A new fea­ture in Ap­ple’s iOS 9 could cause a spike in data use


A fea­ture in Ap­ple’s new iOS 9 op­er­at­ing sys­tem, de­signed to keep your con­nec­tion sta­ble, may be a po­ten­tial data sink in dis­guise.

The set­ting, called “Wi-Fi As­sist,” au­to­mat­i­cally switches your phone over to the cel­lu­lar net­work when you’re in a place with spotty Wi-Fi. The fea­ture is on by de­fault in iOS 9, mean­ing that your iPhones and iPads will seek out cell net­works un­less you tell them not to.

The prob­lems start when users think they’re some­where with a good Wi-Fi con­nec­tion, but their phones beg to dif­fer — lead­ing to bill shock. Users con­cerned about that can turn the fea­ture off near the bot­tom of the “Cel­lu­lar” sec­tion of their Set­tings app.

The iPhone has a built-in counter that helps you keep track of what you’re us­ing. Ap­ple’s cus­tomer ser­vice fo­rums are a lit­tle split on how ac­cu­rate it is; some say it hews closely to what they see on their bills, while oth­ers say it is a lit­tle off.

It’s prob­a­bly best to look at it as an es­ti­mate rather than a de­fin­i­tive tally and to check in with your car­rier to see how much the com­pany is billing you.

That said, it can be a handy snap­shot. To find it, head to that same Cel­lu­lar menu in your Set­tings app. Scroll down and you should see a sec­tion called “Cel­lu­lar Data Us­age” that gives you an es­ti­mate of how much data you’ve used since you last re­set that counter.

If you’ve never used this tool be­fore, you’ve prob­a­bly never re­set it. To do so, head to the very bot­tom of the Cel­lu­lar menu and hit “Re­set Sta­tis­tics.” You’ll have to re­set the counter man­u­ally — maybe when your bill comes each month.

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