Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Apple Broke My iPhone, and Their Policies Prevent Them from Fixing It (anderson-net.com)
149 points by nathana on Nov 20, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 116 comments

Apple also willingly blocks Facetime over 3G and tethering at the carrier's request (on a per-account basis) so that the carriers can upsell you.

It really pisses me off that Apple is actively assisting the carriers in screwing me out of using the data that I'm already paying for.

If I've paid the carrier for x GB, I should be able to use that for Facetime, wifi tethering, or whatever the hell else my phone is capable of.

Because it's so rare for Apple to fuck their customers like this, it's extra jarring when it actually happens.

You are actually paying for a probability distribution of how much data you are using: if you were paying for the data you weren't using, then the plan would be much more expensive than it is; this is due to insistence from customers to not be billed per-kB combined with competition between carriers.

The result is that if you just let FaceTime be used by everyone with an existing plan, enough more data will be used to skew the probability distribution for all other users, including those that are not using FaceTime, which would force an increase in all their plans as well.

Now, maybe you'd prefer that scenario; part of me actually does (but then, I'm also for per-kB billing, as it will make costs transparent and remove all of these weird incentives carriers have to limit things), but you can't just claim this is some simple matter of "I already paid for it".

For more information, I gave a detailed talk about this at JailbreakCon (yes: arguably a weird talk, but the audience was insanely diverse, so I had to find a topic that would work across the board from users to developers to security researchers; I went for something akin to "pricing myths").


No, that's how the value prop from the carrier works out across all of their subscribers. _I_ am paying for my x GB in a monthly fee, and I am resultantly entitled to all of it, as are everyone else who pays them.

Now, we all know their network doesn't have that sort of capacity, and that most don't use their x GB, and that's how they turn a profit... but that doesn't change the fact that, having paid them, I am now entitled to using all of my allowance.

It also doesn't help that the carrier in question is effectively prosecuting (by way of the DoJ) one of my best friends in federal court today for publicly shaming them for having poor security practices surrounding their users' PII.

And to the extent to which that is false advertising, I agree with you: I even mention so much in the talk. However, you aren't paying them enough to actually get that service, and it isn't because they are screwing you. ...and no, I'm sorry, but the fact that the carrier in question is prosecuting your friend is off-topic and entirely irrelevant to this pricing problem.

You thereby have to frame these kinds of things inside of the larger framework: you can't just say "oh yeah, Apple is evil because they are allowing this FaceTime charge thing" unless you are willing to also accept things like "everyone should be paying more for bandwidth" or "users should be paying for bandwidth in much smaller slices": this is a complex issue.

I don't know why techies aren't more accepting of paying more for bandwidth or paying in smaller slices rather than having most people pay for far more than the use. I mean, I guess I do know why techies are against that sort of thing, because they're more likely to be heavy users, and the current situation subsidizes heavy users to a pretty substantial degree. But still, basic fairness would seem to dictate that this stuff ought to be a little more sane.

Nobody seems to mind paying for precisely metered electricity, gas, or water. But the moment you want to meter internet usage, it seems like people swarm out of the woodwork to shoot it down, even though it seems that the current "unlimited" model is responsible for a lot of our current problems.

Electricity, gas, and water all have something critical in common: they are heavily regulated, so you're paying more or less cost for them.

When Internet usage gets metered, it's because the carriers think it will allow them to massively overcharge everyone, and take more profit; and they're right.

I'm not opposed to an Internet-as-utility model, where it's metered but there is _some_ mechanism to ensure that the charges are related to cost, and not just made up.

The market _ought_, in an unregulated industry, to be that mechanism, but in consumer internet service provision we have a sort of half-regulated industry, where there is never more than about a duopoly of providers in any given market.

No; in fact, when AT&T switched from unlimited to metered bandwidth pricing for iPhone plans, 95% of customers (including me) saw that they had to pay less per month. The private market is simply not so broken for cellular telecoms right now that AT&T can charge a lot more than their costs for things like bandwidth: they are actually in fierce competition with Verizon, and for the vast vast majority of users the only thing they care about when choosing between these two companies is price.

Five years ago this was not as true as it is today, as at the high-end of the market (so only people with a lot of money to burn) people would sometimes select carriers based on what phones were available (hence the value of the AT&T-exclusive iPhone), but with a world where handset manufacturers carry most of the power (and in fact get even a good percentage of the money paid to carriers, due to the subsidy) and all of the best phones are available for every major carrier, this no longer matters: carriers are now dumb pipes to everyone but a small percentage of people living in an area with a major coverage disparity.

Ahh, when I wrote that comment I was thinking of residential ISPs. I agree that there is more competition in the wireless ISP space, and I don't think we're getting shafted _too_ badly by the pay-by-the-byte plans there, compared to what I would expect if residential ISPs got into the pay-by-the-byte business.

Saurik, I definitely see where you're coming from, but why do the rules and standards change for cell phone providers as for other Internet providers? They pay the same for data as any other Internet provider.(probably less, actually) If you're paying more than $30/mo at home for land based Internet, you feel like you're being ripped off. Compare it to Cable Internet. You are capable of receiving impressive speeds during low use time and your experience will suffer during high use time. Same with cell phone data. Cable Internet isn't capped at a fixed amount. So, then if you work within the guidelines of spending over $30 is insane (Which I'm not saying is necessarily true, just arguing...) And you take into account that an average home user will use much, MUCH more data than what cell phone companies are charging their $30 on. (This article says average home broadband user uses 17GB/mo. I have no idea if it's accurate, but let's just use a much smaller number and avoid argument. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/nov/01/home-broadb...) Let's assume 10GB. That comes out to 333.3 MB per $1, or 3.33 MB per $0.01. We're not talking about what the probability of what a customer would or COULD use, we're talking about actual amounts. Heck, if we went 1/10 of that, down to a mere 1GB per user per month, we still wouldn't be at what the cell phone providers are charging. At 1GB/mo, for $30/mo, it would be $0.03/MB. (For all of my calculations I used 1000MB = 1GB, not 1024 to keep it simple.) What the cell phone industry is charging for data is plain ridiculous. The going rate seems to be $15 for 250MB or $0.06/MB. That's maybe 20X what a conservative user spends at home. Why? Maybe you could compare it to satellite based Internet. Satellite has fixed bandwidths and astronomically expensive equipment and that's all it does it provide Internet service. But, why would you compare it to satellite based? All a cell carrier does is get it back to a tower a maximum of 5 miles away. There they pay for land based Internet pipes. They are considered CLECs also and pay stupidly cheap prices for bandwidth. Sure, it may be expensive to get local loop to the tower sites, but we're not talking launching satellites into space. Even satellite companies only charge $50/mo for 10GB/mo. (Wildblue's website).

So, I simply ask, if you support a pay as you go model for cell phone providers, what price per MB do you have in mind? Because right now, it highway-frickin'-robery and they're still whining about data usage.

> If you're paying more than $30/mo at home for land based Internet, you feel like you're being ripped off.

Please speak for yourself: I pay much more than this, by choice (to get higher bandwidth caps). (For the record, I also "put my money where my mouth is", and immediately called AT&T when they started phasing out of unlimited data plans and opted myself out of that plan to the limited one. This has meant that on some months I pay much more than I used to, but it has also meant that on many months I pay less; it also means that I no longer am contributing to a systemic bias against disruptive-ish services like FaceTime or Netflix.)

> Compare it to Cable Internet. You are capable of receiving impressive speeds during low use time and your experience will suffer during high use time. Same with cell phone data.

This only argues for peak vs. off-peak pricing being different. In fact, I specifically cover this in my talk with an analogy to how electricity is billed. It simply makes obvious sense that if, in the middle of the night, bandwidth is nearly free due to unused infrastructure, yet during the day it is a spare commodity, that bandwidth should be priced differently during the night than it is during the day. Hell, even our cellular telephone service is billed in this way: it just makes sense.

> And you take into account that an average home user will use much, MUCH more data than what cell phone companies are charging their $30 on.

You seem to believe (not just with this sentence, but with most of your argument) that data should cost the same whether it comes over a wire or via a cellular connection: the costs simply aren't the same for numerous reasons ranging across the board from the technical to the political. (This includes some less-obvious ones, such as how no one wants a cell tower in their neighborhood, yet everyone wants good cell service: I discuss this particular issue in my talk along with some humorous slides.)

> We're not talking about what the probability of what a customer would or COULD use, we're talking about actual amounts.

No, actually: we have to talk about the probability of what a customer would use, as to do anything else is to price yourself out of the market. Again, I go into detail on this in my talk, using an analogy involving salt, but in this case, if AT&T charged for the actual bandwidth on the label it would be trivial for competitors like Verizon to undercut them by just noticing "hey, our average usage is for half of what we are charging, so there's a ton of overhead in our margin we can give back to the customer". Carriers, like most other almost entirely fungible commodity (they really are a "dumb pipe" with only minor differences in quality or locality), are in fierce pricing competition.

> Why? Maybe you could compare it to satellite based Internet. Satellite has fixed bandwidths and astronomically expensive equipment and that's all it does it provide Internet service. But, why would you compare it to satellite based? All a cell carrier does is get it back to a tower a maximum of 5 miles away. There they pay for land based Internet pipes.

Again, you seem to be entirely discounting the cost of those towers, both in terms of infrastructure and equipment and in terms of land; you also seem to be discounting the concern of limited frequency space, and the fierce competitions that occur to obtain it from the auction system we have for selling it off. If you want really cheap bandwidth, get a land-line: as you say, they exist.

And yes: even satellite internet may be cheaper in many circumstances; if nothing else, you have to take into consideration that most of the carrier plans people look at and compare are smart-phone subsidy contracts, which means that you are paying much much more than if you were willing to accept that, in fact, that iPhone or Android device in your pocket should have cost $500-$600. For some stupid reason, people get sticker shock at a large investment in hardware, but are willing to just whine about service costs.

> So, I simply ask, if you support a pay as you go model for cell phone providers, what price per MB do you have in mind? Because right now, it highway-frickin'-robery and they're still whining about data usage.

This question doesn't really matter; in essence, you are asking it because you feel that the carriers are drastically overcharging for a service that you somehow believe you can get from your cable provider, and thereby are certain that in a per-kB world the price will somehow be even more ludicrously expensive.

My contention is that the core issue here isn't price: it is poor incentives; the carriers are incentivized right now to hate data, as they are billing for it in an incorrect unit, leading to all kinds of weird pressures in seemingly-unrelated parts of the ecosystem, such as the old rule the iTunes App Store used to have on applications that used "too much" bandwidth (this was thankfully dismantled when AT&T stopped offering "unlimited" bandwidth pricing): you simply wouldn't have those horrible incentives under per-kB pricing.

Meanwhile, I am fairly certain that, based on the rather poor profit margins I see when I look at the financial statements released by carriers, combined with how fierce they seem to be to jump onto pricing models that aren't even sustainable in the long term yet give them temporary advantages over their competitors, that whatever the price that ends up coming out of this will be mostly fair. More expensive than cable? Well, duh. But, more expensive than now? Only if the customers suck and change their behaviors because of it; otherwise, when you have better pricing models things actually tend to get cheaper for normal people (as they did for 95% of customers when AT&T stopped running their unlimited data pricing plan).

BTW, I didn't say it before and feel like a heel. Thank you for all the work you do for iPhone users. I have nothing but immense respect for you, your time and your talent. Also, I did watch some of the video (like 10 minutes) but the audio was so echo-y that I couldn't really understand you.

This was never about arguing with your points and I know I didn't make mine with the most scientific of data. I worked for an ISP for 7 years and know first hand on the costs of licensing spectrum and what the 700 MHz sold for at auction. They are a wireless ISP and I was the purchasing manager,so I also know what it costs to put up a tower (actual costs as well as land use, leases, licenses, etc). I believe that if a small, regional ISP can do it and still offer affordable service to the customer, then it should be easier for a much larger company such as AT&T, Verizon, etc to do it.

I know I clumsily compared it to cable and satellite Internet service and made vague arguments about customer perception and price. I do feel that they are somewhat valid because I think customers focus on price first and QOS, data amounts and reliability second, third, never...

I think we're in agreement that if there was a model that was based on usage and actual costs (and not some arbitrary amount that they think they can squeeze a customer for) then we'd all be better off and have concrete numbers in hand. That would allow us to use our data however we feel like. Kinda the same as Nathan is arguing about his "unlocked" phone what what he should be able to do with it.

Lastly, have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with your family. - burtrom

I understand how business reality requires Apple to push at least some of the carriers' bullshit onto the customers.

But the second a device is "unlocked", all this nonsense needs to be removed from it. There's no defensible reason for an "unlocked" iPhone to still be subject to ATT/VZW's anti-consumer preferences.

All iPads are unlocked. My iPad won't let me Facetime over 3G, and instead gives me a dialog telling me to call AT&T.

This is after "Facetime over 3G" was promoted (by Apple) as one of the big features of iOS6.

I'm almost willing to switch to a shittier UI/software just to not have to deal with thieving fucks like this.

Curios, so I checked the website: "iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular can roam worldwide on GSM/UMTS networks. .. When you travel internationally, you can use a micro-SIM card from a local carrier."

However, they still make you specify your carrier (at&t/verizon/sprint). So, you are getting a carrier-flavored version when you buy an iPad in the US and it is only unlocked for travel?

That is terrible. I am vexed.

A few things:

1) Your iPad, purchased in the US with a carrier selection, comes from the factory with a SIM card in it. This can be used to activate a prepaid data plan _on the device_ right out of the box - via that same carrier's network. (They are minimally provisioned before you get it.)

2) The Sprint/VZW iPads also support CDMA for 3G in addition to LTE (4G) and HSPA+ (GSM 3G). The "ATT" ones do not. (They are different hardware models.)

3) They are all unlocked, GSM-wise.

> All iPads are unlocked.

Not true. Japan has the dubious honor of being the only country with locked iPads. Of Japan country-coded SIMs, they will only work with the single official carrier in the country due to a software lock. They still get to say 'unlocked' though, but the devices only work on overseas networks, not other compatible networks in the same country.

I've never understood Apple's willingness to bend over for carriers. Its always seemed to me that they've tried hard to foster an image of a company that exists to serve the customer as best they can (though, sometimes they think they know best.)

It would seem to me that Apple would have the upper-hand in these negotiations. The carriers, at this point, need the iPhone. AT&T, and Verizon simply couldn't afford to not offer the iPhone anymore and expect customer retention/satisfaction. Why doesn't Apple throw their weight around and go to bat for the customer?

Is this some relic of a contractual obligation with AT&T? What part of this story am I missing?

They're better about it than the other phone manufacturers. Before the iPhone, it was more or less impossible to get a smartphone that wasn't loaded with non-removable carrier crapware. Apple's refusal to let AT&T do the same with the iPhone during their initial exclusivity deal was a big step.

But now, Apple doesn't have as much leverage. If they walk away from negotiations and say "Sorry, no more AT&T iPhones," they're losing all of the customers that stay on AT&T and buy Android devices. And AT&T loses all of the customers that switch to other networks so they can get new iPhones.

Apple did try to do something about exploitative text message pricing when they introduced iMessage. AT&T's response was to stop offering anything but unlimited texting plans.

> Before the iPhone, it was more or less impossible to get a smartphone that wasn't loaded with non-removable carrier crapware

You've always been able to buy an unlocked phone with no crapware and no restrictions. The problem with the iPhone is that even the unlocked phones are restricted and locked-down, which is a first.

I could be wrong, but I don't believe you were able to buy unlocked phones with no crapware, as part of the normal subsidized phone regime most carriers have. Yes, you could always pay full retail for virgin phones, but most phone sales occur through channels that are structured around seriously reducing the cost of the phone in exchange for signing a contract. Apple was, IIRC, the first phone vendor to participate in those high-volume channels without locking or crapware.

iPhones have had locking from the start. You are correct about crapware however.

That said this conversation is about unsubsidised, unlocked phones. Not phones bought through carrier channels. Apple are breaking new ground by selling an "unlocked" phone, for an unsubsidized price, but still pushing carrier restrictions on it.

Not really. From the top article:

> Apple won't help me because they agreed to block on-device APN editing for certain carriers, including AT&T, even though this negatively impacts people who are not direct customers of AT&T, and even though there is not one single other unlocked GSM phone model on the market besides iPhone that imposes this restriction on users or hands over this kind of control to carriers.

Unless I'm misunderstanding your argument. Are you suggesting that Apple is beholden to _all_ of the carriers severally now, because of risk of losing their dominant slice of marketshare?

I'm saying that they used to because when the iPhone was new it gave them incredible leverage. If AT&T hadn't agreed, they'd have taken it to Verizon, and still made tons of money.

They no longer get the same leverage that they had while offering an exclusivity agreement on the first iPhone. If Apple were to walk away from AT&T, both companies would lose a bunch of money. It's something of a "nuclear option," and Apple doesn't care enough about unlocked phones to waste their limited bargaining ability on it.

Can't you buy iPhone without a contract (and contract without a phone)?

Yes. My iPhone is such a phone. It matters not: iOS enforces official carrier profiles on the phone regardless of whether it is an official Apple unlocked phone or not.

We absolutely are missing parts of the story. Negotiations and contracts at that scale are going to be massively complex, I can only imagine. Even my small shop's contracts with other businesses are multi-tiered and fairly dense.

Surely there is far more to this than simply "throwing weight" around by Apple, unfortunately. As well, it hasn't been that long since the carriers ruled everything about our experience with our phone. I'm sure there's plenty of old bureaucracy left for getting them to say "yes" to what all of us would want.

Perhaps, even, the things that frustrate you were some of the things Apple had to give up to give us the other awesomeness :P

Your reaction was my initial reaction as well, and definitely one I sympathize with (which made me actually comment). But, after thinking about my own basic experiences with contracts (and if you've ever signed a mortgage, for instance; a daunting amount of contractual repercussions, heh), I can only imagine the war room that negotiations must be with those carriers.

But all that, of course, is conjecture... Apple could just be assholes :P

Maybe I'm displaying some extreme naivete here, but I thought Apple did a spectacular job during the original iPhone launch proving to the carriers (and to the world) that they really didn't need them in order to move phones. Despite the fact that the original iPhone didn't even have any subsidy and yet STILL required you to sign a 2-year contract with AT&T (what!), Apple moved units like CRAZY via their own direct sales channels (Apple retail stores and store.apple.com).

It seems to me that given this fact, there really is no reason why Apple has to continue to kowtow to the carriers. Apple should stop sucking up to them and push direct sales of unlocked phones harder than ever. People will still buy them. They should then show a complete and fearless disregard for carriers by discarding the concessions they have made to them in the hardware and software design. Just throw stuff like carrier profile restriction features completely out. Sell iPhones to and for your end-users again.

If Apple decided to actually do this, what could any of the carriers really do about it? Nothing, that's what. Ban the iPhone from their networks? They wouldn't dare. (Or at least the GSM ones wouldn't...IS-95/CDMA2K is a slightly stickier subject, I'll admit.) There always seems to be a lot of talk (especially State-side) about carriers being open-access and what that means (remember the rider on the 700MHz auctions that Google convinced the FCC to sneak in which Verizon is now bound to as the winner of that spectrum block?), but GSM carriers have always mostly been "open" with respect to devices. Part of the promise of the SIM "personality module" is that it brings to the wireless industry what modular plugs in the home brought to the wireline industry following events such as the FCC's Carterphone ruling: a decoupling of the carrier and the end-user's device. I want to see the wireless industry move in that exact same direction. Sure, AT&T could decide to block iPhones from their network, but then they'd be turning down revenue from potential customers solely out of spite, and they aren't going to do that.

So far, the only company to have the balls to pursue a strategy like this, surprisingly, is Google. For some time now, you've been able to buy an unlocked Galaxy Nexus phone from them at a very reasonable price, and the Nexus 4 continues that tradition and even goes a step further: the ONLY sales channel (at least at this time) for the Nexus 4 is direct from Google. There are no subsidized or carrier-locked versions of this phone sold through carriers. There's a single SKU (well two, really, if you count the two fixed storage capacity options) for an unlocked GSM/UMTS phone. Google may have consulted with AT&T and T-Mobile here in the States out of courtesy before releasing the phone; I don't know. But I don't think that there's anything that says they had to get their approval to make and sell the phone, and there's nothing that says a user can't buy one without consulting their carrier first and put their own SIM card in it once it arrives.

Some may point out that Google isn't moving very many phones by themselves at the moment with this sales system, so doesn't that prove that this is not a viable business plan? I would counter that Google doesn't have quite the cachet that Apple does in this market at this time for reasons completely unrelated to how phones are sold, and that Apple, unlike Google, is in a position right now where it hold all of the cards. And for the sake of the consumer, Apple should take advantage of that position. That they don't appear to be ready and willing to do this (and in fact seem to be trending in the opposite direction) worries me.

I definitely salute Google for their move, and wish other phone manufacturers would follow in their footsteps. C'mon guys: take your destiny into your own hands rather than leave it in the trust of the carriers. Seriously.

Apple had a delicate relationship with carriers when it started making the iPhone. The carriers could dictate what they wanted. This has changed, as you state. These carrier-favouring measures could very well be contract inertia dating from that era.

At this point in the game with Android moving around 3/4 of all smartphones, Apple needs the carriers' $500 iPhone subsidies far more than the carriers need Apple.

Get an Android.

I use StraightTalk in NYC with an official unlocked iPhone 4S, because it's less than half the price of AT&T, but dealing with them has been horrendous. If you aren't good with computers, forget about it, ever.

They supply their SIM cards with a list of "settings" (APN), but it turns out 1) you can't access them on an unlocked iPhone, and 2) they're both wrong and incomplete anyways. Calling them up, their customer service told me it will never work without jailbreaking my iPhone (which is completely incorrect), and gave me another set of settings to try, which also didn't work.

In the end, after much Googling, experimentation, etc. (including the T-Mobile SIM card swap trick), I discovered the following worked:

- Download the Apple "iPhone Configuration Utility"

- Create a profile with not just correct APN settings (att.mnvo) but also the proxy server and port (, despite the fact that the customer service representative kept insisting it must be left blank

- Attach the profile to your phone, and restart it once or twice

I've accepted the fact that MMS will simply never work, but most people I know use iMessage anyways, so I don't really mind.

The absolute worst part was a couple of weeks ago, when StraightTalk decided to change its proxy from to, incrementing the IP address by one. My data didn't work for two days, calling them gave me someone else completely unqualified who insisted that they never need to tell anyone when they change their internal settings, because iPhones detect them and self-update automatically, etc. And that besides, nothing had changed, and a proxy isn't necessary anyways. It was only through trial-and-error that I discovered the new functioning proxy (because it happened to be the same as the MMS one, now, unlike before).

So, you will save money, but the experience is horrible. It is ridiculous that Apple doesn't expose APN/MMS/etc. settings on their unlocked phones, and it's ridiculous that StraightTalk can't even provide minimally correct information to their customers on how to get their SIM cards to work.

In my experience, the proxy server for the internet APN is not necessary, and in fact hinders certain functionality (I know that it at least blocks the download component of Speedtest.Net; when I saw that, I didn't bother to use it long enough after that to figure out what else it was breaking).

I am currently using a configuration profile generated with the Configuration Utility in order to work around the internet access problem. It works fine for that, and I had no problem setting that up. I've had no problem with the service and no problem with configuring it provided that I had a place to enter the values that needed to be configured.

Back when I used the iOS 5.x modified-iTunes-backup procedure to modify the APNs, I found that all I needed to do was to change any of the default AT&T APNs to the "att.mvno" one and leave everything else the way that AT&T had already configured it for their service (including all of the default MMS values). So I haven't been using the Straight Talk supplied web proxy since day 1, and it's worked just fine. MMS used to work fine, too.

The thing that galls me about the MMS problem from a practicality perspective is that a friend of mine who doesn't own an iPhone could send me an MMS message, and not only would I never know that they sent it, but they would never know that I never got it. From their perspective, it was successfully sent, and nothing got kicked back to them. From my perspective, nothing ever showed up.

Yeah, I truly don't understand at all why my 4S refuses to access data unless I put in the proxy. StraightTalk says I don't need to, other people on the Internet say I don't need to, but my own experience shows me it simply doesn't work without it. I haven't got the slightest idea why.

I also can't for the life of me imagine why the iPhone config utility doesn't have fields for MMS. It seems like such a strange and pointless omission.

Apple has zero incentive to make life easier on those switching carriers to budget carriers. Nothing bizarre or pointless about that. For every guy like you, there's 100 others who will never switch over. This keeps Apple partners like AT&T very happy. Also less support load for apple geniuses.

Well, that all depends on what Apple's internal corporate culture's value system is, doesn't it? If they want to continue to give off the impression that the end-user is their direct customer and that they prize that end-user's experience above all else, then they need to distance themselves from things like this.

I think that Apple has worked very hard to cast this image of themselves as the champion of the end-user. If that's the case, then they need to start proving it with mobile devices like the iPhone, which occupies a market segment where users have traditionally not been regarded as much more than pawns. I feel as though Apple here is treating this situation like their ongoing business relationship with AT&T and other carriers is more important than satisfying the needs of their customers whenever the two are in conflict. I suspect that Apple wouldn't want that kind of press.

It is super annoying that Apple does not unlock this menu when they unlock phones. Apparently it's present on some, but I don't know which. (The menu being settings > general > network > general data network)

Instead, I just jailbroke my iphone 4 and installed the TetherMe app, which unlocks this menu. I don't use tethering or any other jailbreak functions, and am stuck on iOS 5 until a new jailbreak is released, but it's such a huge time saver that I would recommend it for iphones that aren't on iOS 6 yet.

The menu lock/unlock is controlled by whichever included carrier profile your SIM card IIN is associated with. My Straight Talk SIM card has an AT&T IIN, so it automatically uses the AT&T carrier profile (to my great annoyance, as if that weren't already clear to everybody :-)). A carrier might decide to not lock the menu for their customers, and if you have a SIM card that has no associated carrier profile, you will automaticall be granted open access to the menu.

I couldn't get Apple's configuration tool to work for me. I tried the Tmo swap trick too, but that didn't work either.

What I learned DID work was just popping the SIM out, going to the settings screen, popping it back in, doing the app change trick, and then changing the settings as needed.

Basically, follow http://wiki.howardforums.com/index.php/Straight_Talk_iPhone#... but don't use a T-Mobile sim card, just pop the ST one back in.

Hmmm...if only it were that easy. When my SIM isn't in the phone, the "Cellular" menu under General in Settings is grayed out and it says "No SIM" to the right of it. If I can't get in that menu, I can't get to the Cellular Data Network submenu.

This is iOS 6, remember. I think the instructions you linked to on the HF wiki were written for iOS 5, since they talk about General -> Network -> Cellular Data, instead of General -> Cellular -> Cellular Data...that menu got renamed in iOS 6. They no workie, at least without a T-Mobile SIM.

Should an unlocked phone be able to function on any carrier without hacking? Yes. If I had my way, there would even be laws guaranteeing customers this ability.

However, I really can't sympathize with you at all. You intentionally and knowingly chose to do something that was not officially supported. Now you are complaining that your hack stopped working. If you wanted it to always work, you should not be doing something so weird.

Classic case of "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."

Oops, it looks like you did not read the article. The person in question owns an officially-unlocked iPhone. This involves an anti-competitive practice where the APN settings are locked to a specific carrier, AT&T -- even in the case of an unlocked phone. You really seem to be venturing into an area you're not educated in.

Apreche acknowledged that the settings shouldn't be locked on an unlocked phone, his point seems to be that when you use an "unofficial workaround" as the author claims to have done, you shouldn't be that surprised when it stops working.

Configurable APN settings on a device sold unlocked should be a given. APN settings configure your device for the given network you are connecting to.

It's not so much an "unofficial workaround" as a mandatory component of the unlocked device.

So what happens when you use a different SIM card? Surely it won't work with AT&T APN settings?

It all depends on who the IIN is that issued the SIM card. If it's an AT&T-issued card (which would include all of AT&T's MVNOs, such as Straight Talk), the iPhone just sees an AT&T SIM card, and applies the Apple-signed AT&T carrier profile to it, and in that carrier profile is a bit that controls whether the phone allows access to the Cellular Data Network menu or not, which AT&T has set to "deny."

If you put in a SIM card that the iPhone has no clue about (such as T-Mobile U.S.)., then iOS will fall back to a generic carrier profile, which does allow access to the APN editing submenu.

The problem is that Straight Talk is an AT&T MVNO, and so Straight Talk SIMs are indistinguishable from AT&T SIM cards from the iPhone's perspective. The iPhone engineers made a bad assumption, which is that all cards issued by carrier X should be treated exactly the same.

If the SIMs are indistinguishable, what else could be done (without removing the APN blocking, which is AT&T's will, not Apple's)? A solution for this should be part of MVNO agreements, either providing their own SIMs or dealing with it in their infrastructure.

I asked the same question elsewhere, and someone came up with this hypothesis: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=16266984#post16...

...I still think APN blocking is entirely irrational on the part of the carrier. There's no way a user can subject their carrier's network to fraud or abuse by having access to the APNs (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=16266682#post16...)

The order of events is more like:

1. Get SIM card.

2. Buy "unlocked" iPhone.

3. Put SIM card into "unlocked" phone.

4. It doesn't work! :sad-face:

5. Google around.

6. Find solution.

7. Implement solution while grumbling to self about truth in advertising.

8. It works! (hooray)

9. Software update breaks solution.

I still say the key word here is "unlocked." If Apple truly meant for the "unlocked" iPhone to only be used with supported carriers (and then what's the point? you think Apple's really only selling "unlocked" phones to international travelers?), then they shouldn't be using that word to describe it.

-- Nathan

"Now you are complaining that your hack stopped working."

Just by comparison, Android supports on-device APN editing (see Settings -> More... [under Wireless and Networks] -> Mobile Networks -> Access Point Names).

T-Mobile actually encourages users to edit their own APNs for IPv6 support, and has run an IPv6 custom APN beta trial for a while: https://sites.google.com/site/tmoipv6/lg-mytouch

Quick question- as a T-Mobile user, why would I want to enable IPv6? The list of bugs look huge, and I'm really not sure what the benefit is.

T-Mo (and probably all carriers) is going IPv6-by-default in the future, so they asked people to help beta test. As with most beta testing, there's no particular benefit to you to participate.

For the gazillionth time, the iPhone Configuration Utility will not allow you to change the MMS APN, only the internet access APN.

I'm curious. What if you use the iPhone Configuration Utility to generate the output file? I've done this before to roll out multiple phone configurations that all had pre-configured email IMAP and SMTP settings for a large organization.

I didn't alter any cell based network settings. Though I recall the output file from the iPhone Configuration Utility was merely a text file. I believe, though I'm not 100% certain, and this was around iOS3-4, that I opened the file in a text editor. I think I recall this because I came to the conclusion one could make a web based configuration utility that output the same data file.

I'm pretty sure it was just simple XML. It may be a binary plist type file now, but plutil should solve that problem.

Couldn't one manually edit the output file to contain the values they desire, import the file, pop in the SIM, and have a functioning iPhone on iOS6?

Just a thought based on some very old memories. Anyone care to fire up iPhone Configuration Utility and see what file type it generates. Even if not XML, a hex editor should allow the changes, no?. A small git-hub project could probably create all the needed profiles for the various carriers out there for unlocked phones.

This is for iOS 5. The article is about the changes in iOS 6.

Sorry if I did not understand everything through, but I think I see the same options in iOS6. Still, i'm sorry if I'm wrong

How is it not officially supported? Isn't the whole idea of a factory-unlocked phone that it is officially supported on any carrier?

Apple's locked-down APN settings affect me as well, except for me it's only an annoyance. I use a travel SIM card with cheap data called abroadband. They have their own APN settings, but since the SIM card is issued by Telekom Austria, the iPhone will lock in TA's APN settings, which don't work.

Now abroadband have a settings profile you can download and install, but since it overrides any settings you have, I have to find wifi and re-download/install this profile every single time I swap SIM cards.

It's a huge pain and no other phones have this issue. I really have no idea why Apple feel the need to hide the APN settings - it's like hiding the network settings on your computer since DHCP works "almost all the time" and all those numbers are confusing..

Supposedly the APN submenu is hidden if a certain flag is set by the carrier in their Apple-signed carrier profile (which is distributed with iOS). So the carrier that controls the iOS carrier profile for your SIM's IIN can elect to either hide the menu or not hide the menu.

I'm arguing that on an unlocked phone, this flag should be ignored, OR the software should be re-engineered to do away with the flag in the first place (customers cannot abuse service by editing APNs if the customer is provisioned correctly by the carrier on their end in the first place). It's a dumb restriction, a dumb option to give carriers, and a dumb thing to hoist on customers that bought the phone out-right or who are no longer under contract.

Carriers can and do ship updated carrier profiles over their networks—I receive carrier profile update prompts on the Rogers network a few times a year. The profiles that are distributed with iOS are the latest version that the carrier provides when that iOS version ships.

That's true. But this shouldn't take away from these two facts:

1) iOS does ship with a collection of the latest versions of partner carrier profiles as of the ship-date of that iOS version, as you point out. So you can't try to do an end-run around the AT&T profile restrictions by, say, doing a complete restore of iOS on your phone, followed by activation of the phone using a SIM that isn't from a carrier partner in order to cause it to use the generic carrier profile (for example, T-Mobile U.S.), followed by SIM-swapping back to your AT&T SIM. The AT&T profile is lurking in there, ready to be consulted when you switch SIMs, on every iPhone.

2) This is still a proprietary Apple scheme for pushing APNs for carriers (carrier profiles are plists), and not some universal standard for doing carrier programming updates "over the air." Carriers can build and submit their carrier profiles to Apple, but Apple then centrally distributes the profile updates from their own servers. And AFAIK, if you're a carrier, Apple is not going to host a carrier profile for you unless you have some formal relationship with Apple (become a "supported" carrier).

What can I say, I really enjoyed my iphone, but it's been a year, I like my Galaxy just fine. It is not worth the trouble unlocking and constantly breaking into your own device. This is probably not what you want to hear. Plus, when signal is weak, I can use wi-fi to make calls which saves battery and I don't have to go to special corner in the office other iphone users run to, to talk on their phones. It is like pretty girl, if she tells you she doesn't like you, go on and find another girl.

The interesting thing about "unlocked" iPhones is that there are several definitions of "unlocked", viz:


Here's the summary, at least as of the date of that article:

1. The only fully unlocked iPhones are the ones you buy directly from Apple, not from any carrier or reseller (BestBuy, etc.).

2. Your phone may be unlocked for European SIMs but not unlocked for another US carrier.

3. No US CDMA carrier will ever activate an "unlocked" phone previously activated on another CDMA carrier's network.

#1 is the model I have, and I wouldn't call it "fully" unlocked with this limitation in place.

I have this exact same problem. It's infuriating.

I bought an 'unlocked' iPhone at full price with the expectation that I would be able to use it with the carrier of my choice only to discover that I can't.

I was without any mobile data for nearly a month because the unlockit.co.nz "solution" for modifying APN settings wasn't working for me. I tried it again (randomly) a week ago and data came back. Still no MMS.

I guess I should have bought an Android device, but I was so disappointed by my previous phone (Droid 2) that I'm hesitant to purchase another non-Nexus device. I also develop iOS apps and need something to test them on.

Does this actually surprise anybody anymore?

Guess what! Don't trust apple's updates! They have a LONG history of breaking your functionality when you "upgrade" them that goes back to the original iPods.

(A la blocking gnupod)

Seems to me this is really ATT's customer abuse than Apple's. I suppose Apple's main fault here is not putting more pressure back on ATT.

Albeit, downgrade seems like a reasonable request to me, although they may have security reputation concerns to be considered.

It's not an AT&T-specific problem. Lots of carriers in other countries do this too. That's why unlockit.co.nz exists in the first place.

It's my phone. Let me take my own security risks.

I dont know that I can prove this, but Im pretty sure that AT&T was throttling my "unlimited" data plan well below the 2GB limit. It was bad enough that I rarely used more than 1GB of data per month.

Fast forward to my iPhone 5 upgrade. Granted there is decent LTE coverage here in Houston, but with no change in my usage habits I hit the 90% mark of the 4GB plan(I needed tethering, so I had to "upgrade") 18 days into the billing cycle. My main data consumption was iTunes match over cellular. I was getting constant buffer underruns with my iPhone 4 on 3g, but now Im hitting the data wall halfway through the billing cycle. Its now in AT&Ts best interest to open the pipe for me so I can pay overage fees.

I dont know that it would be better on a different carrier, but I certainly harbor no goodwill towards AT&T. I feel like Im one hassle away from buying out my contract.

Just getting my iPhone 5 proved to be a multi hour headache due to an AT&T agents royal screwup of my initial upgrade. I ordered a 64GB black phone, was shipped white. He also updated my home/billing address incorrectly(more on that later) I returned it, and they spent 2 hours reversing the upgrade and giving me a new sim for my iPhone 4. That took so long that I couldnt re-order the upgrade. A week later I used the AT&T website to order the new phone, however, it could only be shipped to the billing address that the AT&T agent mistyped when I originally ordered the phone. So I had to cancel the order. But it wasnt that simple. I am a "premier" account and premier support isnt open on weekends. I had to go to an AT&T store and cancel the order. Then I had to call premier support on monday and reverse the upgrade. The next weekend, they finally had some black 64GB iPhones in stock. I bought one. Guess what? it had an intermittent power button. I had to set up an appt with an apple store to get that fixed. Fortunately the Apple store experience was much better. So 3 iPhones later, I have an iPhone 5 with a bad carrier and have to now worry about my data usage. First world problems I suppose.

Also in Houston here, also had AT&T 3G service. I doubt they were throttling your old phone - their local 3G network is just that bad. Using AT&T's LTE network in the same town is rather like using a different carrier. Even the HSPA they built on top of their old 3G is remarkably better. And it's considerably faster than Verizon's current LTE offerings, which have been degrading in speed/quality since mid-April. (Though that might improve in time, and MaBell's service quality might go back down as more people upgrade to it.)

Thats interesting. So a given iPhone can now have a combination of the following locks:

* carrier lock

* APN lock

* region lock

How is that even legal?

it will boil down to corporate principles/culture that Apple has. It has to decide how much max resources it can dedicate to handling a small subset of affected user VS. potential media backlash that could be triggered if some of these 'minority' users are influential.

Sounds like the automobile recall algorithm from Fight Club. Sadly, you're probably right.

I am in the boat as you. After a few months I just accepted that MMS will never work on my iPhone. Google voice doesn't support mms anyway and I would rather be able to get MMS in my email.

Glad to hear that Apple still has people looking at the emails to the CEO and following up with executive support. I was afraid this might end after Steve left.

It's just too bad that in certain instances, the people who follow up are powerless to do anything, and the people who do have the power to do things and who need to be hearing from disgruntled customers like me may or may not be getting a filtered message or even paying what they do hear any heed.

I was trying to think of the big name companies where you can directly email the CEO and actually expect a valid response back. I can't name more than a handful.

If only people had the option of not buying Apple phones...

Your sarcasm is noted. :) I will switch if Apple does not address this. The phone DID used to work, and I WAS happy with it. In the world of software, things apparently CAN change AFTER you have bought the product and already lived with it for a while.

Or change their network ?

At the end, Network X does not support Phone Y for whatever reason, you need to vote with your wallet. End of (non) story.

Except that when it comes time to evaluate which way to vote with your wallet, the "whatever reason" does matter. And since Straight Talk isn't the entity here that is enforcing this restriction, I am much less likely to give them the boot, and much more likely to give Apple the boot.

I too use my unlocked iPhone on Straight talk and didn't realize I had this problem.

Why can't Straight Talk just push the correct APN settings when connected to the network?

Because APNs don't work that way. There's no "standard" way of doing that. It's not like over-the-air PRL updates on CDMA2K networks. On iPhone specifically, there's only one way of pushing APNs to the phone, and that is if the carrier has a carrier profile. If they wanted to have their own official, Apple-signed carrier profile on iOS, they'd have to play by Apple's rules, which presumably means becoming a contracted iPhone reseller.

Since Straight Talk rides the AT&T network and all of their SIM cards bear the AT&T IIN, there are some additional technical hurdles, some of which are discussed and fleshed out here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=16266984#post16...

Ideally, APNs would just be another value that the SIM card could carry. But I guess since packetized data over GSM predates the SIM card standard, we're stuck with this need to program them directly into the phone.

This is also a problem with Simple Mobile (a MVNO that I'm trying out with a carrier and development unlocked AT&T Branded HTC Titan). Repeatedly, it will default to T-Mobile or AT&T APN and Cell settings, causing me to lose cell service and internet access. Oddly enough, when they've switched settings and cell/internet is supposedly down, I will get MMS messages. There is no way to set the settings correctly and lock them down from an end user perspective. It's pretty much a wash when it comes to service since there aren't enough T-Mobile towers where I'm at, and after the amount I've already paid for is up, I'm switching to Straight Talk to give them a shot.

That does suck, but if it is an AT&T-branded phone, it is less surprising (although no more acceptable) that you've encountered this problem.

If you go into an Apple retail store and buy an off-the-shelf carrier-unlocked no-brand-stickers-anywhere-on-the-device Apple iPhone 4 or 4S at full price ($450/$550), you will still run into this, which is ridiculous.

Would getting the FCC involved help? It wouldn't hurt to file a complaint. I think they've forced phone companies to enable unlocking in the past, and Apple needs their approval to sell the iPhone in this country. So they may be willing to get involved.

That's an interesting avenue I had not thought of; thanks.

If anyone else has this problem, check out http://www.unlockit.co.nz/ from your iPhone. It creates APN settings profiles which can be installed even if your carrier has disabled them.

This does not fix MMS.

Their site simply constructs the same kind of configuration file that Apple's official iPhone Configuration Utility generates. You can override an APN in those configuration files...the internet APN, and ONLY the internet APN. There is simply no place in the iPhone Configuration Utility to specify an MMS APN, and there is presumably no field in the configuration file itself for it to go.

iPhone Configuration Utility, unlockit.co.nz, and all their ilk ONLY fix internet data, and not MMS.

Arguably, people who still care about "picture messages" deserve to get fleeced by carriers. If your Internet APN is working, send and receive emails like normal people.

Still, fuck Apple for locking the user out of configuring their own device, though.

My prepaid flat-rate plan includes "unlimited" SMS/MMS (and don't get me started on use of the word "unlimited" by service providers...). In any case, it doesn't cost me anything extra, and it's way easier to be able to accept and send MMS messages to people in your life who are going to use that channel of communication with you regardless of how many times you tell them to use e-mail to talk to you THAN it is to face them after they've sent you something and then you run into them a few days later and they want to know why you never responded. (EDIT: ...okay, that was a terrible run-on sentence.)

The last time I went to the US, I used "Red Pocket", another AT&T reseller.

For data connections to work, they just generate an APN settings profile for you (http://goredpocket.com/configure)

Seeing as they can't seem to push For MMS settings, they give you the instructions:


Worked fine for me.

How long ago was this, and what iPhone model and iOS version were you using? The instructions they give are exactly the ones that I need to be able to execute on my "unlocked" phone, but the menu they reference is being suppressed by AT&T's carrier profile. I don't see how it is possible that these instructions could work for anybody that was using Red Pocket on an iPhone that wasn't jailbroken and that didn't have a tweak installed that reveals that Cellular/Mobile Data Network settings menu.

What prevents the OP from using an official firmware (one Google search away) in combination with TinyUmbrella and install it then via iTunes?

Or did i overlook something?

You overlooked the fact that TinyUmbrella cannot help if you did not happen to use it to collect your iOS 5.0/5.0.1/5.1/5.1.1 SHSH blobs generated uniquely for your device by Apple at the time that iOS 5.x was the latest version available. Once iOS 6 came out, if the blobs for previous version(s) had not already been collected, then it's "tough luck: you're stuck."

Sounds frustrating.

While it may sound reasonably possible to allow a downgrade I don't think that's the case. Apple has made this no-downgrade a core rule so that developers can rely on that rule and only worry about building a one-way data migration path for new versions.

So maybe some of your data / configuration has been converted during the move to iOS 6 and now there is no process that can convert them backwards into an iOS5 format.

But that's the case with any software update. So that makes it my responsibility to make and keep a comprehensive backup of my system and app data before I initiate the update, if I want to be able to go back. Either that or I accept the possibility that I'll have to start over with my data. So what? How is that any different than software on a personal computer?

Both of these options (backup or clean start) are burdens I am more than willing to accept and bear in exchange for having the freedom to backlevel my software as I see fit. Apple doesn't need to support people's downgrading efforts (as in, hold their hand, explain how to do it, etc.), but they've gone way beyond "not supporting" it. Going out of your way to develop a system that prevents downgrading? WTF?

I've said this on other forums, so I apologize if it sounds like I'm repeating myself, but the way I look at it is that if Apple is going to insist that I can never, ever reinstall an older version of the OS, then they are absolutely on the hook to deliver 100% bug-free software every single release. That's impossible, even for Apple (:-P). People aren't perfect, and they make mistakes. So it is absolutely imperative that they give their customers an "out" that they can elect to take if a bug or shortcoming of a software update introduces an undue burden for the user, and they need that functionality to work the way it did before while a new version (hopefully with a fix to your problem) is developed, tested/QA'd, and finally shipped. That kind of thing doesn't happen overnight, and it is not reasonable for software companies to expect people to live with certain classes of bugs or other problems while the fix takes 2-3 months to ship.

Enterprise system operators wouldn't stand for that kind of behavior from a vendor; if Cisco has a showstopper regression in their latest code that ends up biting people in the butt, there is NO way an admin worth his salt is going to keep running that version until the fix is in.

Heck, PC users wouldn't stand for that kind of behavior, either: can you imagine the outcry that would have resulted if Microsoft had told everybody who upgraded their PCs that were previously running XP to Vista that they're not allowed to undo the upgrade, even via a format and reinstall? Or what would have happened if, once Vista had been released, Microsoft told people that if anyone still running XP ever needs or wants to perform a clean-install of Windows, they would be forced to install the latest available version of Windows (Vista)? (Technically they could kind of do this if they elected to shut down the product activation servers for XP, but to Microsoft's credit, they have not done so and have shown no indications that they are even thinking about doing this.)

Apple does both of these things with iOS: technical enforcement of downgrade prevention, and also technical enforcement (through the same mechanism) of forced upgrade to the latest version during OS reinstall, regardless of what you're currently running. I find it crazy that people put up with it.

Get the official Apple iPhone Configuration utility off of the Mac App Store. It is for enterprise customers to config their iPhone fleet but I use it to set my APN settings for AT&T prepaid which doesn't officially support iPhone.

I'm going to audibly (...well, visually...) emit a sigh and patiently explain, for what I'm hoping will be the final time, that the iPhone Configuration Utility cannot change the MMS APN, only the internet access APN.

This is all pretty comical. The hardware company we all praised when they released the iPhone sans carrier bloatware has apparently become the single most clever practitioner of carrier-prescribed device limitations.

Well played, Apple.

Possible solution? Trade handsets with someone who never upgraded to iOS 6.

Yes, possible solution, but not really practical, for the following reason:

The iOS downgrade prevention mechanism also forces you to upgrade to the latest version, even if you do not want to do so willingly, if you ever need to restore (reload) the OS on your device. If iOS gets corrupted somehow and you need to reinstall, the only version you are authorized to install is the latest version for your particular device.

Even if I had not gone to the slaughter willingly, if the OS had ever spazzed out on me and required a reinstall, I'd have still been screwed. You aren't allowed to reinstall the exact same version that's already on the phone if what you have on it isn't the latest version.

So if I trade phones with someone, I still run the risk that at some point, I'm going to be forced to upgrade.

I don't think this is true... Having never upgraded an unused old iDevice,I'm pretty sure I have still been able to restore from backup without upgrading. But this is really old, so maybe they stopped that in a later firmware update?

It is absolutely true. If the OS itself is not corrupted, you can erase your data and restore YOUR DATA from backup, but that doesn't include the OS itself. If you do a "full restore" of the OS (and this isn't the first time I've observed the confusion caused by Apple's overloading of the term "restore"...in this context, "restore" basically means "complete reformat and OS reinstall"), you WILL be forcefully upgraded to the newest iOS.

I don't know exactly what these small carriers are like in the US, but shouldn't APN data be configured by the SIM/network automatically?

As far as I know, there is no standards-based mechanism for doing so as SIMs predate packetized cellular data over GSM, so the concept of the APN was not around to be "baked into" the GSM SIM when it was first conceived, and the SIM has seemingly not been spec-bumped since to support it. I have never run into a GSM phone that can automatically pull its APN configuration from the carrier network or from a SIM; it's either been pre-configured for you in the ROM (in the case of locked phones) or manually configurable (in the case of unlocked phones).

Apple provides an automatic APN configuration subsystem that the carriers control, but it is completely proprietary to iPhone, and it is in fact this exact subsystem that is causing me grief.

Some final notes of clarification:

1) Straight Talk isn't a "small carrier" (read: regional carrier with "rural" possibly implied) in the U.S., at least in terms of the size of the network itself. In fact, Straight Talk doesn't actually own any of their own infrastructure: they ride the nationwide AT&T network.

2) This proprietary iPhone automatic APN configuration system is used on ALL iPhones worldwide, regardless of carrier. So this has nothing to do with how carriers in the U.S. do or do not accomplish this vs. how you think other carriers outside the U.S. accomplish this. If you own an iPhone and have a SIM card in it that was issued by a carrier anywhere in the world that Apple has a contractual relationship with, your phone was configured this way, and you could run into the same problem I documented here depending on the situation.

My original carrier is from Brazil, and I can't see their APN settings, but I've used three SIMs in Europe from different carriers and they all worked seamlessly, and was able to look into the APN settings for at least one of them (Wind, I think).

To me this looks like an issue of Straight Talk failing to fulfill their job as a carrier, or AT&T not providing the necessary access to their resellers. If you're going to sell mobile plans you should have the infrastructure to support it (third-party or not).

Right, so the Brazilian SIM card was issued by a carrier that has a carrier profile included with iOS that is set to block access to that menu, while the European SIM cards you have either were issued by carriers with carrier profiles in iOS that don't block access to that menu, or those European SIM cards were issued by a carrier or carriers that the iPhone knows absolutely nothing about (no built-in carrier profile(s)).

In my case (and in the case of some other customers of other MVNOs), my carrier, Straight Talk, is really just a company that buys wholesale access to AT&T's network and then resells it as a prepaid service to customers. Thus a Straight Talk SIM card looks identical to an AT&T SIM card to the iPhone. And AT&T's iOS carrier profile blocks access to the APN editing submenu. So my situation is different from yours because in your case, your Brazilian service provider and your European service providers had no corporate connections with each other, nor did they share a singular common network, as is the case with AT&T and Straight Talk.

There is next-to-nothing Straight Talk can do about this, at least without both AT&T's and Apple's co-operation.

I'm also using StraightTalk. Have you tried SIM swap with a T-Mobile SIM? I think they describe this on the unlock it.co.nz site.

Haven't -- yet, though I may end up caving before too long -- but I don't really like the idea of having to use such a hack, for the reasons I already listed at http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=16267233#post16...

1) It may be cheap relatively-speaking, but why should I have to spend anything above and beyond what I already spent on this unlocked phone just to make it work the way it should? (I know, I know...this is one of those "it's the principle of the thing" arguments.)

2) It's another glitch, much like the one I used to rely on in iOS 5. And like that glitch, it will surely be fixed by Apple in the future. I need something that is reliable and that I can count on.

3) Speaking of reliable, the jury still seems to be out on how reliable it is. It does seem to stick around for a number of people, but I have read a handful of anecdotes where the APNs were mysteriously reset somehow, and the person would have to re-do the trick. I don't like the idea of having something like that randomly flake-out on me. Plus it would mean that because I'd never know when it might stop working, I'd have to carry that darned T-Mobile SIM card with me wherever I go, "just in case."

I'd rather Apple just fix the issue the right way. A quick software workaround like the one I used in iOS 5 is one thing, but if I'm going to have to resort to jury-rigging something in meatspace, then I might as well drop Apple and switch to a different phone at that point. I'm already considering it.

am I the only one wondering why you need MMS so bad?

Maybe because not all of my friends have iPhones and cannot use iMessage to reach me, and have no idea that when they send me an MMS that it's just going to disappear into a black hole, and I'd rather have the option of not missing any communication?

theres also whatsapp and a bunch of other ways to send media messages. I just feel like not being able to MMS is probably the smallest problem you could have. #firstworldproblems.


Applications are open for YC Winter 2022

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact