Apple faces a $5 million lawsuit after its latest iOS update began sapping the cellular data from peoples' devices without their knowledge.
Apple could be in hot water following the release of their latest iOS 9 operating system. According to a report from Apple Insider, the new feature Wi-Fi Assist pulled data from users’ cellular plans without their knowledge, racking up serious data bills in the process. The lawsuit seeks more than $5 million in damages from Apple.
The plaintiffs, William Scott Phillips and Suanne Schmidt Phillips, accused Apple of owing more than $5 million as a result of the costs presented by Wi-Fi Assist. The case was filed in a U.S. District Court in San Jose, CA this Friday.
After updating to iOS 9, many users didn’t realize that Wi-Fi Assist had been engaged by default. Intended to provide a more seamless internet connection by pulling from cellular data to patch up a weak Wi-Fi signal, the program has proven to be quite the drain on peoples’ plans.
The problem with the update is that Apple failed to notify its users how the new Wi-Fi Assist app would work, and in many cases that it even existed. Users were shocked at the amount of data they were using after updating to the new version of the operating system, and allege that Apple should be responsible for covering the costs of data overages.
Apple failed to explain its Wi-Fi Assist app on its website, and only addressed the issue after the media had taken a fair swing. When the company finally put an explanation up on their site, the damage to many users had already been done.
According to the suit, the “Defendant’s above corrective action, however, still downplays the possible data overcharges a user could incur. Reasonable and average consumers use their iPhones for streaming of music, videos, and running various applications — all of which can use significant data. Defendant’s corrective statement does not disclose any basis for its conclusion that an average consumer would not see much increase in cellular usage.”
The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs were unfairly charged for the data used by the Wi-Fi Assist app without their knowledge. The program was immediately engaged upon upgrading to iOS 9, and Apple did nothing to warn users that this might be the result. The lawsuit neglected to reveal exactly how much costs were incurred as a result of data overuse, but the plaintiffs and subsequent class all allege that the company misled users about the update.
Apple faces charges of violating California’s Unfair Competition Law, the False Advertising Law, and negligent misrepresentation.
If you have already downloaded iOS 9, there is a way to disable Wi-Fi Assist. Users should simply open the Settings app, select Cellular, and then locate the toggle button at the very bottom. The option may not be present on older Apple products like the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, or the first-generation mini iPad.
Apple’s web page update describing the function of Wi-Fi Assist can be read here.
“How Wi-Fi Assist works