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iOS 9.3 Displays Exact Wi-Fi Assist Data Usage Numbers

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple's iOS 9.3 beta introduces major new features like Night Shift, but there are also dozens of little tweaks to be discovered in the operating system update. It appears that one of those minor changes applies to Wi-Fi Assist, adding a much-needed feature that allows users to see just how much data it's using.

Wi-Fi Assist data usage can be checked within the Settings app by choosing the Cellular section and scrolling down to the Wi-Fi Assist option. Next to the toggle that turns the feature on and off, there's now a data usage number that displays how much data has been consumed when it is in use.


Wi-Fi Assist was first introduced with iOS 9. It's a feature that allows an iPhone to seamlessly switch over to a cellular connection whenever a local Wi-Fi connection is weak. Enabled automatically when updating to iOS 9, Wi-Fi Assist proved to be unpopular with users who claimed it was eating up a lot of data. One recent news story even accused Wi-Fi Assist of causing a teenager to receive a cell phone bill for upwards of $2,000.

Concerns about Wi-Fi Assist led Apple to publish a support document on the feature, explaining how it works and assuring users that data usage should only be a "small percentage higher" than previous usage. Wi-Fi Assist only turns on in a limited number of circumstances and won't activate when data roaming, when apps are downloading background content, or when using third-party apps that stream audio or video.

Despite Apple's reassurances about Wi-Fi Assist, unhappy customers filed a $5 million class action lawsuit over the feature, with the plaintiffs claiming they were subjected to overage charges on their iPhones after updating to iOS 9. The lawsuit also claims Apple did not do an adequate job explaining the feature when iOS 9 was released.

Wi-Fi Assist is available on any iOS device running iOS 9 or later, with the exception of the iPhone 4s, the iPad 2, the third-generation iPad, and the original iPad mini. Wi-Fi Assist can be turned off using the Settings app for those who don't want to risk using extra data.

Article Link: iOS 9.3 Displays Exact Wi-Fi Assist Data Usage Numbers
 

arggg14

macrumors 6502a
Dec 30, 2014
678
1,774
Not sure why this feature it turned on by default. I know Apple wants users to have the best experience, but I'd rather wait for my wifi to load while I'm 50 feet away from my router instead of burning through my data plan.
 
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Mike MA

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2012
2,064
1,734
Germany
Nice feature providing transparency, but why not additionally set the default to deactivated? What's the problem here?
 
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marcr1230

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2010
18
14
Wifi Assist is great for anyone in an urban environment with lots of weak or transient Wifi signals (like when you are on a bus or train) - rather than trying to connect for 30 seconds to an unusable wifi signal - your phone stays on cellular/LTE
 
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ghostface147

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2008
3,426
3,219
Didn't do an adequate job explaining what it did is their excuse? Seems very simple to me. If you have low wi-fi signal, it uses your cell data to assist. The only think it doesn't specify is what is considered low signal. Being at one bar on your wi-fi icon could be different signal strengths, just like cell signals. One bar could be -105 or -120 dBm. Maybe they could be a little more specific and say it will kick on when you hit one bar of signal strength on wi-fi instead of an algorithm we don't know.
 
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JustThinkin'

macrumors 6502
Oct 21, 2014
418
289
Not sure why this feature it turned on by default. I know Apple wants users to have the best experience, but I'd rather wait for my wifi to load while I'm 50 feet away from my router instead of burning through my data plan.
Maybe this is what largely solves/mitigates the 'keyboard freezing' users will sometimes experience on iPhones - even when simply texting. A huge percentage of texts now go over Apple's (iCloud) network rather than through the carrier's texting feature.

My keyboard freezes seem to be dramatically less frequent than they were 6 months ago ...
 
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Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,929
1,239
Washington DC
I like this feature and I leave it turned on but it is kind of sketchy how they hide it WAY at the bottom of the cellular page beneath the long list of apps.

Why isn't it up with all of the other cellular settings?
 
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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,534
25,271
Would be nice if iOS quickly showed my monthly data-usage (that reset automatically) and would give me notifications when I'm X% close to my data cap.

That's the responsibility of the carrier, though. Plenty of carriers in Europe text you when you're close to your data cap, and you can easily track your usage online. I'm not sure why (or even how) this could be Apple's obligation.
 
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Thunderhawks

Suspended
Feb 17, 2009
4,057
2,118
That's the responsibility of the carrier, though. Plenty of carriers in Europe text you when you're close to your data cap, and you can easily track your usage online. I'm not sure why (or even how) this could be Apple's obligation.

They do that here too since an FCC rule in 2011, but people ignore it and then cry about overages.
 
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gsmornot

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
3,314
2,980
And yet as I drive away from WiFi and my phone pretends to still be connected, the data activity indicator just goes round and round and nothing loads until the phone finally accepts defeat and switches to cellular.
So, then , this feature must not use too much data afterall. I have had it on all along and have not noticed a big difference in used LTE data. My phone holds wifi a little long too at times.
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,296
15,342
Central U.S.
Apple should have left it turned off by default. Heck, I think Siri is turned off by default. Or at least she was for years. Then, when the WiFi signal strength is being sketchy for a while, pop up with a dialog to enable it in the settings. If they dismiss the dialog, never ask again. That's how you do UX. They already do something similar with having WiFi turned off and location accuracy or something.
 
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gsmornot

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
3,314
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I think people have the wrong idea about this feature. In the past (prior to this setting) it was natural for the phone to move from WiFi to LTE and back to WiFi as a normal operation. What this setting does is tell your device not to move but to wait for the Wifi to be gone and gone for a while prior to using LTE. (in the off mode) Its not that it now turns off WiFi for no reason and uses LTE randomly. Its that you have told it (by turning this off) to stay as long as possible before using LTE.
 
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Tech198

macrumors P6
Mar 21, 2011
15,537
2,060
Australia, Perth
yikes... That's allot of loot... (editing for later rant) .....

Its the reason i keep wi-fi assist disabled :D

Yes, siri is disabled, but only if u tell it to from initial setup. It would be good it Apple added a wifi-assist screen here as well or option.
 
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