Apple Sued for $5 Million Over Wi-Fi Assist
A new feature in iOS 9 has gotten the tech giant into hot water due to increased data charges.
If you use a smartphone, you've been in the situation where you've got Wi-Fi one second and the next you either find yourself in a dead spot or out of range and your phone has no idea what's going on. You go to load a website and it just spins and spins. Transitioning between Wi-Fi and data use causes hiccups in internet use and can also drain your battery.
So, in an effort to make sure the user's internet experience is seamless and uninterrupted by weird Wi-Fi limbo, Apple implemented the concept of Wi-Fi Assist, a feature that allows your iPhone to automatically jump from weak Wi-Fi to data so that you never actually experience that hiccup in service.
The problem is, they made it the default setting on the new iOS, and not everyone knew about it.
As a result, data charges went through the roof for some users without them realizing what was going on. This is the foundation of the new $5 million lawsuit facing Apple.
The complaint asserts that Apple did not properly explain Wi-Fi Assist on its website until only after a "flood of articles" were written about unintended cellular data use. For the plaintiffs, that addition to the website was too little, too late.
"Defendant's above corrective action, however, still downplays the possible data overcharges a user could incur," the suit reads. "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."
If you're an iPhone user that wasn't aware of this feature and wants to turn it off, here are the instructions:
To shut off Wi-Fi Assist, iOS 9 users must open the Settings app and choose Cellular, then scroll to the bottom to find the toggle button. The option is missing on some older Apple devices, including the iPhone 4S, the iPad 2, and the first-generation iPad mini.