Apple sued for its Wi-Fi Assist feature

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© Kārlis Dambrāns Flickr

Apple has been sued for its latest feature that uses mobile data when there’s weak Wi-Fi coverage.

iOS9 introduced the Apple feature Wi-Fi Assist, which allowed devices to switch automatically between mobile data and Wi-Fi.

Apple declined to comment on a lawsuit filed against the company in California. Allegedly, some people had run up expensive mobile data charges as a result of the feature, which was enabled by default.

Wi-Fi Assist was designed to enhance the Internet experience as users leave an area with weak signal or Wi-Fi. A smartphone prioritises Wi-Fi when it is available and switched to a mobile data network out of range.

According to AppleInsider, a tech blog, Apple had not explained the potential consequences of Wi-Fi Assist.

Apple’s support website warns customers that they ‘might use more cellular data’ if the feature is enabled. The website adds, “For most users, this should only be a small percentage higher than previous usage.”

Daniel Gleeson, mobile analyst at IHS Technology said, “Apple could have put a pop-up notice on the phone to explain what had changed. But you know as well as I do that nobody reads all those pop-ups when updating their device.

“Most Apple customers will be in a premium tier with a big data bundle, so the number of customers receiving bill shock should be quite small. But it could be a bigger issue internationally where more people use pre-paid tariffs.”

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