Apple backtracks on planned VPN changes to iPhone, iPad

After a $368 million judgment against Apple in a lawsuit brought by VirnetX, the iPhone and iPad maker decided it will not change VPN behavior on already shipped iOS 6.1-powered devices.

Zack Whittaker Writer-editor
Zack Whittaker is a former security editor for CNET's sister site ZDNet.
Zack Whittaker
2 min read

Apple has backtracked on a decision it made to change how iPhones and iPads handle virtual private networking access, following the conclusion of a patent lawsuit with VirnetX.

VirnetX won a $368.2 million patent victory, which led to Apple announcing that it would change how users would connect to their corporate networks. A software update was planned for later this month.

The change would have configured devices set as "always" to instead establish a connection as and when needed. VPN technology allows users off the corporate network to act as though they are connected at the workplace.

But now Apple is no longer planning to issue the fix that would remove the on-demand VPN service, according to an Apple knowledge base article:

Apple no longer plans to change the behavior of the VPN On Demand feature of iOS 6.1 for devices that have already been shipped. The "Always" option will continue to work as it currently does on these devices.

Apple specifically pointed out VirnetX's suit in the article, and cited the company as being the reason why the changes were planned and then reneged upon.

What is apparent is that devices "that have already been shipped" may still contain this feature, but devices from a certain point may not. It points to a settlement or agreement between the two companies.

We've put in questions with both Apple and VirnetX, but did not hear back at the time of writing.

The planned changes brought significant concern by the enterprise market. According to Mobile Active Defense, a smartphone security firm, the proposed software update (PDF) "will affect a large percentage of companies with employees using iPhones and iPads," as users will "immediately lose the ability to automatically connect with their corporate network.

This story originally appeared as "Apple reneges on planned VPN changes on iPhone, iPad" on ZDNet.