(In a hurry? Spoiler: I found my solution at AppleToolbox.)

I’m always eager to jump on even the most minor of upgrades, which should probably go in my bring-forward file for my next bout of spiritual introspection. So I was one of those people obsessively checking for the iPhone operating system upgrade this morning – and clicking on the “Sure thing! Squirt that sucker straight into my phone!” button as soon as it appeared.

And all went as smoothly as advertised… until I tried tethering, and couldn’t. And then couldn’t check email. Or surf the web. It took me a while, but I realized I had no data connection.

Two of my Twitter friends, stv and drfyzziks, started me down the right path when they mentioned that Rogers had pushed out an update to their iPhone settings last night. I hadn’t seen it. And sure enough, iTunes kept trying to install that update on my phone – and kept failing.

A call to Rogers customer support revealed that I wasn’t the only one with this problem. But nearly an hour later, with plenty of switch-flipping on Rogers’ end and a few hard-resets and virtual handstands on mine, we were no closer to a data connection.

I soon learned that restoring factory settings would give me a 3G connection, but a blank phone; restoring all of my content from a backup would take the connection away again. Trying to change the Rogers settings was an exercise in frustration and futility.

Then a web search that confirmed this isn’t an isolated issue, and finally led me to AppleToolbox. They had the answer I needed: a site called Unlockit NZ.

This site does something really simple but very, very handy: it creates a new profile on your iPhone with a few custom settings. Most importantly, it tells your phone how to access the Internet using your mobile carrier. You visit the site on your iPhone (which means you need a WiFi connection) and navigate to the “Set custom APN” screen, where you select your carrier. (There are two options for Rogers; I chose the second.)

One confirmation screen later, I was surfing the web on 3G. (And, by the way, Rogers pushed an updated settings file to my phone. Go figure.)

I can’t promise this will work for you, but if not, you can easily remove the profile under iPhone Settings > General > Profile. Good luck!

For more Apple goodness, check out Rob’s Noise to Signal cartoons about life as a Mac user!

(two people looking at an iPad) It's the perfect device for watching Apple product announcements!(Steve Jobs onstage, introducing an amazing device and admitting he can't remember what it does)(man with fishhook in nose) Yes, it's a fishhook lodged in my nose. But it's an Apple fishhook, so the user experience is surprisingly pleasant.