Apple Faces $5M Suit Over WiFi Assist Data-Hogging Claim
The WiFi assist feature is turned on by default in iOS 9 and lets devices switch to cellular data if WiFi connections are weak.
A California couple has sued Apple for $5 million, alleging that the WiFi Assist feature in its latest iOS 9 mobile device software switches to cellular data from WiFi unexpectedly, causing users to more easily run over their data limits and gain extra charges from their mobile carriers. The couple, William Scott Phillips and Suzanne Schmidt Phillips, claim in their lawsuit that "they were not properly informed that the new WiFi Assist feature on its iOS 9 platform will use [a customer's] cellular plan data in order to work," according to an Oct. 26 article by ModernReaders. The class-action lawsuit was filed in United States District Court in the Northern District of California and seeks a jury trial and damages of at least $5 million for the plaintiffs who join the case. Apple's WiFi Assist feature, which was included in iOS 9 and is turned on by default when the operating system is installed on Apple mobile devices, allows users to automatically switch their mobile devices to cellular networks when they experience a poor WiFi connection, according to Apple. WiFi Assist activates and automatically switches to cellular and works with most apps like Safari, Apple Music, Mail and Maps, according to the company. When WiFi Assist comes on, users see a cellular data icon in the status bar on their device to let them know that cellular data is now being used, the company added. In its documentation for WiFi assist, Apple says that users may use more cellular data when using the feature, but that "for most users, this should only be a small percentage higher than previous usage."
Users can turn off WiFi Assist in iOS 9 by going to Settings > Cellular, and then scrolling down and tapping the WiFi Assist feature, according to Apple.