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Apple reportedly throttling iPhone and iPad cellular data speeds for top three US carriers (U: nope)

post #1 of 102
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A website dedicated to providing iPhone carrier hacks claims to have discovered code in versions of Apple's iOS that suggests the nation's top three carriers are purposely throttling iPhone and iPad data speeds for all customers.

UPDATE: The original, mistaken claims of "throttling" on iOS devices have been taken back. The issue of carrier profiles is explained in this article.

iPhone 5
Advertised theoretical data speeds for iPhone 5. | Source: Apple


According to developer Joseph Brown (via Cult of Mac), operator of iTweakiOS, specialized code exists on iPhones and iPads operating on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, which limits the devices' network settings to effectively caps data bandwidth.

Brown took snapshots of the iOS code managing the three carriers' network settings as applied to an iPhone 5, all of which appear to hamstring the handset's cellular data capabilities. For example, an AT&T iPhone 5 was limited to HSDPA "Category 10," which tops out at 14.4Mbps. The second-largest U.S. carrier's network is capable of supporting up to HSDPA+ speeds that reach 21.1Mbps.

Throttle
Screenshots of AT&T throttle code. | Source: iTweakiOS


As for Verizon, Brown found throttling code on the telecom's versions of the iPhone and iPad relating to its 4G LTE network. Sprint, it seems, does not have such limitations enabled for its high-speed data offerings. Apple devices running on the 3G networks owned by both Verizon and Sprint, however, are also affected by similar limitations.

Because Apple is in complete control of the code running all of its devices, it can be posited that the company instituted the bandwidth caps at the behest of its partner carriers.

"[?] from previous statements released by AT&T and many tech orginizations [sic], iPhones are very complex devices with a very complex OS," Brown writes. "The OS eats much more data, even when in idle mode, than most phones on the market. So by carrier request, Apple limits devices to 'even out' the network, even if it means Galaxy users out perform Apple devices by such large scales."

In his testing, Brown did not find evidence of throttling on devices operating on T-Mobile's network.
post #2 of 102
Bwaahahaha
post #3 of 102

Troll Ahoy !!  Here they come !!
 

post #4 of 102
Quote:

"[?] from previous statements released by AT&T and many tech orginizations [sic], iPhones are very complex devices with a very complex OS," Brown writes. "The OS eats much more data, even when in idle mode, than most phones on the market. So by carrier request, Apple limits devices to 'even out' the network, even if it means Galaxy users out perform Apple devices by such large scales."

In his testing, Brown did not find evidence of throttling on devices operating on T-Mobile's network.

Here are screenshots of Speedtest.net on my Galaxy S4 and my iPad 4 both with Wifi turned off....

Don't know what it means but they should be the same right?

 

S4

 

iPad 4

 

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post #5 of 102
Your pad4 has a higher latency
post #6 of 102
Two comments:

1) In my speed tests, I don't think I ever got 14Mbps download (Chicago area). I would guess that throttling peak downloads is probably not necessary for most parts.

2) "IOS consumes more data" -- yes, back in 2007 & 2008 when compared to other phones at the time, that was true. But today, I doubt an iPhone uses any more data than your average modern Android, given that they have essentially the same apps that live-updates as iOS does. That statement needs to get with the times...
post #7 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post
Don't know what it means but they should be the same right?

 

The S4 shows an LTE indicator, the iPad does not.

post #8 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleh1234 View Post

Your pad4 has a higher latency

yeah but why? They are both on the same AT&T network? Both on my coffee table...why would they be different?

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post #9 of 102
But...but...but... Apple doesn't give in to carrier requests.
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post #10 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyPaul View Post

 

The S4 shows an LTE indicator, the iPad does not.

yes...but they are both LTE devices...both with LTE sim cards in them... I must be missing something.

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post #11 of 102
My speeds regularly exceed 20-30 mbps on AT&T. No cap here.
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post #12 of 102
S4 and Pad4 have different background services running. Plus maybe S4 higher ram reduces latency
post #13 of 102
My iPhone 5 is on AT&T. I just did a test on their LTE network (using the speedtest.net App) and got speeds of 31.5 Mbps (down) and 14.8 Mbps (up). Now this is less than the theoretical 100 Mbps of LTE, but far greater than the suggested limit above of 14 Mbps -- or is that only for HSDPA? Anyway, if they are throttling the LTE, I am not going to complain. Given that 1080p video tends to require about 6 Mbps in iTunes or Netflix, 30 Mbps should keep me happy for now on my mobile.
post #14 of 102
That is some weak sauce on the part of Apple and the carriers. If anything is grounds for a PR scandal I'd think this is, yet I think it's not likely to happen. I wonder if Apple colluded and conspired with the carriers¡ Maybe Apple did it because people complained that they'd use so much more data if the data was faster¡

Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

Here are screenshots of Speedtest.net on my Galaxy S4 and my iPad 4 both with Wifi turned off....
Don't know what it means but they should be the same right?

No, it's unlikely that you'll get the same results with additional tests on the same device. They should average out to about the same each time on a device but there are certainly reasons for the Tx or Rx rate to plummet on some rogue test.

That said, I would expect these two devices both on AT&T and both using the same network to at least in the same ballpark which they clearly are not. One issue is that the iPad is only showing '4G' which AT&T (and T-Mobile USA) refer to as being connected to their HSPA+ network, not their LTE network, which the S4 shows it's connected to.

That that said said, even once you test each on LTE there could be a firm divide between the two because of the power of the HW, an iffy SIM card, the drivers, the OS and app handling the results, the load from other things using that network, interference, and (what may be most important) the antenna(s).

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post #15 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

yeah but why? They are both on the same AT&T network? Both on my coffee table...why would they be different?

Check you iPad's settings, you may have (probably do given the display) LTE turned off.

post #16 of 102

Look at your graph - the S4 only had one blip of speed - I bet if you actually downloaded a file the iPad would have done it quicker - also your iPad does not show LTE only 4G

post #17 of 102
edit: Pipped by jfc1138.

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post #18 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by af410 View Post

My iPhone 5 is on AT&T. I just did a test on their LTE network (using the speedtest.net App) and got speeds of 31.5 Mbps (down) and 14.8 Mbps (up). Now this is less than the theoretical 100 Mbps of LTE, but far greater than the suggested limit above of 14 Mbps -- or is that only for HSDPA? Anyway, if they are throttling the LTE, I am not going to complain. Given that 1080p video tends to require about 6 Mbps in iTunes or Netflix, 30 Mbps should keep me happy for now on my mobile.

You are getting great speeds!

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post #19 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

My speeds regularly exceed 20-30 mbps on AT&T. No cap here.

I don't believe that they throttle all the time but more as a option if network conditions call for it.
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post #20 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

My speeds regularly exceed 20-30 mbps on AT&T. No cap here.

 

Do you live underneath a cell tower?  ;-)

post #21 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Does your iPad have Enable LTE enabled under Settings » Cellular Data?

Yes it does....

 

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post #22 of 102

The best result I've gotten exceeded 60 mbps with uploads around 30mbps, but those are more rare. The below is pretty normal for this area.

 

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post #23 of 102
It depends on where you are. My iPhone 5 is doing just fine where I am today.

post #24 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

yeah but why? They are both on the same AT&T network? Both on my coffee table...why would they be different?

Look at the pictures again. The iPhone reads LTE while the iPad reads 4G.
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post #25 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Look at the pictures again. The iPhone reads LTE while the iPad reads 4G.

yes...but why? they are 6 inches apart from each other....

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post #26 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

Yes it does....



It also shows that you're on WiFi.
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post #27 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


It also shows that you're on WiFi.

i turned it on after the test...i am at home on my wifi

I had WiFi turned off for both of the screen shots. 

The speeds would have been much higher if Wifi had been turned on. You can see in the screenshots that Wifi it not on...

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post #28 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

Yes it does....

[image]

Assuming you did them at the same time and in the same place the iPad 4 antenna might not be as sensitive as the S4, which was barely hanging onto an LTE signal as it was.

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post #29 of 102
I see 20-40 Mbps down and 8-15 Mbps up regularly using my iPhone 5 on AT&T. That shouldn't be possible according to this throttling claim.
post #30 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

yes...but why? they are 6 inches apart from each other....

Phones probably have priority on the network, so it's possible for your iPhone to be on LTE and not the iPad even though they're right next to each other.
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post #31 of 102

lol.gif
 


Edited by mwhiteco - 6/5/13 at 3:36pm
post #32 of 102
You want to see something sad? Here's speedtest on AT&T DSL. Same house.

post #33 of 102
You're Holding it Wrong!
post #34 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by morganhighley View Post

I see 20-40 Mbps down and 8-15 Mbps up regularly using my iPhone 5 on AT&T. That shouldn't be possible according to this throttling claim.

There's no claim that they're throttling all the time but go to where there's a big group of people together like a sporting event and I'm sure that your device will be throttled.
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post #35 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

That is some weak sauce on the part of Apple and the carriers. If anything is grounds for a PR scandal I'd think this is, yet I think it's not likely to happen. I wonder if Apple colluded and conspired with the carriers¡ Maybe Apple did it because people complained that they'd use so much more data if the data was faster¡

Apple strongarms the carriers like no other device maker. Perhaps this is a bit of "giving back."

post #36 of 102

I've seen no such cap on AT&T with my iP5.

post #37 of 102

Just don't throttle it that way.

 

Sent from my iPhone

post #38 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by morganhighley View Post

I see 20-40 Mbps down and 8-15 Mbps up regularly using my iPhone 5 on AT&T. That shouldn't be possible according to this throttling claim.

Agreed. My iPhone 5 on LTE regularly returns numbers from 18-25Mbps in urban cities. And no, I'm not accidentally using wifi. It's very fast.

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post #39 of 102
My LTE regularly outperforms my wifi
post #40 of 102

The S4 appears to have connected to a server in Pima, AZ and the iPad 4 connected to a server in Phoenix, AZ. Therefore the comparison is suspect.

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