Apple's Wi-Fi Assist feature on iOS 9 gets it sued

Apple's Wi-Fi Assist feature has just turned into a thorn in its flesh, inviting a $5 million lawsuit that alleges Apple didn't explain the feature well enough.

William Scott Phillips and Suzanne Schmidt Phillips incurred much higher mobile data costs than they expected because Apple didn't mention or 'downplayed' the fact that Wi-Fi Assist could feast on their precious 3G data.

Installed as one of iOS 9's default features, Wi-Fi Assist exists to make your internet usage smooth by catching on to cellular data in areas where Wi-Fi coverage is poor. So if the Wi-Fi router in your home isn't strong enough, there's a chance that you may end up paying for much more cellular data than you signed up for.

That’s exactly what the American couple did and has now sued Apple for not warning them. Apple does have a support page on Wi-Fi Assist in its website, but it was more of an afterthought rather than wilful disclosure, the lawsuit alleges. The exact words used are 'unfair competition', 'false advertising' and 'negligent misrepresentation.'

As per Apple's support page, "With Wi-Fi Assist, you can stay connected to the Internet even if you have a poor Wi-Fi connection. For example, if you're using Safari with a poor Wi-Fi connection and a webpage doesn't load, Wi-Fi Assist will activate and automatically switch to cellular so that the webpage continues to load. You can use Wi-Fi Assist with most apps like Safari, Apple Music, Mail, Maps, and more.

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."

So in case you're using data-heavy apps like Music streaming service, FaceTime, Maps or even downloading apps and updates from the App Store, you may end up paying dearly for being around a poor Wi-Fi connection. Even if you wish you could turn this feature off, you can't since its a default one.

Do you think the couple are justified in suing Apple over falsely advertising and negligently misrepresenting Wi-Fi Assist and its real impact? Do let us know by adding your thoughts in the comments section.


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