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iOS 9 Breaks Data On Some MVNOs - With Fix


Some iPhone and iPad users who updated to iOS 9 Thursday got an unpleasant surprise, their data stopped working. The problem seems to be confined to users who:

  1. Use their iPhones on a MVNO that, like most MVNOs, is not an official Apple partner.
  2. Their MVNO uses an access point name or APN, that's different than the one that the mobile network operator their MVNO runs on uses. An APN is the name of a gateway that connects the mobile network to the Internet. If it's wrong, no data.
  3. The mobile network operator is one like AT&T that has asked Apple to block users from manually editing APNs.
In the US, AT&T seems to be the only operator whose MVNOs are affected. The loss of connectivity has been reported by users of AT&T MVNOs Airvoice and H2O. I suspect it affects other AT&T MVNOs that aren't Apple partners including PureTalk USA, Good2Go and Red Pocket GSMA. The issue has also been reported by a customer on Canada's Petro Mobility, a Rogers MVNO.

The problem is related to how iOS automatically configures APNs so that you don't have to. The way it's supposed to work is that Apple sends Carrier Profile updates to set APNs on iPhones and iPads running on its partner networks, including AT&T. Unfortunately the profiles also get sent to the partner operator's MVNO customers and that doesn't work if the MVNO uses a different APN than the operator whose network it runs on.

Traditionally MVNOs and their customers have been able to use a custom APN profile file to correct the APN and get data working. The profile is just a text file with a .mobileconfig extension that contains APN information in an Apple defined XML format. APN profiles can be installed by opening a web link or email attachment using WiFI.  Most MVNO customers use the site http://unlockit.co.nz/ which has APN profiles for hundreds of operators around the world.

The problem is that Apple introduced a new "Cellular" file structure for APN profiles. Before iOS 9 both the new and the old "APN" file structures worked. But the old structure doesn't work in iOS 9. Apple has acknowledged that this is bug and says that support for the old structure will be restored in a future iOS update.

You don't have to wait for Apple. Reddit user UConduit2 figured out what was going on and created an APN profile config file that works with AT&T MVNOs that use the APN att.mvno. You can grab the updated profile from this Reddit post. If you need a different APN use a text editor with search and replace to change the file's two references to att.mvno to the APN your operator requires. Save the profile with a .mobileconfig extension, send it to yourself as an emaul attachment and open the attachment on your iDevice.

If that sounds like too much work, there's an easier way. H2O Wireless has posted an updated APN profile at: https://www.locusapi.com/pcs/h2o.new2.mobileconfig that uses the Prodata APN that H2O and most other AT&T MVNOs that support LTE use. If that doesn't work, H20 has alternate APN profile at https://www.locusapi.com/pcs/h2o.old2.mobileconfig that uses the att.mvno APM and works for some users where the Prodata APN doesn't.

In addition, unlockit.co.nz says its updated all its APN files to use the new Cellular profile format.

Regardless of whether you use the email or website method the key to making this work is to go to Settings>General>Profiles on your iPhone and deleting any existing profiles before installing the new one.

Update 9/24: Apple has released iOS 9.0.1 which fixes the bug that broke APN profiles created using the older format. It also fixes some security issues as well as bugs related to alarms, video playback and the Setup Assistant.

40 comments:

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  1. Apple - finding creative ways to improve your experience

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fandroids should not throw stones. My Nexus 7 2013 tablet was crippled for 6 months by the first 2 Lollipop updates. Now that it's working problem free with 5.1.1 No way will I updated to Marshmallow or whatever it's called.

      Delete
  2. I blame AT&T also. why do they lock the sim cards so we can't edit APNs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I don't get it why lock the Sim card so you can't edit apn?

      Delete
  3. I don't think one has to do with the other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not that the SIM cards are locked they, aren't. When a iDevice registers on the AT&T network, Apple pushes a carrier update that sets the APN and on some networks, including AT&T, locks the APN so it can't be edited.

      If AT&T allowed users to edit the APN like T-Mobile users can the users would be able to easily fix the issue.

      Delete
  4. The issue has been corrected for good2Go Mobile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How? Do Good2Go users have to download an updated APN profile or is Good2Go doing something special?

      Delete
  5. That my friend, is a good question. I'm running into the same problem on my Blackberry Z10. I can pull the SIM and have all the settings available. Put it back in and I'm locked to using just the att.mvno APN. So far I have yet to find out if it's the AT&T MVNO I'm with, or AT&T it's self. Either way it's frustrating as all get out.

    Dale

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lol most expensive phones and still don't work. Apple will have own network soon since financing phones now. Will buy all the towers with money they been stock piling.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yea what happened to iphones just work. The sheep are getting anxious

    ReplyDelete
  8. Apple ~ It just works...until it doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
  9. H2O put a link at the top of their home page to resend the APN settings to users' phones.

    http://www.h2owirelessnow.com/mainControl.php?page=configuration2

    I don't have an Apple phone, so I can't verify this solves the iOS APN update problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have an iphone with h2o wireless. The above mentioned method does not work. I tried that after upgrading to ios 9. After discovering that it did not work, I contacted them. They sent the very same link AGAIN! After re-booting, removing the SIM card, everything possible that I could think of, it still didn't work. Called them again today. This time I received a different link: www.locusapi.com/pcs/h2o.new2mobileconfig So after it prompted me to delete the other profile I installed this one. Again, this too did not work! Did the re-boot, etc., still getting the message "could not activate cellular data network". So very frustrating!!!

      Delete
    2. Try this link: same domain as your and replace the rest url with this:
      /pcs/h2o.old2.mobileconfig

      Delete
    3. "AnonymousSeptember 23, 2015 at 5:11 AM

      Try this link: same domain as your and replace the rest url with this:
      /pcs/h2o.old2.mobileconfig"

      That worked for me!!! FYI I have an iPhone 5s with H2O plan.
      Thank you!

      Delete
  10. PTEL sent out a text:

    PTel Free msg: iOS9 is out! What does this mean to you? http://bit.ly/PTiOS9

    the link goes to a PTEL full page that gives info on setting up the PTEL APN on iOS9.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Also, fixing the Apn via the profile doesn't fix mms apns. So users using this fix may not have mms working

    ReplyDelete
  12. Always best to stick to the official list of wireless carriers supported by Apple.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204039

    Been using several iPhones on Cricket (AT&T owned) for 9+ months now without any issues during upgrades. On iOS 9 now and works perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or stick with a phone manufacturer that lets you you use your phone with any operator.

      Delete
  13. Thanks, re-installing the Airvoice APN from unlockit fixed the issue for me.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Messaged to H2O last night, Looks like they have a solution that works on my iPhone6: https://www.locusapi.com/pcs/h2o.old2.mobileconfig

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I got my new iPhone 6S today, your link works for H2O.

      Delete
  15. Last night messaged to H2O, I got my iPhone6 on iOS9 working now with a link from H2O:
    https://www.locusapi.com/pcs/h2o.old2.mobileconfig

    ReplyDelete
  16. has anyone seen the fix for straight talk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. seriously, I'm looking for the straight talk fix too! It's so annoying, and their customer service sucks/is not helpful at all.

      Delete
  17. Apple has released iOS 9.0.1 UPDATE, bug fix where some users with a custom APN setup via a profile would lose cellular data.

    ReplyDelete
  18. FYI 9.0.1 has not fixed mine on straight talk

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  19. I've now spent several hours trying to get LTE to work on Straight Talk + iPhone 6s. Originally I did not have data either. Apple store was less than useless in trying to get me working, ST support staff is very nice but doesn't seem to know what's up. However they did provide me with a link to a working profile for AT&T based sim that gives me 3G... however no MMS still.


    On your iPhone:::
    1-go into settings then "profiles" and delete a profile for cellular if there is one there
    2-enable wifi and connect to the internet
    3-open Safari and type the following url: iapnupdateatt.straighttalk.com
    4-once there you will be prompted to download a profile, proceed download and to install it (despite warnings)
    5-turn off wifi and test internet connection


    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm using my iPhone on a small wireless carrier's network and my MMS messages are failing since the recent IOS 9 update. I've also tried to install the last two updates without any success. In addtion, I attempted to install the .mobileconfig file for cellular data; however, my carrier uses an APN, MMSC, and Proxy/Port for their MMS configuration. Can someone supply me with a .mobileconfig MMS file so that I can manipulate it with my carrier's settings?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .mobile config can only set the APN not the MMSC or the MMS proxy and port.
      If MMS worked before and you aren't jail broken your carrier must be an Apple partner and the current carrier profile should set up both your APN and your MMS settins.

      Delete any profiles you have installed and check check for updates, if there's a new OS update or carrier profile allow it to install. If that doesn't fix the MMS problem or the updates don't succeed contact your carrier and/or Apple for help those are issues only they can fix.

      Delete
  21. Anymore updates? I have an iPhone5 with iOS 9.0.2 and can't find an APN profile to work on Straight Talk with an AT&T nano sim. This worked on NET10 with an older iOS version. Dangit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delete any profiles you have installed and power cycle the phone so that it downloads the latest carrier update from Apple. Straight Talk is a supported carrier for the iPhone and it should "just work".

      Delete
    2. Dennis, what you advised worked!!!

      I had a major issue trying to get my data to work on my iPhone with MetroPCS. After these two stupid recent updates, the Cellular->Cellular Data Network option where you could manually enter settings for your data, is GONE!!!!! And data settings can’t get picked up by MetroPCS no matter how hard they try. I spent about 4 hours in the last two weeks on the phone with them trying to figure this out, spent half a day at Apple Store, restarted my iPhone about 10 times, took the sim card out, reset the phone to factory settings three times, did all sorts of ritual dances with no result whatsoever. Then i stumbled across this page, amongst tens of others, and among all the info and advices found yours to delete any old profiles from the phone. I deleted the old profile from Simple Mobile, carrier I used before, restarted my phone - and voila!!! IT WORKED!!!!!!
      Thank you so much!!! May the Internet Gods give you lots of good data :)
      Bobby

      Delete
    3. You're welcome. Glad to hear it worked.

      Delete
  22. I will try that, but I think I have already. I've gone through a lot of APN profiles. Thanks much.

    ReplyDelete
  23. So I removed the profiles and nothing automatically happened. I erased the phone and started over and still no data. I called Straight Talk (with the option of completing survey afterward) and the rep SMS'd me a link to install a Straight Talk APN profile. I power cycled the phone and still nothing. The rep had me turn the phone off and put me on hold for about 7 minutes. She came back and had me power on the phone. Data and LTE began working right away. MMS iMessage everything good to go!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am on straight talk and i was able to figure this thing out a pain in the ass ty apple ios 9.0.1 you must jailbreak unless you have other means not sure but get ifile and navigate to /System/Library/Carrier Bundles/iPhone/ATT_FTW_US.bundle/ click on carrier.plist and then select text viewer find the following MMSC under that there is a you must hit edit to change it to (http://mmsc.mobile.att.net)also do the following under Proxy same change to (proxy.mobile.att.net) cant remember what was on those lines before but after doing that you still wont have data so turn on your wifi go on safari and open the following page (unlockit.co.nz) click create apn select country in my case (united states) and carrier -straight talk (new)- click create apn at the bottom this will make a working data profile and thats it you should have working data and mms on your iphone

    ReplyDelete
  25. The H2o.new2 worked for me. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
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