Why you may want to disable Wi-Fi Assist in iOS 9

“Wi-Fi Assist is one of many new features in iOS 9, and for most users it’s a great addition to Apple’s mobile operating system,” Jim Tanous writes for TekRevue. “But since the feature is enabled by default when you upgrade to iOS 9, it may cause headaches for some users depending on their specific data plans or application requirements.”

“But since the feature is enabled by default when you upgrade to iOS 9, it may cause headaches for some users depending on their specific data plans or application requirements,” Tanous writes. “With Wi-Fi Assist, the iPhone will detect that the user’s Wi-Fi network signal is degrading and actively switch over to the cellular connection before the complete loss of the Wi-Fi signal. This, on paper, should produce an experience that is seamless to the user and allows them to continue their active Internet use without interruption as they leave the house or office, and early user reports confirm that this is indeed the case.”

“There are at least two scenarios in which Wi-Fi Assist may be detrimental to the user experience: data usage and network-dependent apps,” Tanous writes. “While users with larger data caps may not mind, those stuck on more limited data plans probably don’t want their cellular data connection kicking in without warning in a scenario in which a Wi-Fi signal, even a poor one, is still available.”

Read more, plus how to disable Wi-Fi Assist in iOS 9, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, if you have the cellular data capacity, keep Wi-Fi Assist on as it makes for better, smoother iOS connectivity.

19 Comments

  1. You could always buy a real wifi router like an Apple Extreme rather than a cheap knockoff. A real internet connection helps too instead of a bargain basement connection. But hey, I’m all about saving a few bucks, so if you must endure a slow connection and want to save some scratch, perhaps wifi assist isn’t the best feature for you. My 10 gig cell plan works great.

    “Happy customers make for happy shareholders like me”

      1. It’s been a good router for me.

        My 25 mb/sec connection rocks out at 23.74 on wifi so yes, I’m dancin’.

        A word of advise though. I live in a downtown condo with many wifi networks in the area. I set my router off of the default radio channels to avoid interference and congestion.

        1. There is no such thing as default radio channels. By default it is set to automatic. Which means it scans to try and find the channel with the least amount of interference each time it boots up. That’s why power-cycling your router if you have a bad connection can help.

            1. Good point, though many consumer-grade WiFi access points use any of the 11 allowed (in the US) 2.4 GHz channels. The problem is that each one of those is 5 MHz wide, but WiFi uses a minimum 20 MHz channel width. I you want to minimize performance-degrading interference, use only 1, 6 and 11, and they won’t step on each other. If you use 2-5, or 7-10, you will be overlapping the other channels, and making your life less fun.

              2.4 GHz is a really a wireless bad neighborhood. Bluetooth devices, Baby monitors, non-WiFi wireless cameras, some cordless phones, and microwave ovens transmit in that spectrum. It’s very noisy in many places. 5 GHz is much cleaner, and the selectable channels are non-overlapping, unless you use wide channels (40 MHz, 80 MHz, etc.)

            2. Yes, but the problem with being on channel 1, 6 or 11 in an urban area is that each of the three has 15 others on those bands, which is why I NEVER use them and usually use 3 or 9.

              Hopefully I will soon be able to ignore the 2.4 (a few legacy products) and instead use only 5 GHZ (and the upper band at that….)

  2. And then there’s a third reason: Some apps provide full functionality only when you’re on your home wi-fi network. So the Optimum app – which I use all the time – gives me all channels when I on my home network. On cellular data, it gives me only channels no one looks at.

    I can disable cell data for the individual app, but before wifi assist the app used to just work.

  3. Here’s why I will disable it: Because I don’t need it. Moreover, I don’t particularly like software vendors from changing my device settings without my explicit approval. Don’t bury it in the fine print of the user agreement or assume that it’s the best way to make people aware of a new feature or that it’s for the best interest of the users. If you want people to trust you Apple, then DO NOT turn on stuff by default. Just please make instruction manuals, help menus, and online support material complete and user-focused. You used to be so much better at this, now you act like microsoft and expect bloggers to help others figure out how to use your increasingly complicated and bloated and unintuitive software. Please get back to what you used to represent: ultimate usability.

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