New iPhone feature blamed for high data bills

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – If you have a data plan with a cap, dive into iOS 9’s Settings and turn off Wi-Fi Assist.

Apple is facing a lawsuit over a new software feature that lets iPhones switch to cellular data when the Wi-Fi signal is weak. If you have an unlimited data plan, the new feature is great, but if you have a low data cap and it switches to data because of a bad connection without your knowledge, you could get a pretty hefty bill from your mobile carrier.

cell1 New iPhone feature blamed for high data bills

A California couple suing Apple for $5 million in damages said “they were unaware that a simple upgrade to their operating system – as recommended by their iPhones – could result in their devices silently switching over to cellular data.” However, the iPhone maker says the increased cost is minimal and consumers have the capability to easily disable Wi-Fi Assist by going into settings, selecting cellular, and then scrolling down and tapping on the toggle next to Wi-Fi Assist.

How to disable Wi-Fi Assist

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap Cellular
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and switch the Wi-Fi Assist toggle to off

If you’re going over your data limit, Apple suggests restricting apps that use data from your settings. Head to settings and scroll down to the list of apps. Turn off anything you don’t regularly use, as well as any especially data-hungry apps like those that stream music and video.

Keep in mind that you will want to keep cellular data enabled for apps that provide push alerts, maps or emails so that you can get updates while you are on the move.

Monitor data usage from the cellular menu in the Settings app by using the “reset statistics” option at the bottom. Check with your carrier to see when your billing cycle resets each month and set a reminder to reset your statistics on that day.

How to disable Wi-Fi Assist

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap General
  • Tap Background App Refresh
  • Scroll down the list of installed apps with toggle switches next to them
  • Tap on the toggle switch to turn the feature off

Some apps use background refresh, which allows them to use data even when you are not using them, which can also eat up your monthly allotment. While it’s useful to keep background refresh on for apps you frequently use, you can preserve resources and your battery life by turning it off for apps you use less frequently.

Background app refresh and location settings are a huge issue with the Facebook app. The app has received a lot of criticism in the community in recent months with users reporting incredibly high levels of background activity time for relatively low time with the app actually in use.

cell3 New iPhone feature blamed for high data bills

To turn off background refresh, open settings and scroll down to the list of apps. Select the ones you want to disable background refresh on and the option appears , along with the option to turn off cellular data.

cell2 New iPhone feature blamed for high data bills

>>Our sister station at WATE first reported this story

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