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Unlock your iPhone, miss your messages

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Application security programs and practises

Apple's notification system for the iPhone won't work on devices that have been unlocked to run on different networks, much to the annoyance of developers who are being left to explain the situation to customers.

Powerybase, authors of NotifyMe, have gone public with their frustration. The company reports that 80 per cent of its support requests now come from the five per cent of users with unlocked iPhones, which do not support the push functionality on which NotifyMe relies.

Push notifications are addressed using an identification code issued by an Apple server, a process which fails if the iPhone is being used on an unsupported network. Some users have reported that an unlocked iPhone on the official network does work, so it seems it's routing to the unsupported network that causes the problem rather than the unlocking process itself - the iPhone Dev-Team who created the unlocking process is aware of the problem, and apparently working on a fix, but it's not going to be an easy one to bypass.

The NotifyMe description on iTunes makes it pretty clear that "Due to Apple's limitations, unofficially activated iPhones are not fully supported". But the company admits that not many customers bother to read the small print in a product description.

Not that Powerybase is blaming Apple; it accepts that Apple has a right to make money, and is in league with the network operators to do just that. However, the company has appealed to Apple to return a zero sequence or similar, so the application can present an error to the user, rather than just locking up as it does at present.

The fact that push notifications have to be cleared by Apple's servers is unsurprising, demonstrating Apple's long-term commitment to its customer relationships, and if it won't work for unlocked handsets that's probably just a happy coincidence. ®

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