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Apple was slapped with a $5 million class action lawsuit over iOS 9's Wi-Fi Assist feature today, according to AppleInsider. The new feature is turned on by default in iOS 9 and automatically switches a user to cellular data when the local Wi-Fi connection is weak.

The feature is an attempt to create a more smooth user experience, but some users have complained that the feature increases data use, which would take some users near or over their monthly data caps. In October, Apple admitted that users should only see a "small percentage" hike in data usage and attempted to ease concerns over the feature.

In a support document, Apple explained that the feature does not work when a user is roaming, only works when apps are in the foreground and doesn't work with third-party apps that use large amounts of data, like music and video streaming apps.

The lawsuit says that plaintiffs William Scott Phillips and Suzanne Schmidt Phillips were subjected to overage charges on their iPhones after updating to iOS 9, although the suit doesn't list how much those charges were. However, the plaintiffs claim that the "overall amount in controversy exceeds" $5 million. The suit also notes that Apple did not clearly explain the feature until the media covered user complaints, but that at that point it was too late for the plaintiffs.
"Defendant's above corrective action, however, still downplays the possible data overcharges a user could incur. Reasonable and average consumers use their iPhones for streaming of music, videos, and running various applications -- all of which can use significant data. Defendant's corrective statement does not disclose any basis for its conclusion that an average consumer would not see much increase in cellular usage."
Wi-Fi assist is available on devices running iOS 9 or later, although the feature is not supported on the iPhone 4s, iPad 2, the 3rd-generation iPad and the 1st-generation iPad mini. To turn off Wi-Fi Assist, users can go to Settings > Cellular and scroll down to the bottom to toggle off the feature.

Article Link: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit for New Wi-Fi Assist Feature
 
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Jeremy1026

macrumors 68020
Nov 3, 2007
2,210
1,013
You haven't even seen your first bill yet to know if this is actually going to be a problem. Lawyers need to chill with these easy paychecks, but the U.S. Justice Department is the enabler that keeps them coming back for more.
 
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KALLT

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2008
5,226
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'[T]he "overall amount in controversy exceeds" $5 million'. What does that even mean? They were charged more once after finding out that the feature was enabled and they feel that it's controversial enough to sue for damages worth $5 million?
 
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Mikey44

macrumors regular
Mar 6, 2012
141
339
I'm a nice guy.... You're a nice company with a lot of money... Why don't you share a little? Eh Eh? ;)


For reals though, I can see where this lawsuit is coming from, but $5 million dollars?
 
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dannyyankou

macrumors G4
Mar 2, 2012
10,696
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Westchester, NY
So since I'm an Apple fanboy who happens to have a brain and doesn't m defend Apple about everything...

These people have a fair point. It's a feature that turns wifi off and eats data, and it's turned on automatically with no warning when you update to iOS 9. I could see it being a problem for people who have weak wifi connection.
 
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Robert.Walter

macrumors 68010
Jul 10, 2012
2,003
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I think this problem existed in the later versions of ios 8 as I had many occasions where my iPhone 6 switched from my 3-arc time capsule signal to a 2-dot 3G cell connection. This has cost me hundreds of dollars in overage costs.
 
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Mclovincr

macrumors newbie
May 18, 2015
12
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I would love to have a smart-switch in iOS (like android). Every time I'm connected to a hot spot the cellular data goes off. Once I'm out of that range the cellular data goes on again. That would be nice...
 
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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,425
887
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
I have weak wifi in certain parts of my house, we probably all do. But we're so used to just the internet briefly not working and the wifi signal bars going down, and now instead of doing that, it's turning on LTE and chugging away. And we're probably walking around with the phone in our pocket, not using it.

I actually don't really care because I'm on a family plan with 10GB and rollover data, but this matters easily to someone with as little as a 3GB plan who already struggles making that last a month.
 
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TheDarkCanuck

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2015
5
18
I can see how some are having problems with this feature and the default setting but I use wifi assist almost every day.

My ISP has free wifi hotspots all over the city and my iPhone is configured to seamlessly connect to them when within range. While commuting to and from work on the bus my iPhone will connect to an ISP wifi hotspot and if I'm loading a webpage in safari or viewing twitter etc it used to stall out when the wifi signal became too weak as the bus moved out of range. I used to have to manually swipe up and turn off wifi to force the phone back to LTE so Safari or Twitter etc would continue working.

Now this all happens automatically for me and I never have to mess around and disable wifi on the bus :). I'm probably the perfect use case for wifi assist. I almost never stream audio or video over LTE and when streaming over wifi I try an pay attention to make sure I haven't disconnected and switched to LTE. Hopefully I never receive a surprise bill from my carrier.
 
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sbailey4

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2011
3,960
2,230
USA
So since I'm an Apple fanboy who happens to have a brain and doesn't m defend Apple about everything...

These people have a fair point. It's a feature that turns wifi off and eats data, and it's turned on automatically with no warning when you update to iOS 9. I could see it being a problem for people who have weak wifi connection.
Not exactly true. As stated in the Apples document the cellular data signal appears when it makes the switch. Not seeing how its really all that different for folks other than "assisting" during any moment. Currently (before iOS9) you are somewhere doing something and the wifi sux so you disconnect it (or it gets so bad it does it for you) and you keep doing whatever it was you were doing. Lets be realistic here, I am sure most folks with a smart phone didnt get it to make phone calls :) . Just some BS law suit for the lawyers and the today's society of entitlement wanting some of Apples cash.
 
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duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,403
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I'm not aware of any cellular provider that does not text you when you are getting close to reaching your monthly data limit. In fact, an alert at 90% usage is quite common, and I find it very hard to believe that they did not know that they were reaching their limit. So, I'm going to have to call a bit of BS at the hands of the plaintiffs here.

An attempt at class action status here is simple greed on the part of the law firm that's filing the suit. I don't fault the plaintiffs for that. I fault the lawyers.
 
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xero9

macrumors 6502a
Nov 7, 2006
861
485
There are legitimate lawsuits.

This is not.

This is an OPTIONAL feature.

The Wifi icon goes away when you're on cellular. It's not like you don't realize you're using it.

Nothing but greedy lawyers trying to make a buck.

It's optional, but it's on by default. And no, you don't realize you're using it. That's why people were so concerned about it.
 
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