Milton Keynes to Crewe trying the same on a Mac (it’s actually a hackintosh… but that’s of little consequence here), it seems I need to repeat the experience for the benefit of Mac users.

It seems that, even with the latest version of Vodafone Mobile Connect (I’m using v2.11.02.00 on OS X 10.5.6) it’s necessary to run the application as the root user (yes, root!) the first time it is used.

Thankfully, Ian Jindal thought to write about his experiences with Vodafone Mobile Connect on the Mac (which he referred to as inept and unnecessary), summarised as:

  1. Install VMC (I did this as a standard user).
  2. Enable the root user account (with a password of root) in Directory Utility.
  3. Log out and log back in as root.
  4. Run VMC (I tested the connection at this stage too).
  5. Disable the root user.
  6. Log out and log back in using a standard user account.

Once you’ve done this, it should be possible to connect to Vodafone as required using the appropriate connection in the network preferences. The software might not be up to scratch, but the network is generally pretty good (in fact, it’s better than the corporate connection I’ve been on all day!).

Vodafone 3G connection on Mac OS X

I’m writing this at the station so let’s see how I get on as I make my way home courtesy of Virgin Trains (who I noticed were advertising an enhanced connection for Orange customers on some of their trains, but there’s no mention of anything for Vodafone).
Vodafone USB Broadband

14 thoughts on “Getting Vodafone Mobile Connect and Mac OS X to play nicely together

  1. This bears no resemblance to my experiences. I have installed VCM on about 100 Mac Laptops now and have never, ever had to use the method you describe.

    The standard installation works fine and is a hassle free process.

    I get the feeling you are making a simple installation process complicated by looking for problems where there are none.

    Your advice is incorrect and you really should not attempt to act as a source of knowledge on subjects you know nothing about.

  2. @Bobby. Ease up! Why be so rude? By flaming me like this, all you do is make yourself look bad, because why would anyone turn to someone for assistance who displays the level of arrogance that you do here?

    Not only was this my actual experience (I’ve had a hassle-free experience since performing the steps I describe) it is not an isolated case as, if you read the source article that I linked to, you’ll find that the original advice came from Vodafone’s support staff!

    Clearly you have had a different experience. Perhaps you don’t run as a standard user (as most users should do)? Perhaps you run different software releases? Or a different hardware solution (most Mac laptops don’t have a PC Express card slot so I imagine your 100 laptops were MacBook Pros or you were using a USB or PCMCIA solution)? Perhaps you installed VMC but never tried to connect? Whatever the differences between your system and mine, I can truthfully say this is the only application I’ve ever had to elevate to root to install on a Mac!

    Finally, there are rules for comments on this blog. Your comment is not respectful, and it also represents offensive behaviour.

  3. Thanks for that Mike – I’m interested to hear what the 3G hardware was – mine’s a PC Express card. I found that the software installed OK but crashed when I tried to run it. Only once I’d run it once as root did it actually perform OK. It seems possible that this could be a device support issue that doesn’t present itself with, for example, a USB-attached device.

    I would try on a real Mac but, as MacBooks are pretty poor in that respect (mine only has 2 USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire 400 – no card slots), it’s not really something I can test on a like for like basis.

  4. Hi all … Well, just to perpetuate the thread …

    I’ve just installed that same VMC version onto OSX 10.5.6 (on a macbook pro) and DID have the same experience!

    It would not work until I had logged in as root user and connected to the 3G network (also tested I could ‘see’ google as well).

    After that … all is now well as a normal user.

    Much appreciated the tip about using root login to sort the problem!

    Kinder Mountain Rescue Team
    High Peak, Derbyshire

  5. @Paul – glad it helped! Having spent some great weekends in and around Edale in recent years, I’m only too happy to have assisted the mountain rescue team in some small way!

  6. Thanks very much for the tip Mark. The modem certainly wouldn’t have worked without it. Makes you wonder though why they can’t just make something that works for us Mac users.


  7. Hello Mike:

    So I want to thank you for posting these instructions because during a trip in Spain a friend let me borrow his Vodafone E172 and it would give me a kernel extension error when the system was booting. I tried downloading the latest version of the installer 2.06 from Vodafone and even though it said it worked, I just could not use it.

    The hotel concierge here was nice enough to give me a free internet connection for the night to see if I could resolve the problem and finally around 2AM I found your post.

    Logged in as root, installed the software and it worked right away.

    Thank you so much and to the person that so quickly criticized you I say… Not all situations are the same and you should never categorically say that you know, because in this case, you were not right.

    Mike you saved me a ton of money paying for internet connections in Europe. Thank you.

  8. Hi Mark,

    Came across this post when looking to reinstall the Vodafone software after a hard disk replacement in my Macbook Air. I was searching for the original post that you reference and which I used before to get the Vodafone USB 3G device to work.

    Firstly, yes I did have the same problems as you and had to go through the ridiculous performance to get it to work, so another voice in support of your experience.

    Secondly, I just went to the Vodafone site to get the latest version of the software and found they have recently released a new major version of the software, v3. I found it to be a completely different experience to the earlier version. The software installed when logged in as a regular user, politely warned me I would have to restart the computer if I went ahead and proceeded to complete the installation by restarting the machine for me.

    When it came up, there was a new icon in the menu bar that let me start VMB (now calling it Vodafone Mobile Broadband) which was quite a pretty looking app that found the device, offered to connect to the 3G network for me and just did it when I said yes.

    I also notice that it is a proper Intel-native app now whereas the old version was still a PPC app.

    So, fair play to Vodafone, from my experience today I’d say they really have accepted there was a problem and done a good job of fixing it.


  9. @Alistair and @Raf – thanks for highlighting the existence of the v3 software… sounds like it’s a huge improvement. Incidentally, there’s even a Linux version now.

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