September 29, 2015
Apple’s WIFI Assist could cost you money
Hot off the back of the launch of their latest iPhone, Apple have released a new operating system, iOS 9. Among the new features are updates to the Maps App (featuring public transport information for a select few cities) and a very welcome ‘low power mode’, which will disable some features to lengthen the life of your battery. However, there’s one new feature that you will want to disable almost immediately – WIFI Assist.
In principle, WIFI Assist seems like a good idea. Previously, if you found yourself in an area where the WIFI signal was a bit patchy in places, web pages would fail to load and would get stuck until you closed the page down and tried again. WIFI Assist is an attempt to fix this problem, by turning on your cellular data connection when it detects that the WIFI is struggling. However, initial trials have shown that it determines that you need a great deal of assistance. Even people using their home WIFI have found that, at the end of the month, the amount they have spent on mobile data has risen dramatically, up to a third more than usual. Irritating when in your home country – potentially ruinous if you are abroad.
Perhaps the least helpful part of this new feature is that it is enabled as standard the moment you download the update, without telling you that it has done so. Fortunately, it is quite easy to disable: go to SETTINGS > CELLULAR and scroll to the bottom of the page, where you’ll find a slider for WIFI Assist. Simply turn this off, and your phone will behave like it used to.