iPhone MMS: Apple and AT&T Sued, MMS Not Possible(?!), and When Does Summer End Anyway?


Apple and AT&T are being sued in Louisiana over the lack of MMS available for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS users running iPhone 3.0 software. Now, it's gotten to the point where TiPb doesn't pay too much attention to Apple lawsuits anymore just because they're so frequent we'd need to get the blog roomier pants, and while we're not lawyers and can't comment as to the merits of this case, it's yet another (painful) reminder that AT&T has dropped the ball when it comes to MMS on the iPhone and especially when it comes to communicating what's happening -- and keeping updated -- their long suffering user base.

Says TG Daily:

Apple, says the filings, has revealed that AT&T has never upgraded its towers so as to support MMS functionality. "The only excuse offered by AT&T and Apple is a mouseprint disclaimer on the website, in barely readable font, which reads 'MMS Support from AT&T coming in late summer'".

That's the part where it kind of falls down for us, however. Now, I'm not on AT&T, but several of our readers are and as part of beta tests and carrier tests, some of them have indeed sent MMS messages on AT&T, and AT&T's website seems to show it working for other phones, so... huh?

Is this once again an absurd claim distracting from the real issue -- that summer grows later and later, and there's still no word on iPhone MMS from AT&T? What are they waiting for, a Special Music Event?!

[Thanks to Gregg for the tip!]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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iPhone MMS: Apple and AT&T Sued, MMS Not Possible(?!), and When Does Summer End Anyway?


The day AT&T delivers service as promised on time I personally will buy a iPhone 3GS for the next three people I set my eyes on.

Cool glad to see you got it up Rene. Im willing to wait. Its not bad, all of my friends have iPhones. or Crackberries. I email everything, including, my lovely girlfriend emailing about 40 Megs worth the videos and pictures daily. Im sure I will give it a whirl when its available, but how many carriers are allowing you to send video over MMS?

"especially when it comes to communicating what’s happening — and keeping updated — they’re long suffering user base."
"they're" is supposed to be "their".
On a more relevant note, yes I am fed up with AT&T's b.s. like it's other millions of iPhone customers, but whoevers filing the MMS lawsuit is a moron. They will only lose money from it on lawyers, and AT&T promised MMS before the end of summer. The "autumnal equinox", marking the beginning of fall, is usually on September 22nd. That means they have until this date to deliver MMS to iPhone users. This is just technically though, and hopefully they won't wait until that long.

I am actually hoping they don't release it this summer so I have an excuse to cut my contract and maybe avoid the etf.

@Ro, yeah i have an n85 to, i actually love playing the ngage games and most of the software is free, even full fledged stuff that wouldnt be on app store. So if this doesnt work out (cross fingers!), im leaving.

This isn't much different than apple denying that Iphone 2G's are capable of MMS, when obviously that's true as a simple cydia download and some setting changes now allows me to send MMS. I'm waiting for the day that AT&T allows those with 3GS to send MMS, but claims that iPhone 3G's are incapable of doing so, in order to get more people to upgrade phones and/or calling plans.

@Chris - Apple didn't say the 2G was incapable of MMS (or video for that matter), just that 3.0 wouldn't enable it, and they weren't going to put in the extra effort to engineer it specifically for the slightly different hardware.

I think all its going to do is cost AT&T a few hundred thousand dollars if they win or a few million if they lose. Which does nothing for the customer except ensure an eventual rise in service cost. The people starting the lawsuit are probably lawyers and like I said business is bad, what better way to spark up some business for themselves. Its likely going to take months to get through the lawsuit and right in the middle of it AT&T will roll out MMS, just like they planned and right on the schedule they quoted. So it may just cost them a few million dollars for no reason at all.

Alright you have to go to that site, load up your carrier profile (AT&T) and update your carrier setting in iTunes. To AT&T (carrier profile) 5.0. To find your version, settings>general>about and it's there under carrier profile. Go to google, type in AT&T carrier profile 5.0, download it to desktop, etc, open iTunes, plug in iPhone (mine is a 3g[s]), then shift+click on 'check for update'. When you're browsing for the file, click the drop box for .ipcc files ONLY. Click on the file. Takes like a second to upload. Good to go. I can post a vid on my YouTube of me sending mms's of all kinds (pictures video audio location and contact) up if you'd all like. It's simple and I looooveee the benefits. Mms works flawlessly. Hope this helps guys.

now i'm no expert on cell phones but i'm pretty sure the towers don't work that way... the towers already support mms because other phones can send and receive them
its just at&t needs to activate our iphones to send and receive mms

Chris, still, the 2G CAN send mms. I can do it on mine with a simple mod in cydia, or SwirlyMMS. so, that's false, but the Bluetooth claim is true.

Apple said at the Preview Event that the hardware had changed enough that iPhone 3.0's MMS, Stereo BT, etc. would not work on it. That's not the same as the hardware being incapable of it -- just 3.0's radio, stack, etc. wouldn't work on that hardware.

I'm sure the 2g can send mms if apple really wanted it to just like video could work on the 3g if they wanted it to.
It's just apples way to get you to buy the newer models.

I don't see how apple can be sued really. The iphone supports mms just fine (im using it here in NZ) its not their fault if the network you use it on doesn't support it! If thats the case im going to sue VF NZ and apple for not having VVM and not supporting all the different phone number formats over here in NZ grrr! >:( Not that you would hear about overseas iphone problems on this site....

@ Matt I definitely agree with you. Damn apple!!
And Martin, you're in New Zealand, you should be happy your network isn't AT&T. You should be posting somewhere else! :)

A couple of guys in the AT&T store I went to last week said in September. They couldve been full of shit but it's what they said.

@Rene you are dead wrong, Apple claimed the 3G couldn't have MMS because the HARDWARE wouldn't support it. Check your facts.

First off, lecturing someone on proper word order or spelling in the comment section of a nerdy little blog is being a total dong. You don't know if someone making the comment is using English as a second, third, or 25th language. I see this all the time in comment sections and it always makes me wanna barf. Go eat some tapioca.
Secondly, well, as a customer of AT&T, even way before the Cingular/Att bs switch, I always thought AT&T had crappy service (wireless) and customer service. Since I made the joyfully GLORIOUS decision to let Apple grace my life with their overpriced, crappy battery containing, oversized, overly glorified garbage... Uhh phone, my opinion of both companies has since declined and I hope my phone's battery will last long enough to see the day that both companies fold and all the smug apple worshipers can run crying to their hybrid cars and drive off a cliff.

I stand by my question.
If MMS is so important to all of you why did you buy a phone that doesn't have this feature?

What is this guy suing over anyway? I'm waiting for MMS as much as the next person, but it ain't end of summer yet...?

Stop complaining about mms. It's a smartphone so u can do all that by email and u haven't had mms on the iPhone from the begginning. It's coming so just be patient. U waited 2 years what's a couple mire weeks

Bottom line if they offer mms, it should be there. That is wrong advertisement and that is why they (AT&T/apple) get sued. Welcome to the USA, now get over it and get on with your life.

The iPhone is a fantastic device but it has many shortcomings that in hindsight seem soo simple for Apple and AT&T to fix, this is true, they really need to get their shit together but I feel that they do this only to create a buzz and an addictive subculture that is inherent for the device.
But honestly I am glad this has happened, MMS should have been active since the beginning just as every other one of iPhone 3.0's "new" features.

It is so very common to hear folks say that email is an equal, if not better substitute for MMS and that users who like MMS should just stop complaining.
Yes, you can send video, pictures, etc via email. Yes, it is free. But the purpose of MMS, IMHO, is the direct connection to other cellphones. When you send an email, you have several challenges that are just not present with MMS:

  • The receiver has to check their mail constantly to see your message. Some people don't check their email for several days!
  • Many cellphone users do not even set up their email addresses or even have the option for an email address for their phones.
  • Sending this type of message directly to another cellphone requires that you know the reciever's mobile email address, rather than reference their number in your contacts.
  • Even if the reciever has a mobile address set up, you have the mobile email address, and the reciever checks their mail every five seconds...there is also a strong possibility that the media will not display/play correctly or completely.

I simply do not see email as the total mobile solution for media transfer. Apple made the mistake of taking MMS for granted when they first developed the iPhone and AT&T does not have any justifiable excuse for delaying its inclusion in the feature set for this phone.
And for the record, when I talked to an AT&T rep about my purchase, I was led to believe that the phone would have all the basic features of any other cellphone. The rep drew the line at differences in its smartphone capabilities. (Yes, I could have researched more, but it is not a stretch to find lots of customers that made a similar assumption.)
Sorry for the long post.

i don't understand it, what makes iphone mms so special? i had MMS on my bold, curve, k800i, blackjack, 8125, bb pearl... i could keep going. I don't understand what makes implementing it on an iphone so difficult. I've been with ATT for as long as i remember, but i just cant understand how hard this is, MMS has been around for years, why do they need to upgrade anything to make it work, its BEEN working for like every other phone in the world.

yeah my patience is running low... i wont use MMS alot bc i mostly email.. but a friend sent me pics thinking I have MMS and I DONT..kinda annoying ... AT&T seriously you need to hurry up

I am so over AT&T. The very second Verizon offers iPhone (please, Apple!), I'm paying my $170 cancellation fee and bailing. They can take their MMS and stick it up their butts.

I don't blame you guys that you are annoyed that MMS isn't yet available for the iPhone via AT&T, but I cannot get over how many complaints there are about 'how much AT&T sucks' or 'I wish Verizon would offer the iPhone.'
Personally I think that these same people would complain about any carrier. Neither one is perfect. I'm sure these same people would not be satisfied with anything.

God bless the UK. We've had MMS from day one of 3.0. And I agree with all the ppl saying they can send MMS on jailbroken iPhones, It's possible to send them NOW, so what is ATT playing at? Whatever member of staff is in charge of pressing the big red MMS button, do it already!

I'm aware the iphone 2g can send MMS, I downloaded the Cydia addon, and made the necesarry changes on the day it was released, this is my point, that apple and at&t both lie. Apple definitely DID state that the iphone 2g was incapable of MMS due to hardware limitations, which is obviously not true, as a simple download was enough to completely enable it.

It had to happen sooner or later. Would have been easier for people to sue over lack of 3G coverage in areas that ATT says it covers which amounts to false advertising.

As someone who works for a mobile network, I can tell you with certainty that MMS availability has nothing to do with the towers, unless of course all the the towers are pre-GPRS. Its the core hardware that they would be lacking, as MMS basically runs over GPRS/UMTS etc.

Have you ever lived in a world where amazing mind-blowing technology will be in your hands, but will lack basic functionality?
Well, you will.
And the company that will bring it to you will be AT&T


My wife has had MMS from AT&T for two years now. the first phone she had could only send pics. She now has a LG Vu that runs on the 3G network. Sends MMS just fine. Just not to me on my iPhone.
And get this. Because she doesn't have WiFi on her phone, she uses way more data than I do a month.
We are on the same network. We both live in the Flint, MI area. She has a LG Vu that CAN send MMS. I have an iPhone that CAN'T send MMS. What gives?

Halloween or "Samhain" means "End of Summer" and falls on October 31 of the year. Its historical origin is The Feast of the Dead in Celtic lands.

@chris exactly I had Swirly on my old one, the 2G can send MMS apple lies. But that is what they "said" as an explanation of why it "can't" send MMS.

Vodacom SA also doesn't support MMS for iPhone but guess what .. Markfrost has a downloadable file on his web site which allows you to upload the mms settings to your phone via iTunes, works like a dream. I'm sure you smart peeps could mod the file to work for AT&T.

@killer I second that motion, we're not saying you need to download any illegal apps, but Cydia will give you MMS, Bluetooth file transfer, camcorder and a whole lot more, not legal apps that someone is selling in the apps store just apps that Apple says won't or claim won't work on our normal iPhones. I don't support software piracy but I am allowed to load any software that someone's giving away free onto a device that I have bought and paid for, use or don't use it, I leave it with you.

AT&T has/had MMS. I've been with 'em in one iteration or another for 20 years and used to send MMS on my MOTO Raz'r all the time. meh. . . .

The issue is not with network hardware, its because of a block on your accounts.
When the original iPhone hardware hit with the inability by factory default to send MMS (apples mistake of course, why not include it), AT&T and their dumbfounded ideals had included the block MMS code to their system. Now with its million subscriber base, they have to go and fix all the accounts. Thats the issue. Or so we're led to believe.
Now I know on Fido, I had the same issue, and had to keep calling in,they said it was a device issue, which was bs, and I knew it. A few days ago, the 3G network went to ****, did a couple of network resets, called in, they reloaded my profile (meaning i think they never took the block off in the first place), and oh wow voila it now works.
I know its something that should have been on your iPhone from the start, and you have waited long enough. However, it will happen. When no one can for sure give you that answer, unless they are on the inside. This litigation bs is just someone not doing their product homework.
We live in a day where we expect so much, and get so little. Free press allows us to complain and bicker about it, so we do. deal with the issue in whatever way you want, the time will come when all is fixed. Just push enough, and maybe all the expectations of the customer will be fulfilled.

I tired of hearing all the whiners complain about a lawsuit against Apple or ATT since all of you are going to be the beneficiaries of the successful litigation to provide MMS or pay damages for breach of contract. Lets face it ATT just got into the phone business, right? Are any of you going to stand up to these giants, or you just take the crap they dish out? If you didn't pay your rent you'd be thrown out on the street. Oh, by the way, is there any reason a lawyer should not benefit from a lawsuit? Or are programmers the only ones who should make a handsome living. Just stop crying.

20 years huh? That would mean you were a subscriber to McCaw Cellular since AT&T Wireless didn't form until 1994.

I am very disappointed. I went and got the new iphone 3gs thinking, from the ads and everything else that I saw, that it will have mms support. I paid all this money for this phone and can’t even get picture messages. I posted my iphone on ebay and went back to verizon. At least Verizon is honest and don’t mislead people. Better yet, the new sprint palm pre supports mms, and it is sprints latest phone. At&t and apple suck. Learn from sprint how to do things right, the right way, the first time.

Seriously! The update said we'd get MMS capability. This sounds like MMSBS to me.
Read my take on it at The BIP Section!

Well guys summer offically ends on Sept. 21 (I Think but no later). They (AT&T or Apple) has untill then to turn on MMS or I will be leaving the next day. I'll be going to Verizion. This MMS is a mess. there not need for all this BS. Just turn the $@#! on PERIOD. OR IT'S GOOD BYE FOR ME SEPT 22

Still no mms. Its already the end of summer and theres no exact date on when it's supposed to come out which seems like to me it's not coming out anytime soon. AT&T you suck big dick.

just jb the damn thing and youll get it dont be so dumb. 2g,3g has video you just need to get in it. and that goes for mms also.

At&t is scared to death to turn on MMS, because the bandwith consumed by half of the US PDA market will crush their towers and non-iPhone users.

I have a 3gs that I paid 500 dollars for thinking it would have mms. I managed to get mms to work, occasionally...about every 3 weeks AT&T blocks it again. It takes sometimes 30 minutes to unblock it again. Well today my wife tried to send me video of my sons first words and I couldn't recieve it. Would have made my day to see that, so for that, goodbye apple and AT&T. Shove your iPhone where the sun don't shine. Switching to verizonwireless tomorrow....

I love my iPhone, but forget all these headaches.. There other options out there. Why stay with AT&T. F@$K them.... If everyone left AT&T cause of this issue with mms, then they would get off their lazy asses and fix this asap. But i'm done playing the games. I'll never and mean never return to AT&T or buy anything that has to do with apple again!!!!

This is getting ridiculous. I heard from several AT&T workers that it will be the end of august begining of September. I hope soon or they will lose lots if business from customers.

Every single state needs to sue AT&T...this is absolutely ridiculous!!! So this means that all the while we have purchased the Iphone in advance for a feature that is supposed to be there but isn't yet and are still paying for it. Shouldn't there be a refund for the three months that we haven't had the feature and are being billed for it in our messaging packages???

I'm just not sure how to view this all, given how long MMS was known to be in iPhone 3.0 before it actually got released, and how much longer MMS has existed as a technology. Nonetheless, I'll give AT&T the benefit of the doubt. What really gets to me, though, is the fact that the 'viewmymessage' web-site AT&T provides to view MMS content is absurdly unreliable. I would say that I can actually view less than half of the MMS messages that get sent to me, and the rest of the time I get "a failure occurred during message read".
I get that MMS might be a challenge for AT&T due to some technical issue people may be generally unaware of... But really, if AT&T is going to jerk customer's chains this way over MMS, can't they at least make sure their alternative viewing method actually works? That just doesn't seem like so much to ask.

Hey guys well you know what why would you complain about when AT&T promised it would be here shut the Fuck up and get on with your lives the iPhone already has alot of cool features!! I mean fuck so what if AT&T has it a freaking day late!! I bet none of you little pricks would be satisfied if AT&T had mms TOMORROW!! fuck all you little complaining pricks

...Do not see an update on here about this but, iPhone OS 3.1 has been released to the public. I just downloaded it. You will need to upgrade to iTunes 9.0 before you can do it though. Unfortunately however, still no option for MMS in text messaging though...

I'm a little confused. There were references in some of the above comments that suggest that you're moving away from iBank for Mac and implementing the iPad app instead. Is this the case? I was about to purchase iBank 4, but am now concerned, and won't purchase until I have a definitive answer about this.

Great write-up, I am a big believer in writing comments on sites to let the blog writers know that they've added something advantageous to the world wide web!