iPhone Data Speed Throttling? Say It Ain’t So, Apple!

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thatguyfromcchs08/

Is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) throttling your iPhone’s true data speed? According to a well-known iPhone hacker, Apple appears to be working in conjunction with three major carriers to “soft throttle” data speeds for the iPhone on their networks.

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Joseph Brown, who is probably best-known for previously creating several iPhone carrier hacks, posted the details of his discovery on the iTweakiOS site. Via Cult of Mac, Brown states, “Apple and the carriers have implented [sic] coding to purposely slow down or limit the data speeds the device can achieve… iPhones are very complex devices with a very complex OS. 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 outperform Apple devices by such large scales.”

Brown notes that the throttling code is found in both iPhones and iPads on AT&T’s (NYSE:T) network. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) throttles data speeds for Apple’s mobile devices on its 4G LTE network. Verizon and Sprint (NYSE:S) both slow down data speeds on their 3G networks, although their data throttling can be circumvented with a hack. However, Sprint does not appear to throttle data speeds on its high-speed network. T-Mobile might be the best option for Apple device users, since it appears to do the least throttling of any carrier.

Brown posted screenshots of iOS code from an AT&T iPhone 5 that demonstrates how the network speed settings are switched from 21.1 Mbps to14.4 Mbps, despite the fact that AT&T’s network and the iPhone 5 support speeds as high as 21.1 Mbps. Via his Twitter account, Brown points out, “I’m not saying the throttling is a typical throttle where you see 2G speeds. Its [sic] a soft throttle to slow users down a bit.”

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Although carriers will sometimes restrict a user’s data speed if they are using significant amounts of data, this appears to be a universal data restriction that is applied to all Apple device users regardless of the amount of data they are consuming. Perhaps worst of all for Apple fans, this data restriction does not appear to be used on Android-powered devices that have a lower data consumption level when in “idle mode.”

Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)

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