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Thread: BYOP iPhone Verizon APN cannot be removed for foreign SIM cellular data

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rchang View Post
    That stopped being the case a while ago. My Verizon iPhone 5s just stopped getting data one day. Got the dreaded "cannot connect to the cellular network" message for no apparent reason. Up until then, I did not need a network profile. Had to go install the TF profile, the same one that is causing so much pain.

    That's the problem. If you get the no network message and Google for advice, you will find many postings that direct you to the TF/Verizon profile. But the posts don't say to do a full backup first. You can end up stuck with a bad profile that cannot be deleted.
    That's what I mean by you having sort of the opposite problem to mine. You lost the TF/Verizon profile when you wanted it. I had the TF/Verizon profile working fine but needed to get rid of it.

    A full backup would not help in my case because of timing. Let's say today I get rid of the profile on my preferred iPhone by resetting to factory and painfully re-setup the phone, losing much data in the process. Then immediately I do a full backup #1. I pop the French sim card in. That will be fine until I leave for the US at the end of the month. That backup won't have much of what I would have liked to keep but will be profile free.

    As soon as I get to the US, I do another backup #2. It will be newer than #1 with one month of new data, but still lacking all of my prior data. Then I install the TF sim and get a TF/Verizon profile on the phone. That's either by going to one of the profile sites or because TF/Verizon pushed it onto my phone. I've done both in past years. I do another backup #3.

    A few months later I get to France or wherever. My phone is stuck again with the unremoveable profile. If I restore backup #1 or #2, I do have a phone without a TF/V profile but only ancient data. Backup #3 has some recent data but is useless because it has the bad profile. Catch 22.

    Somewhere I have seen a reference to two different websites for getting Tracfone/Verizon profiles. Someone said one is better than the other. It wasn't clear if they meant a better (more functional) site or a better profile. I wonder if there is any TF/Verizon profile that could be removed while another profile cannot. Seems unlikely.

    This is my currently unremoveable profile: tracfone.vzwentp

    The full file containing the profile in hidden system settings is com.apple.managedCarrier.plist and contains:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
    <plist version="1.0">
    <dict>
    <key>apns</key>
    <array>
    <dict>
    <key>apn</key>
    <string>tracfone.vzwentp</string>
    </dict>
    </array>
    </dict>
    </plist>

  2. #17
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    After a factory reset, you should try one of the network profiles from flexserve. Those can be deleted. It is only the TF profile that is messed up. If you can get one of those to work, then you can delete the profile and use the French SIM.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rchang View Post
    After a factory reset, you should try one of the network profiles from flexserve. Those can be deleted. It is only the TF profile that is messed up. If you can get one of those to work, then you can delete the profile and use the French SIM.
    There are two profiles on flexserve that look possible. Two are listed for Straight Talk, which is Tracfone on a monthly deal instead of pay ahead as you go. One of those two is no different than what I have now.A third profile is for Verizon.

    The unremovable, hidden one I have now is tracfone.vzwentp
    But maybe flexserve creates a different installation file that leaves this profile removable. SEE BELOW

    The second Straight Talk on that looks possible is acct.tf.gw6.vzwentp

    The straight up Verizon profile is vzwinternet

    I hope someone reading this has already tried those profiles and found one that can be installed and uninstalled on a Tracfone/Verizon iPhone.

    Here is the custom profile file created by flexserve. It it way longer than what I have now but in there is the same tracfone profile. There are also two particularly promising looking lines, or maybe it is wishful thinking. I have put them in bold. They say: "Payload removal disallowed - FALSE"

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
    <plist version="1.0">
    <dict>
    <key>PayloadContent</key>
    <array>
    <dict>
    <key>PayloadContent</key>
    <array>
    <dict>
    <key>DefaultsData</key>
    <dict>
    <key>apns</key>
    <array>
    <dict>
    <key>apn</key>
    <string>tracfone.vzwentp</string>
    <key>password</key>
    <data>

    </data>

    <key>username</key>
    <string></string>
    </dict>
    </array>
    </dict>
    <key>DefaultsDomainName</key>
    <string>com.apple.managedCarrier</string>
    </dict>
    </array>
    <key>PayloadDescription</key>
    <string>Provides customization of carrier Access Point Name.</string>
    <key>PayloadDisplayName</key>
    <string>Advanced Settings</string>
    <key>PayloadIdentifier</key>
    <string>custom.proxy.apn</string>
    <key>PayloadOrganization</key>
    <string>Bytemobile Europe Ltd</string>
    <key>PayloadType</key>
    <string>com.apple.apn.managed</string>
    <key>PayloadUUID</key>
    <string>5CFCCAB3-5136-47DF-88A8-1A826099C1EE</string>
    <key>PayloadVersion</key>
    <integer>1</integer>
    </dict>
    </array>
    <key>PayloadDescription</key>
    <string>Custom APN/Proxy Profile</string>
    <key>PayloadDisplayName</key>
    <string>Custom APN/Proxy Profile</string>
    <key>PayloadIdentifier</key>
    <string>custom.proxy</string>
    <key>PayloadOrganization</key>
    <string>iphone.flexserve.net</string>
    <key>PayloadRemovalDisallowed</key>
    <false/>

    <key>PayloadType</key>
    <string>Configuration</string>
    <key>PayloadUUID</key>
    <string>9E78696D-2EF8-489A-9CB6-539A70B76F1B</string>
    <key>PayloadVersion</key>
    <integer>1</integer>
    </dict>
    </plist>

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandySea View Post
    There are two profiles on flexserve that look possible. Two are listed for Straight Talk, which is Tracfone on a monthly deal instead of pay ahead as you go. One of those two is no different than what I have now.A third profile is for Verizon.

    The unremovable, hidden one I have now is tracfone.vzwentp
    But maybe flexserve creates a different installation file that leaves this profile removable. SEE BELOW

    The second Straight Talk on that looks possible is acct.tf.gw6.vzwentp

    The straight up Verizon profile is vzwinternet

    I hope someone reading this has already tried those profiles and found one that can be installed and uninstalled on a Tracfone/Verizon iPhone.

    Here is the custom profile file created by flexserve. It it way longer than what I have now but in there is the same tracfone profile. There are also two particularly promising looking lines, or maybe it is wishful thinking. I have put them in bold. They say: "Payload removal disallowed - FALSE"





    PayloadContent


    PayloadContent


    DefaultsData

    apns


    apn
    tracfone.vzwentp
    password




    username




    DefaultsDomainName
    com.apple.managedCarrier


    PayloadDescription
    Provides customization of carrier Access Point Name.
    PayloadDisplayName
    Advanced Settings
    PayloadIdentifier
    custom.proxy.apn
    PayloadOrganization
    Bytemobile Europe Ltd
    PayloadType
    com.apple.apn.managed
    PayloadUUID
    5CFCCAB3-5136-47DF-88A8-1A826099C1EE
    PayloadVersion
    1


    PayloadDescription
    Custom APN/Proxy Profile
    PayloadDisplayName
    Custom APN/Proxy Profile
    PayloadIdentifier
    custom.proxy
    PayloadOrganization
    iphone.flexserve.net
    PayloadRemovalDisallowed

    PayloadType
    Configuration
    PayloadUUID
    9E78696D-2EF8-489A-9CB6-539A70B76F1B
    PayloadVersion
    1
    YMMV, but the one that worked for me was "Verizon (4G LTE))". Also, things may have changed since I had this problem, but I was able to remove all of the profiles from flexserve --- even the ones that look like they are from TF.

    Another thing: when I changed SIM cards a few months later, I found that I no longer needed a network profile. One possible explanation is that previously the SIM card was activated with an Android phone's IMEI. The second SIM card was activated with a broken iPhone 5c's IMEI. But could also be a coincidence. I have not seen credible explanation for why some iPhones need a profile and some do not (especially since in some cases the same iPhone + SIM card starts needing a profile for no discernable reason).

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rchang View Post
    Another thing: when I changed SIM cards a few months later, I found that I no longer needed a network profile. One possible explanation is that previously the SIM card was activated with an Android phone's IMEI. The second SIM card was activated with a broken iPhone 5c's IMEI. But could also be a coincidence. I have not seen credible explanation for why some iPhones need a profile and some do not (especially since in some cases the same iPhone + SIM card starts needing a profile for no discernable reason).
    The last time I returned from France and reinstalled the Tracfone SIM card, having wiped my phone when in France, it took a couple of days before cellular data was working. I can't remember if I went to the Australia site to create the profile or if TF/Verizon just pushed it to my phone. In any case, at the time I had not known about the flexserve site.

    When I get back and have some time to experiment, I will try some things with flexserve on my no-profile French phone. If I can install and remove a profile at will, I will try it on my main phone. The only risk is that after I use flexserve on my main iPhone, TF/Verizon could push out a new profile that cannot be deleted.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandySea View Post
    The last time I returned from France and reinstalled the Tracfone SIM card, having wiped my phone when in France, it took a couple of days before cellular data was working. I can't remember if I went to the Australia site to create the profile or if TF/Verizon just pushed it to my phone. In any case, at the time I had not known about the flexserve site.

    When I get back and have some time to experiment, I will try some things with flexserve on my no-profile French phone. If I can install and remove a profile at will, I will try it on my main phone. The only risk is that after I use flexserve on my main iPhone, TF/Verizon could push out a new profile that cannot be deleted.
    I fell into the same trap with Tracfone on AT&T

    I have now a hidden APN profile that I cannot remove anymore.
    I will try to wipe the phone and hopefully can restore from a backup.

    Unless somebody has a better idea...

  7. #22
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    Wow. I can't imagine why anyone would ever want an iPhone, unless they are planning to only use major postpaid cellular providers!

    Good luck!

  8. #23
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    With the popularity of iPhones, it makes sense that so many people want them and shouldn't be restricted to the major postpaid providers.

    It seems like the APN issue needs to be resolved. Is this an Apple software issue or TracFone/MVNO caused issue?

    I was reading today that the latest version of iOS is disabling people's iPhone 8 touchscreens if it detects the touchscreen isn't an original Apple part.. .. See
    https://www.firstpost.com/tech/news-...s-4427473.html

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfusr19 View Post
    With the popularity of iPhones, it makes sense that so many people want them and shouldn't be restricted to the major postpaid providers.

    It seems like the APN issue needs to be resolved. Is this an Apple software issue or TracFone/MVNO caused issue?

    I was reading today that the latest version of iOS is disabling people's iPhone 8 touchscreens if it detects the touchscreen isn't an original Apple part.. .. See
    https://www.firstpost.com/tech/news-...s-4427473.html
    That's what I mean. Apple wants complete control of the iPhone that the consumer paid for.

    But I guess enough people are willing to pay $699 to $999, usually plus tax, just because they want an iPhone, and they don't care how little control they really have!

    I'm not saying that Google or other manufacturers can't or will never do something like this, but it is definitely less of an occurrence with Android phones compared to iPhones!

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfusr19 View Post
    With the popularity of iPhones, it makes sense that so many people want them and shouldn't be restricted to the major postpaid providers.

    It seems like the APN issue needs to be resolved. Is this an Apple software issue or TracFone/MVNO caused issue?

    I was reading today that the latest version of iOS is disabling people's iPhone 8 touchscreens if it detects the touchscreen isn't an original Apple part.. .. See
    https://www.firstpost.com/tech/news-...s-4427473.html
    I think it's an issue between Apple and the carriers. The carrier has a way to make this APN profile hidden. I assume the carrier should also have a way to remove it. Tracfone is probably too incompetent to do so.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkBow View Post
    I think it's an issue between Apple and the carriers. The carrier has a way to make this APN profile hidden. I assume the carrier should also have a way to remove it. Tracfone is probably too incompetent to do so.
    Tracfone customer service and tech support wrote the book on incompetence. They do have some good people, but it is very difficult to get through to them. Even worse, the incompetent ones and their "supervisors" (probably just the person in the next cubicle) are directed to stick to their wrong answers rather than admit they just don't know.

    I have tried my best, but could not get to anyone who understood the APN profile issue at all. I cannot tell if Tracfone or Verizon are responsible, either by the way the profile is pushed by them or because they have gotten Apple to let it be hidden. I have not had any better luck with Apple.

    So much for my rant. More on point: The reason to use Tracfone is that if it fits your usage pattern, it is by far the cheapest way to have a cell phone. Where I live, I need to use the Verizon system for coverage. AT&T is too limited. I pay around $100-130 per year for the Tracfone/Verizon minutes I need plus get enough data for email, data support of visual voice mail and map programs, and occasional Internet use. Just for the same number of minutes, I would have to pay Verizon pay-as-you-go more than double, plus extra for data. Plus, if Verizon is at fault for the APN profile problem, I'd be no better off.

    boz1: As for the iPhone, there are many good reasons why some of us prefer them to Android phones. And vice versa. Personal choice. As noted, under earlier iOS version, there was no problem deleting the profile. If that hadn't changed, regardless of who is responsible, we wouldn't be having this discussion at all. We'd just be happy travelers.

  12. #27
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    Android phones never leave you hanging like that.
    You have an APN that you, as customer, can edit, or add a new one, except the case where the phone is subsidized and that menu is locked.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkBow View Post
    I fell into the same trap with Tracfone on AT&T

    I have now a hidden APN profile that I cannot remove anymore.
    I will try to wipe the phone and hopefully can restore from a backup.

    Unless somebody has a better idea...
    I completely wiped my iPhone and restored from a previous backup before the Tracfone APN profile was installed. Suddenly data was working :-)

    BYOP SIM cards on the AT&T network do not need an explicit installation of an APN profile. It is automatically pushed to the phone!

    Whatever Tracfone support says, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE install the APN profile your are pointed to such as iapnupdate.tracfone.com or ireseller.tracfone.com or any other one! You will not be able to see it or remove it anymore! The only solution is completely erasing your iPhone!

    The situation in the beginning was more complicated because phone calls worked but data didn't. I started working on the cellular data problem because I suspected it to be an APN issue. Only later did I discover that texts also did not work. In the end I found out that the carrier side of my account was not working correctly and Tracfone support had to reset it after I was told multiple times that everything is correctly activated

    Lessons learned:
    Make sure phone calls and texts work, the LTE indicator and not 3G or 4G is on, only then move on to fix any cellular data problems.

    Additionally, if you make any major change such as adding an APN profile, changing carriers, etc, back up your iPhone first via iTunes so you have a chance to restore from this point.
    Last edited by PinkBow; 04-13-2018 at 10:17 AM.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkBow View Post
    Whatever Tracfone support says, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE install the APN profile your are pointed to such as iapnupdate.tracfone.com or ireseller.tracfone.com or any other one! You will not be able to see it or remove it anymore! The only solution is completely erasing your iPhone!

    The situation in the beginning was more complicated because phone calls worked but data didn't. I started working on the cellular data problem because I suspected it to be an APN issue. Only later did I discover that texts also did not work. In the end I found out that the carrier side of my account was not working correctly and Tracfone support had to reset it after I was told multiple times that everything is correctly activated

    Lessons learned:
    Make sure phone calls and texts work, the LTE indicator and not 3G or 4G is on, only then move on to fix any cellular data problems.

    Additionally, if you make any major change such as adding an APN profile, changing carriers, etc, back up your iPhone first via iTunes so you have a chance to restore from this point.
    PinkBow, I think between us we have solved the problem! My solution is a slight variation on yours, because I do have to have a Tracfone/Verizon APN profile for cellular data in the US. Then I need to remove it whenever I travel.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandySea, post: 25927068, member: 790832
    I followed the OP but my restore "could not complete" on a 5s running iOS 11.

    ...

    I also didn't try the alternative of simply deleting that whole plist file from the backup.
    SUCCESS!

    I have finally got this working by trying the alternative of deleting the whole plist file. As noted above, my problem is that I wanted to remove the cellular data (APN profile) when I travel, then restore it when I go back to the US. I cannot simply backup the phone just before I leave the US because the backup will contain the problem profile. Nor do I want to restore from a long out of date backup.

    There are two parts to the solution, each covered elsewhere in more detail. Here is how I put them together.

    1. If Tracfone/Verizon has pushed a profile onto your phone with iOS 11, it will be hidden and cannot be removed. (See PinkBow's warning in red.) You have to backup and then edit your backup with iBackupBot. (This is described elsewhere.) The simplest edit (and the only one that worked for me) is simply to remove the profile file.
    "mobile/com.apple.managedCarrier.plist"
    Then still using iBackupBot, you do a full restore including reboot. The result is a restore with all your data, etc. intact, but no profile installed. After I did this, my foreign SIM immediately worked fine with cellular data.

    2. Although I am not back in the US, I did go to the iphone.flexserve.net site where, as suggested elsewhere, I installed "Straight Talk (tracfone.vzwe...)" as my profile. Of course, my French cellular data immediately stopped working. However, in Settings, General, I now see the Profile and this one can be removed. I did that and bingo, French cellular data is restored.

    Note: In addition to the sites that PinkBow warned about,
    I tried the site http://www.unlockit.co.nz once on return from
    a different trip. While it did install an APN profile that worked
    for Tracfone/Verizon, it was a hidden, unremoveable profile.

    Unfortunately, this is a solution for techies. The good news is that you only need to do the backup, delete profile from backup, and restore once. After that, you have an easy way to delete the profile and then reinstall it.

    I think it may be important to install the profile immediately on returning to the US, before Tracfone/Verizon pushes out another hidden profile. Again, only use the iphone.flexserve.net site. Then refuse all proposed carrier settings updates until someone verifies that Tracfone/Verizon is no longer pushing out profiles that will be locked and hidden.

    Also, who knows if this will keep working when there is another iOS update.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandySea View Post
    PinkBow, I think between us we have solved the problem! My solution is a slight variation on yours, because I do have to have a Tracfone/Verizon APN profile for cellular data in the US. Then I need to remove it whenever I travel.


    SUCCESS!

    I have finally got this working by trying the alternative of deleting the whole plist file. As noted above, my problem is that I wanted to remove the cellular data (APN profile) when I travel, then restore it when I go back to the US. I cannot simply backup the phone just before I leave the US because the backup will contain the problem profile. Nor do I want to restore from a long out of date backup.

    There are two parts to the solution, each covered elsewhere in more detail. Here is how I put them together.

    1. If Tracfone/Verizon has pushed a profile onto your phone with iOS 11, it will be hidden and cannot be removed. (See PinkBow's warning in red.) You have to backup and then edit your backup with iBackupBot. (This is described elsewhere.) The simplest edit (and the only one that worked for me) is simply to remove the profile file.
    "mobile/com.apple.managedCarrier.plist"
    Then still using iBackupBot, you do a full restore including reboot. The result is a restore with all your data, etc. intact, but no profile installed. After I did this, my foreign SIM immediately worked fine with cellular data.

    2. Although I am not back in the US, I did go to the iphone.flexserve.net site where, as suggested elsewhere, I installed "Straight Talk (tracfone.vzwe...)" as my profile. Of course, my French cellular data immediately stopped working. However, in Settings, General, I now see the Profile and this one can be removed. I did that and bingo, French cellular data is restored.

    Note: In addition to the sites that PinkBow warned about,
    I tried the site http://www.unlockit.co.nz once on return from
    a different trip. While it did install an APN profile that worked
    for Tracfone/Verizon, it was a hidden, unremoveable profile.

    Unfortunately, this is a solution for techies. The good news is that you only need to do the backup, delete profile from backup, and restore once. After that, you have an easy way to delete the profile and then reinstall it.

    I think it may be important to install the profile immediately on returning to the US, before Tracfone/Verizon pushes out another hidden profile. Again, only use the iphone.flexserve.net site. Then refuse all proposed carrier settings updates until someone verifies that Tracfone/Verizon is no longer pushing out profiles that will be locked and hidden.

    Also, who knows if this will keep working when there is another iOS update.
    There is an issue with APN profiles from iphone.flexserve.net because they are signed. The certificate has an expiration date, typically quite soon. Once this date approaches there might be error messages and the APN profile needs to be updated. This might not affected everyone but my employer enforces a policy on the iPhone where this is a problem.

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