Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 9, brings about plenty of features that facilitate better user experience. However, incidents of mobile data plans reaching their cap fast are being linked to the latest iOS version.
Has Cupertino overreached this time?
Apparently, iOS 9 comes with Wi-Fi Assist, a feature which aims to give iPhone owners a smoother experience when doing things that require a steady Internet connection, such as watching videos, streaming music, browsing the web and so on. It does this by judging whether the connection quality is ideal for the task the user is performing. Once it finds that network speeds are not optimal, Wi-Fi Assist will look to a network with better connection quality.
While the idea is good, it does have one loophole. For instance, a user who is connected to his or her own Wi-Fi at home decides to go for a walk while continuing to stream music. On the premise that the signal degrades as he or she gets further away from the access point, Wi-Fi Assist will take it upon itself to transfer to the carrier's network.
Some may argue that an mp3 file is not that big. However, do take note that the same thing will happen when video streaming. People stream videos while in the house. When they decide to go out and put the phone in their pocket, Wi-Fi Assist will do what it's supposed to, thus, eating a bigger chunk of the allotted monthly data.
According to a 2015 report on mobile data statistics, mobile data plan subscribers hit an average of 2.5 GB on a monthly basis. While this is not a concern for unlimited data plan subscribers, those who have monthly data caps are bound to suffer additional charges if not careful. It is also a big concern for those using prepaid data. The cap that previously lasted for a day or week can be burned in a matter of minutes or hours.
Note that AT&T has a $30 monthly charge for a 3GB data plan. Another $10 will be added for every GB exceeded.
Apple, when shipping the phone, will have this feature, like any other, turned on by default. Hence, the uninformed will likely reach their cap earlier than expected or see additional charges when paying the bills.
The good news is that it can be turned off. It would, after all, cause a riot if it couldn't be. To do this, first, go to "Settings" and scroll down to "Cellular" or "Mobile Data." It varies depending on the region. Once there, the "Wi-Fi Assist" tab should appear, and the user can simply switch it off.