Hypothetically, let’s say you did not apply for an unlimited data plan for your iPhone.
Due to inclement weather or a person with questionable priorities who thought it was a good idea to play a balancing act on the telephone pole, your WiFi slowed down considerably.
This went on for a couple of days and when you innocently opened the envelope containing your phone bill, your heart sank. For unknown circumstances, your phone bill is in four digits and you can’t figure out why this happened.
Fortunately, this didn’t happen to me (only a scenario I made up in my head), but at the same time, the danger of experiencing this is real: the recently released iOS 9 has introduced a new feature which could drive you crazy after seeing monthly phone bill.
What is this madness?
It is known as WiFi Assist and it can has caused some people with limited data plans to pay a lot already in overages.
What does WiFi Assist do?
Basically, this feature is ON BY DEFAULT on cellular devices running on the iOS 9. It makes your phone switch over to 4G if it thinks your WiFi is running at a snail’s pace. So, if you have been having WiFi connectivity problems in the past few days, be warned: you might have taken the first step into paying a four digit phone bill.
I’m terrified. How can I turn this off?
Well, simply go to Settings and tap on Cellular. Scroll down to the deepest depths of the Cellular tab and you will find “Wi-Fi Assist” sitting there innocently. Tap the switch to turn off that money-burning abomination off. By doing so, you saved yourself hundreds of dollars which could have been thrown down the drain because of a faulty WiFi connection.
Why in the world is this feature even on iPhones?
Don’t get Apple wrong: it had good intentions in including WiFi Assist.
They wanted users ro experience lightning-fast Internet connection speeds all the time, which is why this option enables your phone to switch over to 4G if your WiFi is acting wonky.
The situation can turn for the worse though, just like what happened to this guy who spent 22 GB worth of data in only four days.
— Michael's Demons (@mldemmons) September 28, 2015
Having your mobile data on, especially if it’s without your knowledge, can potentially cost you a month’s worth of salary.
Imagine getting an iPhone 6s on release and upon having the rose-gold smart phone on the palm of your hand. The euphoria is unimaginable, considering that you’ve waited weeks – or months – to finally fiddle around with the 3D Touch feature and have fun taking pictures of your dog and videos of your snoring cat on the new and improved camera.
Unknowingly, your WiFi connection has gone south when you arrived home – without you knowing of course. You proceed to download data from your iCloud, iTunes, download nifty new apps, and of course games on your hip new iPhone.
You proceed to watch videos of prancing gazelles, stream music from Spotify, and upload five megapixel selfies on Instagram. You’re loving your new experience with the iPhone.
Unfortunately, all the fun you experienced will come at a hefty price by the end of the month. And it can be difficult to gauge how quickly you are using your data – so when in doubt just know that apps like Apple Maps, Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Rdio, Netflix, and YouTube are all examples of data gulpers.
Just be careful when it comes to WiFi assist
Overall, though this only affects users with limited data plans, this shows a lack of foresight on Apple’s part. Anyway, here’s to hoping they relocate WiFi Assist in a more prominent location, preferably on the WiFi settings. It’s a good feature, but it won’t do you any good you any good in the long run.