Tuesday 27 September 2016

Apple sued for $5m over new Wi-Fi Assist on iOS 9

Mudhumita Murgia

Published 27/10/2015 | 08:26

Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple Inc, speaks about the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, September 9, 2015. Reuters/Beck Diefenbach
Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple Inc, speaks about the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, September 9, 2015. Reuters/Beck Diefenbach

Plaintiffs claim that the company failed to properly warn users that the new Wi-Fi Assist feature in iOS 9 uses a lot of mobile data

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Apple has been sued for $5m by a Californian couple who claim that the new WiFi-Assist feature has been eating up their 3G data without their knowledge.

The class action lawsuit accused Apple of "downplaying" the charges that you could accumulate as the result of a new default feature on the new iOS9 software.

The Wifi-Assist feature which was introduced in the iPhone software update iOS 9 last month, is designed to automatically switch your handset's connection from Wi-Fi to cellular data when in an area with poor connection.

According to the lawsuit, which was first discovered by Apple Insider, the couple William Scott Phillips and Suzanne Schmidt Phillips, had to pay excess data charges on both of their iPhone 5s phones after upgrading to iOS 9.

Although Apple did recently create a new support page on its website explaining the implications and details of the Wi-Fi Assist feature in response to complaints about data guzzling, the lawsuit claims that the explanation was too late in their case, and continued to underestimate the potential costs that could be incurred.

According to the complaint, Apple has been sued for unfair competition, false advertising and negligent misrepresentation under California law.

As the data allowance in some phone contracts can be as low as 500MB or 1GB, having the feature activated could technically result in higher bills for users if you use your iPhone to stream music and videos, download and run certain apps and Facetime often.

"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," the new support page reads.

"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."

Telegraph.co.uk

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