New Changes to iOS
Uh oh. It’s the end of your first billing cycle after the release of iOS 9, and you’re noticing an increase in your cell phone bill. What happened? Apple released a feature in iOS 9 called Wi-Fi Assist. Even if you have a good WiFi connection, Wi-Fi Assist will connect with your mobile phone company’s Internet service to “assist” your Wi-Fi connection to provide faster or more consistent speeds. In theory, this sounds fantastic. In practice, this is a nightmare.
Increase in Broadband Usage for October 2015?
I came down with a sinus infection last month over a weekend, and I had some time off to just rest and recuperate. This is when I catch up on TV shows and binge-watch old seasons of shows that people have told me about. This round, it was Nashville. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I’d used up ALL of my broadband usage allowance for my entire account across all users in the first week of my billing cycle. Yep, it all came from my iPad that I was using while I was resting in bed. What in the world happened? Did Hulu change how they started streaming video? Then I realized what had changed. Wi-Fi Assist hit me in a very costly way.
How to disable Wi-Fi Assist
On your iOS devices, go to Settings > Cellular, then scroll down to the very bottom of the page. You’ll see Wi-Fi Assist and a nice note saying, “Automatically use cellular data when Wi-Fi connectivity is poor.” Simply flip the switch so it’s no longer green.
Life After Wi-Fi Assist
Immediately, my mobile broadband usage returned to normal. No more crazy overages like before, and my Wi-Fi connection works just fine, just as it did before. While I applaud Apple for introducing a feature that could be beneficial to those with an unlimited Internet plan (???), I would have hoped that Apple would have disabled this feature by default instead of enabling it so that folks would use more Broadband Internet and run up their cell phone bills. While there is a class-action lawsuit against Apple for this issue, I’d rather remain in Apple’s good graces and just move-on. Besides, the few dollars you might get from a class action lawsuit probably won’t be worth whatever the settlement restrictions end up being.