Cautionary Tale: This iPhone Feature Led to a $2,000 Monthly Bill

Photo (cc) by Japanexperterna.se

San Francisco teen Ashton Finegold was floored when his dad told him he had racked up a $2,000 phone bill in one month by going over his plan’s data cap.

Yikes.

The family’s cellphone bill is typically around $250.

“I thought my dad was going to kill me,” Finegold told CBS Miami.

Finegold said “Wi-Fi Assist” is to blame for the outrageous bill. Enabled by default on Apple’s newest operating system (iOS 9 and later), Wi-Fi Assist is designed to provide users with the best and most consistent Internet connection.

So if you’re in an area with a weak Wi-Fi signal – like Finegold’s bedroom – Wi-Fi Assist automatically connects your phone to your wireless carrier’s cellular data network instead, CBS explains.

Finegold said he thought he was connected to his family’s Wi-Fi system while streaming and surfing the Web in his bedroom. Unbeknown to him, the weakness of the Wi-Fi signal in his bedroom allowed Wi-Fi Assist to switch the phone to cellular data, which effectively gobbled up more than 144,000 megabytes of data in one month, according to CBS.

Finegold did receive a warning text from his wireless carrier, AT&T, notifying him that he was nearing his data limit, but he disregarded it.

Although some Apple users like the feature, which was first introduced in September 2015, because it allows them to stay online even if their Wi-Fi signal drops, other consumers with low-usage data plans say the feature is to blame for some costly surprises on their phone bills.

Apple Insider reported in November that Apple was facing a second class-action lawsuit over Wi-Fi Assist overages.

This was the first I’d heard of Wi-Fi Assist. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to check and see if you have it enabled on your iPhone (or iPad).

Simply go to “Settings” on your Apple device, and then select “Cellular” and start scrolling down past all your apps. This could take a minute, depending on how many apps you have installed on your phone. At the very bottom of the options, you’ll see “Wi-Fi Assist.” If the feature is on, simply swipe to the left to turn it off.

Unbeknown to me, Wi-Fi Assist was running on my phone. But it’s not anymore.

Concerned about exceeding your data plan? Check out “10 Simple Ways to Cut Costs on Data Usage.”

Do you think Apple is to blame for Finegold’s outrageously high phone bill? Had you heard of Wi-Fi Assist? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Reasons You Should Not Claim Social Security Early
7 Reasons You Should Not Claim Social Security Early

The sooner you claim your Social Security retirement benefits, the more you — and perhaps also your spouse — stand to lose. Here are the stakes.

13 Affordable Products for a Better Night’s Rest
13 Affordable Products for a Better Night’s Rest

These Amazon products can help you finally catch 40 winks — or more.

7 Ways to Save Money Without Trying
7 Ways to Save Money Without Trying

Saving money doesn’t always mean drudgery and sacrifice. These tools make it easy — sometimes even fun.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach
10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach

Does the pandemic have you reaching for bleach more than ever before? Learn the ins and outs of using this powerful disinfectant.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.