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Apple cracks down on Personal Hotspot abuse with iOS 7.1 update

post #1 of 136
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iPhone owners who previously made use of the Personal Hotspot feature on wireless networks that do not support it are now out of luck, after changes in iOS 7.1 have disabled the ability to manually edit tethering settings for unauthorized carriers.

Personal Hotspot


Unhappy users have taken to Apple's support forums to grouse about the issue in a thread that now boasts nearly 16,000 views and over 200 individual replies. Users from the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, Estonia, Italy, and Sweden, among others, have chimed in to say that their tethering ability was immediately deactivated upon upgrading to the latest revision of Apple's mobile operating system.

According to the reports, any changes made to the APN settings for Personal Hotspot are not saved once the user backs out of the Settings app. The problem has been spotted in every iOS 7-compatible iPhone generation including the flagship iPhone 5s, and was initially blamed on a software glitch.

Subsequent testing and conversations between forum users and Apple support agents, however, appear to have narrowed the issue down to a lack of carrier authorization. Users with carriers that support Personal Hotspot have reported a smooth experience, while those who previously experienced the issue and then swapped their SIM card with one from an authorized carrier have seen the problem disappear.

Some users whose carrier does allow tethering but does not have a current partner agreement with Apple may have been inadvertently affected by the changes. Most, however, appear to have been abusing the function enable Personal Hotspot without paying additional fees.

Unauthorized tethering has been a source of friction between iPhone users and wireless service providers since day one. After Apple's deal with AT&T secured flat-rate unlimited data plans for buyers of the first-generation iPhone, the carrier fought a cat-and-mouse battle with users of unauthorized tethering apps until officially supporting the feature three years later.
post #2 of 136
That's really disgusting on Apple's part. Why do they feel compelled to act as the carrier's police when Android doesn't? Nice way to drive customers away to Android.
post #3 of 136
Apple has of course done the right thing putting the interests of carriers first as they are their biggest customers.
post #4 of 136
Got scared there for a second.
I tried tethering my iPad to my iPhone and it still works, through the Telus network (Canada).

IMO this whole deal of charging you extra for the "privilege" of tethering is nothing but extortion by some carriers. If a user exceeds his monthly data limit, then fine, make him pay.
But just adding $$ for the right to tether is, IMO ridiculous.

If anyone has an argument against, I'm all ears.
post #5 of 136
If this was truly deliberate removal by Apple, it was a really a poor decision to favor service providers over existing customers. This just gives one more reason to choose an Android phone over an iPhone and supports the argument that Apple does not provide enough flexibility to users.
post #6 of 136

Undoubtedly this is a response to discount carrier demands, such as Walmart's Straight Talk, who promise unlimited data in advertising, but exclude tethering in the fine print.  Really shady, IMO.  Possibly also an issue with T-Mobile, Virgin, Cricket, etc.

 

It's just too easy for a user to turn on tethering when the carrier prohibits it, and subsequently find that the carrier has terminated their plan, because of the data usage.  

post #7 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordJohnWhorfin View Post

That's really disgusting on Apple's part. Why do they feel compelled to act as the carrier's police when Android doesn't? Nice way to drive customers away to Android.

You're incorrect. Android 4.4 does not permit any unauthorized tethering.
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post #8 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordJohnWhorfin View Post

That's really disgusting on Apple's part. Why do they feel compelled to act as the carrier's police when Android doesn't? Nice way to drive customers away to Android.

Apple have contracts with the carriers and they cannot do whatever they want with the cellular networks, they do not own the networks, and they must follow all the rules and limitations that carriers have for their customers. 

 

Apple would love to give everybody the Personal Hotspot but the carriers do not allow them to do so. If Apple does not do anything to stop the abuses from customers NOT authorized to use Personal Hotstop, then they'll be in the courts with a lawsuit on their ass. 

 

Android is NOT excluded from this, Google will be forced to add the same restrictions to those phones assuming they're with the same ROM. Any attempts to break the carrier restrictions is actually against the law as you're violating the agreements with your carriers. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatentHeld View Post

If this was truly deliberate removal by Apple, it was a really a poor decision to favor service providers over existing customers. This just gives one more reason to choose an Android phone over an iPhone and supports the argument that Apple does not provide enough flexibility to users.

 

You do realize Apple do not own the networks? They cannot violate contracts they have with carriers just because it might favor the customers. Android is not excluded, there'll be the same restrictions added to Android over time and those networks will start to lock down on Android. They're not doing it now because they want Android to take over but I assure you, they'll do the same thing to Google+Android that they're doing to Apple now. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDBA View Post

Got scared there for a second.
I tried tethering my iPad to my iPhone and it still works, through the Telus network (Canada).

IMO this whole deal of charging you extra for the "privilege" of tethering is nothing but extortion by some carriers. If a user exceeds his monthly data limit, then fine, make him pay.
But just adding $$ for the right to tether is, IMO ridiculous.

If anyone has an argument against, I'm all ears.

 

Nobody has a con for this, it's all on carriers for being greedy. I'm paying 50$ a month to get 2GB, it shouldn't matter where those 2GB came from.

post #9 of 136
The Personal Hotspot Feature should exist on all carriers and not be restricted. The Data Cap is what really matters. Otherwise, the Carrier is ripping off the customers which they are really good at doing. Next time I will buy an unsubsidized phone and not be tied to a carrier for a time period. It is an unreasonable one sided contract. They do not deliver on the service end and we have to deliver (always) on the paying end. I had almost rather be shot than go into a VZ store or call them. Sorry that is how I feel. Even the simplest thing takes an hour to accomplish.
post #10 of 136
I am more concerned about Apple's ability to maintain all these profiles and options all the time. E.g. our corporate accounts explicitly allow for tethering, but require a specific APN, user name and password. Of course, none of that is part of Apple's standard carrier profile.
post #11 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post
 

Undoubtedly this is a response to discount carrier demands, such as Walmart's Straight Talk, who promise unlimited data in advertising, but exclude tethering in the fine print.

 

Haha, automated advertising on appleinsider.com has placed a StraightTalk advertisement adjacent to my post above.  The ad reads

"Straight Talk ® Wireless Touchscreen Phone Sale! No Contract Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data - $45."

 

But if you go to their site, and click on the T&C at the bottom of the page, and scan through the tiny print, you'll find:

"7. STRAIGHT TALK UNLIMITED PLANS CANNOT BE USED FOR: any applications that tether your device to a laptop or personal computer other than for the use of Wireless Sync. "

 

So what the right hand gives, the left hand takes away.

post #12 of 136

That's the reason I never upgrade to a new iOS unless it's out 6 months after all the bugs are ironed out and all the rants are known.  People who did, screwed by Apple.  From what I know,  it'll be difficult to downgrade.

post #13 of 136

Gotta love people who blame their failures on Apple. You failed an exam? Your own fucking fault for negligence, not Apple's. 

post #14 of 136

Sometimes Apple does stupid shit.

 

If I'm paying for 2GB (or 4GB or 10GB or whatever) of bandwidth per month, it shouldn't matter how I use it.  This just allows the carriers to gouge users for an additional fee to use the bandwidth they are already paying for.

 

I've really been loathe to go the whole jailbreaking route, but this could very well change my mind...

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post #15 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikhailT View Post
 

Apple have contracts with the carriers and they cannot do whatever they want with the cellular networks, they do not own the networks, and they must follow all the rules and limitations that carriers have for their customers. 

 

...

 

I thought Apple always has the bargaining power.  When did that table turned?

post #16 of 136
The answer is simple... move out of America. It seems for the most powerful nation on the planet you lot seem to have a telecommunications system that is a piece of crap.

I mean I'd expect that from Telecom here in NZ not supposedly the "land of the free" who seem to be less and less free everyday. I feel for you guys you shouldn't have to put up with that crap at all.

Failing moving away from the US are there actually carriers in the States that allow Personal Hotspot? I'd suggest fixing the problem by going to the carrier that allows it to happen.
post #17 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDBA View Post

IMO this whole deal of charging you extra for the "privilege" of tethering is nothing but extortion by some carriers. If a user exceeds his monthly data limit, then fine, make him pay.
But just adding $$ for the right to tether is, IMO ridiculous.

 

Agreed.  It's like the water company charging you not only for the amount of water you use, but how many faucets and toilets you have in your house.

 

Tethering charges should be illegal.  Period.

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post #18 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post
 

Sometimes Apple does stupid shit.

 

If I'm paying for 2GB (or 4GB or 10GB or whatever) of bandwidth per month, it shouldn't matter how I use it.  This just allows the carriers to gouge users for an additional fee to use the bandwidth they are already paying for.

 

I've really been loathe to go the whole jailbreaking route, but this could very well change my mind...

 

"It shouldn't matter" isn't the same as how your contract limits your activity. It would be nice to see a little less regulation and allow more competition among wireless companies (even if that includes letting AT&T gobble up T-mobile).

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post #19 of 136

I just chatted with a SaskTel support person about this.

 

Tony: We have a partner agreement with Apple and allow the personal hotspot

chat_agent.png Tony: My son has it on his iPhone - and I can connect to his hotspot - my personal experience had no issues

 

So, those of us in Saskatchewan, Canada with SaskTel appear to be safe, for now.

post #20 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTBuzz View Post

The Personal Hotspot Feature should exist on all carriers and not be restricted. The Data Cap is what really matters. 

What you say makes sense but only if there is a data cap. For example, many people have grandfathered unlimited data and tethering to a laptop can consume much more data than can be used up with a phone. I used to have unlimited on my AT&T iPhone but the other devices were on separate 2GB plans. Now we use shared data among five devices, one of which is a carrier provided wifi hotspot and it works out great. We have a 6GB data plan but if we go over they just add another $10 per GB which is a lot better than throttling when you go over 5GB with an unlimited plan which I have heard that AT&T does. The thing that I like about the shared data is that it is more flexible. For example, I might not use very much data on my iPad so the monthly fee is not wasted because I use the data on the hotspot with my MBP when I travel. I hate paying for hotel wifi and refuse to use free public wifi for security reasons.

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post #21 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDBA View Post

Got scared there for a second.
I tried tethering my iPad to my iPhone and it still works, through the Telus network (Canada).

IMO this whole deal of charging you extra for the "privilege" of tethering is nothing but extortion by some carriers. If a user exceeds his monthly data limit, then fine, make him pay.
But just adding $$ for the right to tether is, IMO ridiculous.

If anyone has an argument against, I'm all ears.

Apple and Google have done a lot to dry up revenue streams the carriers once had. Apps, ringtones, and SMS/MMS to name a few while at the same time putting a heavier burden on their network. At some time you have to throw them a bone. I'm paying less for service on 2 smartphones now than what I paid on 2 feature phones just a few years ago.
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post #22 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordJohnWhorfin View Post

That's really disgusting on Apple's part. Why do they feel compelled to act as the carrier's police when Android doesn't? Nice way to drive customers away to Android.

How dare Apple lock the back door!
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatentHeld View Post

If this was truly deliberate removal by Apple, it was a really a poor decision to favor service providers over existing customers. This just gives one more reason to choose an Android phone over an iPhone and supports the argument that Apple does not provide enough flexibility to users.

Bwaaaa haa.
Customer: Say tell me how to upgrade my android phone to 4.4. I just got it last year.
Carrier: sorry, we may release an update in 6 months but what you really want is a new phone.
post #23 of 136
Rabble rabble rabble! I'm switching to android because I'm entitled to unauthorized tethering Rabble rabble! /s

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post #24 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post

Agreed.  It's like the water company charging you not only for the amount of water you use, but how many faucets and toilets you have in your house.

Tethering charges should be illegal.  Period.

Take it up with your carrier, then.

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post #25 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordJohnWhorfin View Post

That's really disgusting on Apple's part. Why do they feel compelled to act as the carrier's police when Android doesn't? Nice way to drive customers away to Android.


Quit your whining.  This will not drive people to Android, and since Android doesn't allow it either, you're either misinformed or trolling.

The way I look at it, anyone that has been abusing using this feature for all this time should be considered lucky for being able to do it as long as they have been.  You know you shouldn't be doing it, but entitled-people seem to thing that once they get a free-pass, it's their birthright.

Wrong.

post #26 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


Take it up with your carrier, then.

 

Yes, I'm sure that will do the trick.  :no:

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post #27 of 136
That's completely bogus. There's no legal way some operator can forbid tethering via fineprint, if you pay for a regular data service you may use it in any way. If in doubt buy a MiFi device... It's really painful to see Apple participate in such shady behaviour.
post #28 of 136
Apple does not even always permit tethering if it is clearly allowed by the carrier.

No idea why they purposefully restrict their own devices but they do.

Giffgaff UK, a MVNO using the O2 network, allows tethering, yet, as Apple refuses to give them their own carrier file and designation, it is not possible to activate the personal hotspot.

Android users on giffgaff can tether while Apple users can not.
post #29 of 136
Ah well, there are additional tethering options if you jailbreak your iPhone, just not if you updated to iOS 7.1 as of this posting... :/
post #30 of 136
If I pay for 1gb of data I should be able to use that 1gb however I want. I appreciate that it is the carriers that put the block in place but it's a disgusting way to screw your customers over.
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post #31 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post

Agreed.  It's like the water company charging you not only for the amount of water you use, but how many faucets and toilets you have in your house.

Tethering charges should be illegal.  Period.

Sorry it's more like you own two houses and you want to avoid the minimum meter charge on the 2nd house, so you connect the water and sewer lines between the two.

And if the company wrote their financial model to include selling as many direct connects,mifi devices and USB wireless dongles, why shouldn't they seek contractual protection of that revenue stream.

And should Apple risk the deep pocket penalty for not doing right by the contracts they sign with carrier? No.

Nothing to see here but people entering into service agreements they felt no reason to comply with and want apple to take their scofflaw side.
post #32 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


You're incorrect. Android 4.4 does not permit any unauthorized tethering.

 

no, you're incorrect

 

a carrier-branded+restricted 4.4  will not tether out of the box, but this can be defeated

 

a sim-free 4.4 phone will tether freely

post #33 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryn Lowe View Post

Failing moving away from the US are there actually carriers in the States that allow Personal Hotspot? I'd suggest fixing the problem by going to the carrier that allows it to happen.

 

Yes, Darryn Lowe, the 3 major carriers do allow it.  It's part of their data plan, and those are the three which Apple offers on their website (AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon).  It's the discount and PAYG carriers (and a handful of smaller regional carriers) that prohibit tethering.  Though I hesitate to classify StraightTalk a minor carrier, since they're sold by Walmart, and owned by the massive TracFone (a company I believe is based in Mexico).

post #34 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by umumum View Post

no, you're incorrect

a carrier-branded+restricted 4.4  will not tether out of the box, but this can be defeated

a sim-free 4.4 phone will tether freely

Which phone is SIM free?
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post #35 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by prof View Post

That's completely bogus. There's no legal way some operator can forbid tethering via fineprint, if you pay for a regular data service you may use it in any way. If in doubt buy a MiFi device... It's really painful to see Apple participate in such shady behaviour.

 

I don't know what country you're in, prof, but in the USA a contract is a contract, and it includes the fine print (Terms of Service).  Which in the case of at least StraightTalk, expressly forbids tethering (despite the advertised "unlimited data").  See my post above.  I agree it is unpleasant, but that is why I do not buy service from that carrier.  I get what I pay for.

post #36 of 136

I did not read all the responses, but for those complaining about Apple doing this, I hope your realize the only reasons this worked is someone figure out a hack to the hotspot preference file which required you to use external file editing tool to go in and change the settings to make this work. Apple just fix something this should have never worked in the past. I was looking at this hack since it did not require a jailbreak and buying a third party app.

 

With that said, I am all about you should be allowed to you the connection how you like, if you pay for 10GB you should be able to send 10GB of any type of data weather form a phone or another device. 

 

We just switch our account with AT&T to the new family data plan which gives you ability to use your phone for a hotspot without paying extra. AT&T now seem like they do not care anymore how you use your data under the new plan. Yes it works I tested it on all 3 idevices we have on the plan.

 

I just love the guy you complained about failing his class, really is Apple fault you hack your phone then upgrade and had no clue they disable your hot spot. There is a person who will grow up to be a responsible adult for his own actions.

 

For those still on unlimited data plan with AT&T, they told me and showed me that if you go over 3GB in a month they will throttle your throughput, When I was in the store the associate show us our usage and how we were using our phones and for what kind of data we were using. AT&T know what people are doing so unlimited is not really unlimited anymore and I seen the slow down.


Edited by Maestro64 - 3/19/14 at 12:51pm
post #37 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post
 

Gotta love people who blame their failures on Apple. You failed an exam? Your own fucking fault for negligence, not Apple's. 

 

People like those who's provider is Straight Talk, hmm? Because of weirdness with their carrier profile, data never works properly unless you manually change the APN settings. In the past, this wasn't an issue, but with 7.1 those settings revert back to default, which disables ANY data, as well as MMS. It's not just Straight Talk, either, as many MVNO's have this issue. Android users have full access to their cellular network settings, whereas Apple users do not, because who knows. I understand locking out tethering, but not disabling access to network settings.

post #38 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by umumum View Post

no, you're incorrect

a carrier-branded+restricted 4.4  will not tether out of the box, but this can be defeated

a sim-free 4.4 phone will tether freely

He was right. KitKat does the same thing iOS7.1 does: Disables tethering unless permitted by your carrier. You are also correct tho that it doesn't appear to be hard to workaround with T-Mo bypasses already posted on some Android sites. Still he was correct that the old backdoor tethering was officially closed by 4.4.
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post #39 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post


Sorry it's more like you own two houses and you want to avoid the minimum meter charge on the 2nd house, so you connect the water and sewer lines between the two.

 

"Minimum meter charge" is an analogy that has exactly no application to the situation being discussed.

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post #40 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

People like those who's provider is Straight Talk, hmm? Because of weirdness with their carrier profile, data never works properly unless you manually change the APN settings. In the past, this wasn't an issue, but with 7.1 those settings revert back to default, which disables ANY data, as well as MMS. It's not just Straight Talk, either, as many MVNO's have this issue. Android users have full access to their cellular network settings, whereas Apple users do not, because who knows. I understand locking out tethering, but not disabling access to network settings.

That's it. Either give all MVNOs their own carrier file or users the ability to edit.
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