back to article Apple disables Egyptian iPhone GPS

If you buy your iPhone 3G in Egypt, don't expect it to help you navigate the trackless wastes of the Sinai or Akabat. According to a story published by The New York Times, the Egyptian government has demanded that Apple disable the iPhone 3G's GPS capability as a condition of offering it for sale in that tightly-controlled …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    The Egyptian government and its repressive brethren...

    "The Egyptian government and its repressive brethren worldwide know that and are doing their best to keep it from liquefying their hold on power."

    I'd say China is being increasingly successful at limiting information flow. Just look at Google's modification of "Don't be Evil" to "Don't be Evil except when doing China's bidding."

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Walk Like an Egyptian

    Apparently that means "wander about in a lost manner."

  3. Roger Williams

    What, the Chinese don't like security through obscurity?

    "The Chinese government is continuing its efforts to have foreign computer companies disclose details of their security technologies"

    Heh. As should ANY government or organisation who cares about the integrity of the "security technology" they purchase and deploy. I would hope that by now every intelligent IT manager knows to steer well clear of proprietary security solutions.

    The thing to be concerned about is when they start requiring backdoors in the security technology. After all, THAT's the prerogative of the NSA and GCHQ.

  4. Charles Manning

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't

    To those that bitch about corps bowing to the governments, consider what options there are:

    1) Say fsck you to the government in question and refuse to nobble your product. Product gets banned. You lose revenue and citizens of said country don't get the technology. Some citizens will smuggle in the technology but will be relatively easy to spot and will gfet persecuted.

    2) Don't sell into the country. Same outcome.

    3) Sell a nobbled product. You get revenue, citizens get some technology. Some citizens will smuggle in full featured products and get the benefit of those. With time, said government might lose their fear of these features and let them through.

  5. Karl Lattimer

    not sure china are still filtering...

    that search used to turn up a shed load of propaganda, now it has a picture of tank man... Anyone in china have a screenshot of their results for that search?

  6. Keith T

    We in the west keep Mubarek in power in Egypt

    And we in the west keep Mubarek in power in Egypt why? To promote freedom and democracy??

    Our governments should cease sabotaging non-violent opposition parties in Egypt.

  7. yeah, right.


    Google now seems to be looking at the IP address of where the request is coming from and returning results based on the request location. If you do the same search through an internal chinese proxy you get the censored version. I'd post link, but the proxy I used last has vanished. Google is basically desperately trying to hide the fact that they censor their results.

  8. James Woods


    This must be so when the terrorists travel with their ipods they can't be tracked. The egyption government, what does that mean, it's like saying US Congress, 2 jokes.


  9. Francis Boyle Silver badge


    the difficulties their ancestors had with an earlier form of GPS I'm not surprised they banned it.

    I read it in the Bible so it must be true.

  10. n

    who is the puppet master?

    The repressive Egyptian regime's top 2 income streams:

    1. US Gov "Aid".

    2. Tourism.

    Suggested solutions:

    1. Boycott US products.

    2. Don't travel to Egypt.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Egypt Wants To Be The Sole Provider of iPhones to Terrorists?

    Perhaps the desire is to ensure that GPS is disabled so terrorists will most likely buy iPhones from Egypt - knowing that the phones can not be tracked via GPS signals at all?

    This sounds like a new income stream for Egypt!

    3. iPhones for Terrorists

  12. Moroo

    There's still hope!

    This is what Apple wants us to expect:


    GPS is not available while in Egypt or when using an Egyptian iPhone and you may experience the following:

    1- An iPhone purchased in Egypt does not have GPS enabled. {In Testing Phase}

    2- An iPhone purchased in Egypt that is used outside of Egypt does not have GPS enabled {In Testing Phase}

    3- Any iPhone used while roaming in Egypt does not have GPS enabled {Working & Apple will be disappointed, or let us say the OTHERS who doesn’t want us to use it will be really disappointed}

    4- An unlocked iPhone used with an Egyptian carrier's SIM does not have GPS enabled {In Testing Phase}

    5- When using Maps in the scenarios above, the blue marker does not appear, and instead a circle is used to show your approximate location and other applications that use Location Services do not provide GPS coordinates

    Check this out:

    P.S: I feel some ignorance in some posts/comments.

    So this is what I need to say, Apple has just made a software modification to all the iPhones 3G ever manufactured. This modification is since Ver. 2.0, and in a specific point while updating/restoring through iTunes. The modification is simpler than all what has been rumoring around.

    It doesn't rely on the coordinates as some people suggested. It’s not like if the coordinates is found in Egypt region, the GPS chip will stop communicating. It’s the software identifying the carrier, which disables the OS to communicate with the GPS.

    Google maps is just an app, that gets the position through cell towers triangulation, and then specifies your coordinates from the GPS chip, which communicates/synchs with the satellites. And by the way, these satellites are not only American, it's from all nationalities.

    So breaking the 5 previous points, that Apple wants us to expect, is just simple. The GPS chip as a hardware is installed in all of them, the software just stops communicating with it, once the carrier is identified in Egypt. That's why Apple is saying that even unlocked iPhones' GPS will not work while roaming in Egypt, or using any local Sim.

    Check the blog above, and you'll see what I mean.

  13. Ahmed Al Ahmed
    Thumb Up

    Stupidity won't last long!!

    This stupid government is out-of-time, I had 3 Garmin GPS coming from abroad, I even purshaed an HTC TyTN II from egypt without GPS, and I re-functioned it by burnig the original image I got from the internet, and it worked flawlessly!!

    They are stupid, afraid, and illetrate, but as you said thier time WILL come SOOOOON.

    Egyptian living in Egypt (soon to become a Canadian immigrant)

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