The Truth About AT&T, MMS & The iPhone

AT&TOk, I can’t take it anymore. I’ve got to rant on this whole early MMS coverage by all the media out there. AT&T is not officially releasing MMS early. I’ll try to explain it all.

AT&T blocked MMS on the iPhone when firmware 3.0 was available from Apple. Firmware 3.0 has always supported MMS, that’s why when we had the 3.0 Beta we have screenshots showing how MMS worked, but the messages would never go through because AT&T had it blocked by entering an “opt-out” code. Not to mention many other carriers through out the world started supporting MMS when 3.0 was released when AT&T did not.

AT&T has recently announced that they would finally be releasing MMS to the iPhone on Sept 25th, 2009. How will they do this? First, AT&T needs to remove all the opt-out codes they added to accounts to block MMS when 3.0 was released. This is rumored to be part of the reason of the delay in MMS, but it’s also because the iPhone is a heavy bandwidth device and AT&T needed time to upgrade it’s network to handle the addition of MMS. Next Apple will push a carrier update from AT&T to iTunes. This is not a normal firmware update. Once you update, you will see the little camera in your text messaging and will be able to send pictures along with video, contacts and map locations.

Now the question is, how are people getting this early? Simple, they are getting the code early, running iTunes is a mode designed more for Apple engineers than the average user, and uploading it to their iPhone. But, that’s not all that it takes. AT&T still has to remove the opt-out code on your account. That’s why some people can run the hack and still not have MMS. There is nothing you can do but wait for AT&T to get to your account and remove the code. If you want to know how to get the code early and update your iPhone’s carrier file, check out this article I recently wrote about it.

So, for all of you who’ve been writing about “AT&T Releasing iPhone MMS Early”, please get your facts straight. Why? Because you’re giving everyone false hope that some how their iPhone is going to automatically get MMS between now and September 25th without them doing anything. It’s just not true. It’s a hack. Even in a recent interview with AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel by USA Today, he said, “Sept. 25th is still the date…” “We can’t comment on what people might be doing” to get MMS in the meantime.

And, for those of you who are waiting for September 25th, you are going to have to connect to iTunes to update the carrier file on that day. It won’t just start working on it’s own. If you have any questions about this, please ask them in the comments and I will try to clear things up. And if I’m wrong about any of this, please let me know and we’ll make sure everyone gets the right info.

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  1. Well I still have a opt-out code on my account if I am on a iPhone text messaging plan, but if I switch it to a normal text messaging plan (the clearly states mms) I can send and recieve mms. So yes att is technically removing the opt-out code as long you remove any iPhone specific text plan. I have personally verified it iPhone unlimited text – no mms. Generic unlimited messaging plan – mms :)

    • How were you able to change it to a generic unlimited messaging plan? I log into my account and click on change features, but it only gives me the option to change to iphone messaging plans. I changed the phone and it didn’t change the options to choose like the generic plan.

    • So I tried this and it didn’t work for me. 10 more days of waiting won’t hurt I guess. We have waited this long anyways.

    • @Mira.
      I put my sim in another phone for about an hour. Then logged in to my account and removed the iPhone plan

    • But, that has nothing to do with the opt-out code as you are bypassing the phone from thinking it is an iPhone. Thus, no opt-out code. This ‘dirty’ hack has been around for a long time now. It was also being removed from iPhone about every 24 hours once it realized it was an iPhone again. I know AIS wrote an article on that hack some time ago.

    • this is what i did.

      get your old phone and call 611 and tell them that you switched phones and you dont have a iphone 3G.
      then they are going to ask 4 the IMEI number of your old phone and then they can change your existing data plan for iphone for a regular data plan. with a regular data plan, you can send MMS and use tethering

    • @Sean up until theis past week I could not send a mms. I have had the generic SMS plan for over a year and AT&T still blocked my messages from being sent.

  2. I have been seeing this alot as well all over the web, IDK if people arnt reading all the way through post’s or if they really just cant understand what they are doing before they do it(might not be the best idea). I personally read not just one but a couple sites just to make sure I know what i am doing. Anyway my two cents for what its worth.

    P.S. Thank you Doug for all your help with this “Hack” I have had alot of fun with the MMS!!!!

  3. Daniel Michalek says

    The question I keep hearing and keep asking is… Does the MMS release require OS 3.1? Or can those of us still on jailbroken 3.0 actually us the MMS release?

  4. Thanks for clearing that up. I was one of those people who were thinking that out of nowhere between now and the 25th I would be able to send MMS because of what I was reading on some sites about AT&T releasing MMS early for some. Now I can patiently wait until the 25th. I tried the hack, but I get the red exclamation. So no luck for me.

  5. I ran the command on a Vista pc to allow itunes to see the IPCC file for carrier 5.0 file. did the “shift + update” combination, selected the IPCC carrier file and selected “open”. It begins to update and as the progress bar begins to show signs of movement, i receive an error message and it quits the process. No damage or change to phone but the file does not load/update. anyone else running into this problem and no a workaround or what i might be doing wrong.

    win Vista 32-bit
    iPhone 3G 8g running jailbroken OS 3.0.1

  6. I ran the command on a Vista pc to allow itunes to see the IPCC file for carrier 5.0 file. did the “shift + update” combination, selected the IPCC carrier file and selected “open”. It begins to update and as the progress bar begins to show signs of movement, i receive an error message and it quits the process. No damage or change to phone but the file does not load/update. anyone else running into this problem and know a workaround or what i might be doing wrong.

    win Vista 32-bit
    iPhone 3G 8g running jailbroken OS 3.0.1

  7. How do I get the version 5.1 i am updated to the new 3.1 update on my unjailbroken iphone but my voicemail stopped working so i resorted back to the 4.0 and it still doesnt work so i figured i would give it another try if i had the 5.1

    • Click on the link in the 4th paragraph where it says “check out this article…”

    • ok thanks but i just did that and my voicemail still isnt working. Is there a way to revert back to 4.1 or whatever it is for the 3.1 update so i can get my voicemail working again without restoring my entire phone.

  8. I had to replace my phone yesterday. Prior to this I completed the hack and MMS worked perfectly.

    Because I had to replace my 3GS for battery reasons, I’m sort of hesitant updating it again using a hacked file. Now I’m obviously a non-techie but is there any way this hack could potentially affect battery performance? Please don’t laugh or worse, scream.

  9. im running carrier file 4.0 and have mms unlocked .. but still dont have the opt out code removed .. funny thing is i even saw on my bill .. mms opt out ..

  10. How to get opt out code from account:

    Insert iphone sim card into any other non iphone and go to att website and change your text plan to a regular (non iphone) text plan (you might have to change type of phone on account manually).. Once you change the plan, take out sim card and put it back in the iphone.. There you have it, the opt out code is now gone.. Hope this helps…..

    • yes, this works 4 me and i only pay $10 a month for unlimited internet access. I am not paying $30 bucks for iphone data plan. especially with this bad economy. and yeah, with this plan i can send mms and use tethering.


      Not sure you can do that anymore,eventually you will get texted or e-mailed on changing your data plan.

      i have been using the iphone for over a year,and i used 2G and the 3G and until recent,i started to get text alert from att and then a actual e-mail,so when i called,they did not have anything in record as contacting me,but it did say if you do not call us and change your data plan,you will be automatically switched to the proper data plan.

      just watch what you do,cause i have had a pda package for years and i do pay 35 for both unlimited data and text. but with the iphone,att is getting tight with their system.

      just a fyi…

  11. this all worked for me on both a 3G & 3GS. Just updated the carrier file and put in the MMS settings shown (didn’t work till I did that).

    I’m on a family unlimited messaging plan.

  12. I downloaded the file and ran it to get the update and it worked for me! I even tested it out the same night.

  13. Thanks Douglas,

    I’m over here syncing my 3GS every few hours thinking I’ll get lucky like the “others” & have MMS early. Now I see what’s going on, so I’ll be impatiently awaiting until 9/25.

    Thanks Again,

  14. I have family unlimited messaging on my account. I have been able to MMS since July. I have 3.0.1 on my 3GS. I have ipcc 5.0… I made sure I had the APN setting correct that at&t uses for other phones and it all works. Google is your friend.

  15. All I know is that eveybody that I know has mms. I know this because I did it for them. So we send mms back and forth all the time. They are all jailbroken , 4 of them are 3g, and my 3gs. All the phones are still on 3.0.1. We can send and receive. I even sent a pic to a guy on tmobile with a crappy phone. Didn’t have to do all that stuff you said. Like I said before all I did was download a source that had mms and tethering settings. Read the description before you install. It tellls you how to do it. It takes 2 minutes to do. It worked on 5 iPhones for me.

  16. With just the carrier file I couldn’t send MMS. I called AT&T and had them remove my TEXTING plan. I called back and asked them to add the MESSAGING plan. Minutes later MMS was working.

    It’s not a code, it’s the plan.

  17. Does anyone ever see a fix for iPhone classic (i.e – EDGE network phones) to receive MMS. I see and hear about swirly but have never been able to get that to work.

  18. If I decide to jailbreak my 3g tonight will I still be able to plug my iPhone into iTunes on 25th and have the MMS update? Thanks for the help in advance

  19. Anyone else notice that you can go into the voice notes app and record something and then send the recording through mms?

  20. Why does the iPhone send a “Group MMS” when you send a message with no picture to more than one person? It makes no difference to me, but since I enabled MMS on my iPhone 2G (unlocked on T-Mobile) when 3.0 came out and now on my 3GS (on at&t), friends on Sprint say the messages are received as an empty MMS. Anyone have any ideas?

    • So you are able to send MMS on a 2G iPhone? I have done the jailbreak to my 2G and it has the camera icon in the message app but when i try and send I still get the red exclamation mark.
      I have AT&T and the full data plan. Any advice would be truly appreciated.