How to tell if Wi-Fi Assist is actually using too much of your iPhone’s data

“There’s a feature on iPhones called Wi-Fi Assist that is a common source of confusion for a lot of users,” Zac Hall writes for 9to5Mac. “Wi-Fi Assist helps your iPhone switch to cellular data with your carrier when your local Wi-Fi is too weak to offer fast enough loading speeds.”

“That sounds risky especially if you have a limited monthly data cap, but most people shouldn’t have to worry about turning Wi-Fi Assist off,” Hall writes. “Here’s how to check and understand how much data Wi-Fi Assist is actually using.”

“There are plenty of stories on the Internet about how Wi-Fi Assist could cause your phone bill to rack up overage charges including local media reports and a viral LinkedIn article that a family member recently sent me,” Hall writes. “These stories typically make Wi-Fi Assist sound scary and encourage you to disable the feature. In most cases, however, you can leave Wi-Fi Assist on and benefit from it when needed.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: When Wi-Fi Assist is activated, you’ll see the cellular data icon in the status bar on your device.

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.

Wi-Fi Assist is on by default. If you don’t want your iOS device to stay connected to the Internet when you have a poor Wi-Fi connection, you can disable Wi-Fi Assist. Go to Settings > Cellular. Then scroll down and tap the slider for Wi-Fi Assist.

Note also that:
• Wi-Fi Assist won’t automatically switch to cellular if you’re data roaming.
• Wi-Fi Assist only works when you have apps running in the foreground and doesn’t activate with background downloading of content.
• Wi-Fi Assist doesn’t activate with some third-party apps that stream audio or video, or download attachments, like an email app, as they might use large amounts of data.

Teen blames Apple’s Wi-Fi Assist feature for $2000 phone bill – January 6, 2016
Apple faces class action lawsuit over Wi-Fi Assist data usage – October 26, 2015
Apple explains how Wi-Fi Assist works – October 14, 2015


    1. There isn’t much of a problem, (despite much previous commentary to the contrary) which is exactly his point.

      The mdn blurb and the article add some very useful info to the topic, which I suspect, most users were unaware of.

  1. I believe it’s possible to use more data having WiFi Assist shut off. At least for me. I’ve run into situations where I shut off WiFi because it’s slow, and then forget to turn it back when I’m at a place with strong coverage. Since I’ve turned on WiFi Assist, I haven’t run into that problem.

  2. WiFi assist is useless when it comes to streaming. You’d think it’d make a seamless switch when only one WiFi bar is apparent. Dream on. I have to manually disable WiFi for my morning run.

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