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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 103
    bleh1234bleh1234 Posts: 146member
    Bwaahahaha
  • Reply 2 of 103
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,456member


    Troll Ahoy !!  Here they come !!

     

  • Reply 3 of 103
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,131member

    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



     

  • Reply 4 of 103
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,795member
    If carriers want to throttle then they should at least do it on all phones equally or none at all. It seems unfair to throttle an iPhone and not an Android. That certainly explains the benchmarks on speedtest and others from the same location where an Android phone gets far faster speeds.

    Happy to hear my carrier Sprint doesn't throttle LTE at least. Sprint might be slower about building out their LTE network but going multi-mode will pay off big time in the future.
  • Reply 5 of 103
    bleh1234bleh1234 Posts: 146member
    Your pad4 has a higher latency
  • Reply 6 of 103
    _rick_v__rick_v_ Posts: 141member
    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...

  • Reply 7 of 103
    jollypauljollypaul Posts: 328member

    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.

  • Reply 8 of 103
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,131member

    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?

  • Reply 9 of 103
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    But...but...but... Apple doesn't give in to carrier requests.
  • Reply 10 of 103
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,131member

    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.

  • Reply 11 of 103
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    My speeds regularly exceed 20-30 mbps on AT&T. No cap here.
  • Reply 12 of 103
    bleh1234bleh1234 Posts: 146member
    S4 and Pad4 have different background services running. Plus maybe S4 higher ram reduces latency
  • Reply 13 of 103
    af410af410 Posts: 5member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 103
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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¡

    geekdad wrote: »
    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).
  • Reply 15 of 103
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    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.

  • Reply 16 of 103


    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

  • Reply 17 of 103
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    edit: Pipped by [B]jfc1138[/B].
  • Reply 18 of 103
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,131member

    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!

  • Reply 19 of 103
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    djrumpy wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 103
    _rick_v__rick_v_ Posts: 141member

    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?  ;-)

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