What is Wi-Fi Assist?

Wi-Fi Assist was a new feature introduced to Apple mobile devices with the iOS 9 update and its default setting to be automatically enabled. It was quickly found by some to be the source of excessive mobile data usage, which came as a surprise as the device user was under the impression they were using a Wi-Fi connection.

What is Wi-Fi Assist?

Wi-Fi Assist is a feature designed to provide uninterrupted internet access, avoiding slow load times and connection drops when connected to Wi-Fi. If the Wi-Fi connection the mobile device was using became overloaded, slow or weak and affecting internet usage as a result, the Wi-Fi Assist tool switches to mobile data for the device to continue to support a good connection.

When Wi-Fi Assist is in use an icon will appear in your device’s status bar, however, this is often missed, especially when users are streaming music on Youtube through Safari and not actively using their device or watching video on full-screen mode. Take a look at our guide to how much data streaming uses to find out just how much data could be used through Wi-Fi Assist.

When your device is data roaming, the Wi-Fi Assist will not activate, however, it may still be worth turning off the feature before traveling.

How to turn off Wi-Fi Assist?

If you are on a limited data plan and want complete control over when you are using your mobile data you may wish to turn off the Wi-Fi Assist feature. This can be done through your mobile device settings menu, from here go to ‘Mobile Data’ and scroll to ‘Wi-Fi Assist’ to turn this off.

What about Android devices?

Wi-Fi Assist is an Apple feature and only available on the iPhone and iPad, however, there is a similar feature available on Android devices. The Android Smart Network Switch available in devices running at least Android 4.3 works in the same way when the Wi-Fi connection available is slow or poor.

If you wish to turn off Smart Network Switch and have mobile data enabled on your Android device go to Menu, then Settings and open Wi-Fi settings. Here, go to Menu/Action depending on your device and select ‘Smart Network Switch’.

How can the Apps2Data app help?

Having Wi-Fi Assist activated takes some of the control you have over your data usage away.  The Apps2Data app can help you monitor this. If you have activated Wi-Fi Assist and want to keep track of the data usage you can analyse the hourly breakdown of your data usage via the Apps2Data online dashboard and find out how much mobile data was used during periods where you should have been connected to Wi-Fi.

Click here to find out more about the Apps2Data app features and how it can help you stay in control of your data usage.