You may have heard about the iTether app that was going round the Apple community last week. You might have also noted that it’s no longer making any news and there is hardly anyone talking about it. Wondering, what happened all of sudden?
Tethering – The Basics
The process of tethering may be unfamiliar to some of you, so here is a quick explanation.
Tethering basically means hooking your phone or PDA to your computer and using it as a modem-like device. This means your computer will be able to access the internet using the connection of your phone.
How friendly your service provider will look onto this depends from country to country. Of course, mobile phone data contracts aren’t meant for the amount of data that a PC consumes while watching large amounts of youtube video’s and such. If everyone would use their phone in this manner the networks would overload, causing a whole lot of nastiness.
This is why some, actually quite many service providers generally either frown upon this practice or outright forbid it.
Well, on iOS there’s a second limitation to overcome.
Apart from carriers not liking tethering much, Apple isn’t all that fond of it either. Therefore you either use their ‘personal hotspot’ feature, which has been built into iOS 5 after an extended leave, or you don’t tether at all. It’s that simple.
Of course, some people thought this just wouldn’t do. Therefore a few jailbreak tweaks exist to either enable this personal hotspot feature if you don’t have it, or provide an alternate way to tether. For example, the PDAnet jailbreak tweak turns your iPhone into a wireless hotspot.
Until iTether’s launch, there was no official Apps store app that actually allowed people to do this. iTether promised a one-time $15 fee to tether as much as you like. This , therefore, was quite revolutionary.
Where did it disappear?
Great! Why was it pulled off the Apps Store, you may ask. But a more appropriate question would be, how was it allowed on the Apps Store in the first place. As you may know, Apps go through quite a rigorous reviewing process before being admitted into the Apps Store. But recent events make this screening process a joke. If it was against Apple’s policy they shouldn’t have allowed it at all. If they did, they would have better sticked to their action.
Read this article on how a developer planted an app on the Apps store exploiting a bug on iOS 5 and got it verified. There have been similar occasions where a few unwanted apps slipped past Apple’s patrols. A notorious example of this is the powerful VLC player , which now only exists as a jailbreak tweak because it was pulled from the Apps Store.
As one would expect, after being brought to attention, Apple authorities pulled down iTether to control further damage. It was shown the proverbial door and kicked out with a flourish.
By then, of course, the damage was done. iTether will still remain very much functional for those lucky people who managed to download the app. For the rest, jailbreak is the only option.