After being found guilty of infringing a 1998 patent developed by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), Apple faces yet another lawsuit over recently the introduced ‘Wi-Fi Assist’ feature in iOS 9. A class-action lawsuit was registered against the company on Friday, as many users have complained that the feature burns an unusually high amount of their cellular data. The iPhone maker now faces damages of over $5 million.
The Wi-Fi Assist is a new feature introduced with the latest iOS 9 when it was released in September. It essentially gives users with a weak Wi-Fi connection the option to tap into their data network to bolster their Internet connectivity. Some users who are not aware as to how Wi-Fi Assist works, or for that matter it even exists, have alleged that the new feature has burned their cellular data more than they expected. Though the new class-action suit states that it should be Apple’s responsibility to bear these charges and should reimburse its customers for any overuse data charges.
The latest lawsuit accuses Apple of misleading consumers along with breaching California’s Unfair Competition Law and state’s False Advertising Law.
According to the lawsuit, “[Apple] intentionally chose to have the default setting of the Wi-Fi Assist as activated while at the same time chose to omit the likelihood of data overcharges to consumers that do not have an unlimited data plan.”
The lawsuit was initially filed by a couple in California named William Scott Phillips and Suzanne Schmidt Phillips, who claim that they unknowingly consumed their cellular data because of the new Wi-Fi Assist feature, which is notably activated by default as soon as users upgrade to iOS 9. Theoretically, every iOS user would’ve been affected by the feature. Hence, the lawsuit count for potential damages is more than $5 million.
The lawsuit also claims that Apple has now listed a set of instructions on its website to show users how to deactivate the Wi-Fi Assist’s default setting, in response to the barrage of complaints, articles and comments that started appearing on the web. To turn off the Wi-Fi Assist feature, just open the Settings app in iOS 9 and select Cellular, then scroll down to the bottom where you’ll find the ON/OFF toggle button. The option is still missing on some older Apple devices, which include the iPhone 4S, the iPad 2, along with the first-generation iPad mini.
Notably, Apple has not made any official comment on the lawsuit yet.