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Sneaky new feature on Apple’s iOS 9 could use up all of your data

Apple’s latest iOS release has created a bit of a stir and not for the usual reasons. A new feature may be burning through data. Here’s why it matters.

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Apple’s new OS is fab, but with a little hitch

Last week Apple released its latest operative system, iOS 9. The new system has great features including Apple News, increased battery life, and a new multitasking split-screen; however, there’s one feature you may want to reconsider and it’s not easy to find.

Hidden in the new iOS is magical feature that helps you connect to networks when your Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t great. It’s called “Wi-Fi Assist.” If you currently have the Wi-Fi Assist enabled (and it came enabled by default with the upgrade), you may take a significant hit in your data plan.

Wi-Fi Assist allows you to automatically use cellular data when Wi-Fi connectivity is poor. This sounds like a good idea, right? Easier downloads, without constantly pressing “reconnect,” is handy, but your data plan/wallet may not be large enough to support this new feature.

There’s a quick fix

Many users had no idea that when they updated to iOS 9, the Wi-Fi Assist is automatically enabled. I don’t think Apple planned to tear through users data plan budgets, but that’s actually what seems to be happening for many users. It was intended to keep users from experiencing the dropped signals, buffering, and generally poor connections that happen when using a weak Wi-Fi signal.

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Instead, the feature is creating a bit of outrage, since users weren’t aware of the option (in many cases) until their cell phone bills arrived.

Worried about data overages? Disable the feature and everything should be business as normal. Here’s how you can turn Wi-Fi Assist off: Tap “Settings” and then scroll to “Cellular.”

You’ll be able to see how much data you’ve used, but more importantly, if you scroll to the bottom, you can see if Wi-Fi Assist is on. If it is, you may want to consider toggling it off.

While it is a useful feature to avoid buffering, it can also be a costly one if you’re on a fixed-price data package.


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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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