What is Wi-Fi Assist and do I want it?

You’ve downloaded iOS9 and seem some fancy new tricks right? But did you know that Wi-Fi Assist is one of those new features? For most users it’s a great addition to Apple’s mobile operating system, to others, maybe not. What is Wi-fi Assist and why is so great? Did you know most users experience a few moments of connectivity loss as they walk or drive away from their Wi-Fi network? This happens as the last wisps of Wi-Fi connectivity fail but before the iPhone can recognize and switch to the cellular data connection. With Wi-Fi Assist, the iPhone will detect that the Wi-Fi network signal is degrading and actively switch over to the cellular connection before a complete loss of the Wi-Fi signal. This should create an experience that is seamless to the user and allows them to continue their Internet use without interruption as they leave the house or office.  Pretty cool right?

However, there may be times in which Wi-Fi Assist may “booger up”  the user experience. In terms of data usage, Wi-Fi Assist doesn’t just help maintain interruption-free connectivity when the user leaves home; it also activates the cellular data connection whenever a user’s Wi-Fi signal gets weak. If you have a large data cap you may not mind this, but for those on a more limited data plan, might not want their cellular data connection kicking in without some kind of warning. If a Wi-Fi signal is still available, even a poor one, you might want to continue using it to save your limited data.

Then there are some mobile apps that require a connection to a specific Wi-Fi network for security and functionality purposes, particularly in enterprise settings. In this case, Wi-Fi Assist may switch the user to a cellular connection sooner than they want or anticipate, resulting in a total loss of connection for a particular network-dependent app, instead of just having slow speeds on the existing Wi-Fi network.

Wi-Fi Assist, by default, is enabled when a user upgrades to iOS 9, without providing any prompts or warnings that it has done so. Thankfully though, it’s easy to disable Wi-Fi Assist if you decide it’s not right for you.

To disable Wi-Fi Assist in iOS 9, head to Settings > Cellular. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see an entry for Wi-Fi Assist. Tap the toggle switch to set it to Off (white).

Watch this short video to see how to disable Wi-Fi Assist in iOS9.