Apple software comes with a new feature that allows iPhones to make use of cellular data when the Wi-Fi signal is weak. This has led to huge data bills for some customers, who are agitated with Wi-Fi Assist, and have filed complaints against the company.
Useful feature, but not for all
Several complaints have poured in stating that the iOS 9 Wi-Fi Assist being ON by default has resulted in huge data bills. One such large mobile data bill was sent to a couple on Friday, who filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California.
William Scott Phillips and Suzanne Schmidt Phillips were the plaintiffs in the case, and Apple Insider was the first to notice it. The couple said that they were not aware of the new feature, and Apple should take the responsibility for paying the bill of all who have been impacted by their mistake. The plaintiffs seek class-action status for their lawsuit.
Apple designed the new feature, WiFi Assist, to provide iPhone users with the smoothest and most consistent experience while using the internet. Some customers have also appreciate the feature as now their connection does not break up due to a weak Wi-Fi signal. Complaints have come from users who have low-usage data plans on their iPhones, and are facing unexpected charges on their phone bill.
Late warnings from Apple
Owing to the mixed reactions to the Wi-Fi Assist feature, the Cupertino, California-based company in early October published an online guide that noted: “Because you’ll stay connected to the Internet over cellular when you have a poor Wi-Fi connection, you might use more cellular data. For most users, this should only be a small percentage higher than previous usage.”
Apple’s explanation is too little and very much too late for the plaintiffs. The entire lawsuit is uploaded to Scribd, and it claims that the couple only found out about the new feature after reading articles and tweets about Wi-Fi Assist. Streaming videos and music results in high data usage, said the couple, who claimed that Apple’s “corrective statement does not disclose any basis for its conclusion that an average consumer would not see much increase in cellular usage.”
Of note, Samsung, LG and HTC also offer a similar feature, but only Apple has been sued over the matter.