How to fix poor image quality (compression) when using T-Mobile Web 'n' Walk on a Mac

Update: I've been told this is also a possible fix for users experiencing upload issues with Three Mobile Broadband.

This has been covered before here: Hacking T-Mobile Web Proxy, indeed I discovered the fix from that page so all credit to lewiz.org.

However, this is such a fundamental issue as far as I'm concerned that I think it needs more publicity. T-mobile are selling mobile broadband packages and as far as I'm concerned that means the ability to view a webpage how it was intended to be viewed. Not as though viewed on a blurry 256 bit screen.

The problem is more threatening on the Mac because there is no apparent way around it at all. In IE on Windows if you hover over an image you see a tooltip explaining how to increase the quality of the image.

The solution is to use Firefox with an extension installed called 'Modify Headers'. You'll need to configure the extension once after its installed. Click Tools and then Modify Headers from the main Firefox menu bar. Then, you'll see at the top of it's window a drop down where you can choose 'Add', 'Modify' or 'Filter'. We want to choose 'Add'. Then in the next text input enter 'Pragma' (without quote marks) and then in the second text input add 'no-cache' (again without quote marks). Click the add button to add this rule. Then you need to add another rule. Again choose 'Add' from the drop down, then enter 'Cache-Control' and 'no-cache' into the two text inputs. Add this rule and make sure they are both enabled, they should have a green dot by them. Thats it. You should be able to surf away as you expect now.

Of course its still regrettable that one can't use Safari. If anyone knows a way to make Safari modify headers please let us know.

7 Apr 08
32 COMMENTS

Tags:
t-mobile webnwalk compression mobile broadband

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  1. Mike.Hey i was ripped of by this also not only did thay say fastest broadband, but they also told me i could play games with it, but i cant as they are playing about with the ports on my bandwidth

    4 Jun 08 5:36 Mike

  2. Any idea how to apply this to vodafone who use type same kind of system? I think it's a complete rip-off and probably, in some real sense, illegal breach of copyright.

    13 Jun 08 2:52 Chris

  3. http://aitne.com/These very clever people do a patch to stop the vodafone compression on a Mac. Wonderful.

    13 Jun 08 4:05 chris

  4. I use T Mobile's Web n Walk service and, for 15 a month, I think the fact that they're compressing images so much they become nothing more than a pixelated blur is an absolute rip-off. Not only is their "unlimited bandwith" advert a lie (you get 3GB) but it's not all that fast (supposedly 7MB a second; more like 1MB a second in reality) but the images are making me not even want to bother going online in the first place.

    9 Jul 08 10:49 Rachel

  5. Sheesh, the things people complain about! For £15 per month, the service provided (at least, when I joined a couple of months ago)clearly states that it is 2Mb (note: this will improve in time, and most likely long before your contract is up) and anybody with an ounce of noodle knows that bandwidth on mobile networks depends stricty upon reception quality (not signal strength) - sit in Parliament Square with your laptop and you'll most likely see your full bandwidth realised. In the meantime, please feel free to point me in the direction of a cable/phone-based ADSL service that provides you with 1Mb upstream for £15 per month. Perhaps I can make up my criticisms by helping you Windows users out a little. Download T-Mobile Web Accelerator from http://lastmile.t-mobile.co.uk.

    15 Jul 08 13:11 G.Harrington

  6. When using the solution in this article, your headers are only modified while you have the Modify Headers window open. If you want to close this window and still have full quality images:In the Modify Headers window (Tools > Modify Headers) there is a button called 'Configuration'. Click on this and then check the 'Always On' checkbox.

    5 Oct 08 0:42 Patrick Heneghan

  7. Hey thanks a lot! Been pulling out my hair trying to fix this. Thanks.

    8 Nov 08 20:20 me

  8. there's no menu when i go into the add-ons options so i can't do any of this... help? :[ i've uninstalled and reinstalled twice already.

    10 Nov 08 16:16 linz

  9. Hi there, I am having problems in sorting this out on my Mac.. just got web n walk for Mac, but cannot follow these instructions.. Im not a computer wiz kid at all.. please explain basically.. would really appreciate it..

    28 Nov 08 13:38 kaykay

  10. There's a software house that have made a tiny Mac app that circumvents image compression for a Mac. It's called ByteMe Optimizer, and you can get it here:http://aitne.com

    13 Dec 08 19:40 Ant

  11. Hi I just wanted to say thanks for the detailed instructions of how to add this programme to improve the quality of teh Image The only thing I can suggest to help Is When installing the Pragma, and No Cache , You have to Instruct to go to the (TOOLS) menu at the top then click on Modify headers , it took me 20 mins to work this out by looking at other peoples forums

    20 Dec 08 12:05 Richard Burke

  12. Also, on a mac with firefox. hold shift and hit refresh if you want to see an uncompressed web page.

    19 Jan 09 10:20 Richard

  13. Thanks a lot for this. I've been on the tmobile web and walk service for 3 years now and just got used to the poor image quality.Bye bye shift R!!

    23 Jan 09 22:56 angeLovah

  14. I would just like to add my thanks to the original author Ben Vallack and Patrick Heneghan for his post - I downloaded Firefox and followed your instructions and can now view the internet as it was meant to be seen. I still have IE on my computer which still has the poorer quality images. I can't understand why T-Mobile would want to use image compression, as you would think in the long run it would use more bandwidth where people are refreshing all the time!
    Anyway, thanks again!!

    3 May 09 16:50 Sean

  15. hi i had same problem and found that if you go on the t mobile website and download the web and walk accelerator it cured the problem . hope this helps

    21 May 09 20:33 james quigley

  16. thanks

    26 Jun 09 11:53 oliver

  17. Another useful tip:
    I was being infuriated by painfully slow connection speeds that would often drop out. I was using the 'web n walk manager' software that came with it.
    I have found that if you dont use this piece of software and use the built in connection manager in windows it is a lot faster and much more stable.

    Not sure how you do it on all systems but Im using windows 7 (may be the same in vista) and u just click the network icon in the bottom right hand corner, click t-mobile, click connect, click dial. done.

    I even managed to share the connection by setting up a computer to computer network.

    16 Jul 09 10:26 Ben

  18. Works charming for my O2 Mobile Broadband when used with iPhone Tethering. Can get download speed close to 3MBPS and upload speed somewhere close to 0.30 MBPS. Satisifed!

    SpeedTest: http://www.speedtest.net/result/559376357.png

    8 Sep 09 1:25 Vinay

  19. Thanks thanks thanks! Actually lost all my info trying to solve this problem, as my "Time Machine" did not work properly and failed to back up all my stuff. My Mac (Snow Leopard) refused to start up untill I reinstalled all software. Oh, how I wished I had found your excellent solution first!!!

    You are a genius!!!

    25 Sep 09 3:11 Martin

  20. thanks for this, i found the program but didnt find any guide on how to stop tmobile forcing their crappy webaccelerator resizing all images to garbled shit. hope lots of others find this guide :)

    27 Feb 10 22:17 mike

  21. also i tried tmobiles web'n'walk accelrator download for my 64bit vista and it was worse than most viruses. it stopped all access to the internet, caused half my programs to crash on startup and forced another load to try and access their update tools when i didnt ask them to. had to uninstall to make my pc work again.
    this fix is a bit trickier but a lot smoother and more efficient and i dont ahve to run another program alongside my internet manager

    27 Feb 10 22:20 mike

  22. Thank you so much!!! This fixed my problem, I am with T-mobile, using Firefox on a Mac.

    2 Oct 10 9:58 Min

  23. Many thanks Ben, the modify headers fix worked for me on Firefox with a T-Mobile phone tether

    21 Oct 10 5:47 Paul Westley

  24. Im thinking of joining TMobile network with an iPhone - Can anyone tell me how the images look over the 3g network on an iPhone ?? - & any comments on their network coverage would be helpful - Many Thanks!

    29 Nov 10 17:07 Dom

  25. works for virgin mobile when tethering

    2 Dec 10 0:03 thechevron

  26. Here description with images
    Fix Poor Quality Image in mobile Broadband

    4 Dec 10 13:26 Annon

  27. I have window 7 using brodband with t-mobile on my laptop but connection is slowwww and when trying to watch a video it stalls alot. Would an accelerator help in fixing the problem???

    7 Dec 10 17:10 R Perez

  28. Thank you very much, I used this fix on with Firefox 3 on Windows7 and it works just great.

    8 Dec 10 23:06 James

  29. Will this apply to Windows Vista users too?

    25 Feb 11 11:03 Sam

  30. This works with Globe Telecom (Philippines) too via iPhone tethering. Works with current Firefox 3.6.15.

    Thank you very much!

    8 Mar 11 9:18 Regie Fernando

  31. I had the same problem. Installed adblock plus and blocked: "http://1.2.3.4/bmi-int-js/bmi.js" the script file injected by the ISP. All fixed on my side.

    19 Jun 12 19:50 Johan Badenhorst

  32. JOHAN BADENHORST gave me an idea - amazed I didn't think of it before...

    instead of installing adblock, black-hole the 1.2.3.4 server which is the image proxy.

    1. open up Terminal.app (from Applications > Utilities)
    2. edit your /etc/hosts file adding the entry - the following should work:
    sudo echo "127.0.0.1 1.2.3.4" >> /etc/hosts

    (you will need to be an administrator and will be asked for your password at that point)
    3. close the terminal window
    4. try again in any browser of your choice.

    Because of the somewhat flakey performance of tmobile web-n-walk, your downloads will likely be much slower. But at least the results look nice.

    29 Jul 13 15:56 Will Adjei