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Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit for New Wi-Fi Assist Feature

hero_airport_wifiApple was slapped with a $5 million class action lawsuit over iOS 9's Wi-Fi Assist feature today, according to AppleInsider. The new feature is turned on by default in iOS 9 and automatically switches a user to cellular data when the local Wi-Fi connection is weak.

The feature is an attempt to create a more smooth user experience, but some users have complained that the feature increases data use, which would take some users near or over their monthly data caps. In October, Apple admitted that users should only see a "small percentage" hike in data usage and attempted to ease concerns over the feature.

In a support document, Apple explained that the feature does not work when a user is roaming, only works when apps are in the foreground and doesn't work with third-party apps that use large amounts of data, like music and video streaming apps.

The lawsuit says that plaintiffs William Scott Phillips and Suzanne Schmidt Phillips were subjected to overage charges on their iPhones after updating to iOS 9, although the suit doesn't list how much those charges were. However, the plaintiffs claim that the "overall amount in controversy exceeds" $5 million. The suit also notes that Apple did not clearly explain the feature until the media covered user complaints, but that at that point it was too late for the plaintiffs.
"Defendant's above corrective action, however, still downplays the possible data overcharges a user could incur. Reasonable and average consumers use their iPhones for streaming of music, videos, and running various applications — all of which can use significant data. Defendant's corrective statement does not disclose any basis for its conclusion that an average consumer would not see much increase in cellular usage."
Wi-Fi assist is available on devices running iOS 9 or later, although the feature is not supported on the iPhone 4s, iPad 2, the 3rd-generation iPad and the 1st-generation iPad mini. To turn off Wi-Fi Assist, users can go to Settings > Cellular and scroll down to the bottom to toggle off the feature.

Top Rated Comments

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44 months ago
Who puts up a lawsuit over that, honestly?
Rating: 49 Votes
44 months ago
Pure, unadulterated greed.
Rating: 40 Votes
44 months ago
Solution: turn feature off, problem solved! :rolleyes:
Rating: 26 Votes
44 months ago
So since I'm an Apple fanboy who happens to have a brain and doesn't m defend Apple about everything...

These people have a fair point. It's a feature that turns wifi off and eats data, and it's turned on automatically with no warning when you update to iOS 9. I could see it being a problem for people who have weak wifi connection.
Rating: 23 Votes
44 months ago
You haven't even seen your first bill yet to know if this is actually going to be a problem. Lawyers need to chill with these easy paychecks, but the U.S. Justice Department is the enabler that keeps them coming back for more.
Rating: 23 Votes
44 months ago
Everyone wants a piece of Apple's delicious pie ..... Smh
Rating: 20 Votes
44 months ago

The lawsuit is fair, but requesting $5 million discredits this as anything more than an attempt to make money.

You people really don't seem to understand class action lawsuits. The large dollar amount is to get the attention of a giant corporation that otherwise won't bother to respond, for one thing. For another thing, since there may be thousands or tens of thousands of qualifying plaintiffs most people that are part of a class action lawsuit typically end up with a compensatory check for anywhere from 99c to $15. Class action lawsuits are not money-making schemes. Except for the lawyers, but they make money on anything, on either side.

Anyone who doesn't think that it was stupid of Apple to turn this on by default has obviously never had to pay the ridiculously expensive overage fees most cellular companies are still charging. I got screwed out of my unlimited data because someone at AT&T made a mistake years ago and I didn't catch it in time, so I try to keep my cellular data usage to a minimum. So I'm not happy this feature has been enabled without my knowledge. Plus, I read most of the feature announcements with each new version of iOS but I still didn't realize this even existed. I can see how a lot of people might be extremely unhappy about getting unexpectedly high phone bills the last month or so, when they are otherwise careful to avoid using too much cellular data.

This is one thing that it was not wise of Apple to enable by default. Not cool.
Rating: 19 Votes
44 months ago
Time for Apple to team up with Elon Musk to create unlimited satellite internet.
Rating: 15 Votes
44 months ago

There are legitimate lawsuits.

This is not.

This is an OPTIONAL feature.

The Wifi icon goes away when you're on cellular. It's not like you don't realize you're using it.

Nothing but greedy lawyers trying to make a buck.

It's optional, but it's on by default. And no, you don't realize you're using it. That's why people were so concerned about it.
Rating: 14 Votes
44 months ago
In an ideal world this wouldn't be a problem, but service providers are willing to impose these horrible data caps.
Rating: 11 Votes

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