Friday, 20 November 2015 13:41

Warning: Mobile ‘bill shock' risk from iOS9 WiFi Assist

Warning: Mobile ‘bill shock' risk from iOS9 WiFi Assist Image courtesy of Stuart Miles,

Apple’s most recent iOS 9 update gives iPhone and iPad users a new feature – WiFi Assist – but it also brings with it a risk of unexpectedly high mobile phone bills, according to a warning issued by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

According to the ACMA, Wi-Fi Assist, which is automatically enabled with the iOS 9 update, can be very useful in avoiding slow buffering and internet drop outs.

But, the authority warns that there is a risk of unexpectedly high mobile phone – or so called bill shock - from increased mobile data usage as a result of Wi-Fi Assist being turned on on your Apple device.

As the ACMA explains, if you’re using a Wi-Fi internet connection on your Apple iOS device and your signal becomes weak, Wi-Fi Assist will detect this and automatically switch over to your mobile network, if available.

The ACMA cites statistics showing that 66% of all Apple iOS devices worldwide are currently using iOS 9 - “So there’s a very good chance that if you’re an iPhone user, you’re one of 7.05 million Australians who’ve already been updated to the iOS 9 software.”

And, the ACMA’ advice, if you don’t want to run the risk of bill shock, you can always disable the Wi-Fi Assist feature on your Apple iOS device – and turn it back on if you need some assistance later on.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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