Skip to main content

Wi-Fi Assist Is A Pointless Complication To iOS

Wi-Fi Assist was a tool introduced by Apple in iOS 9 designed to take away the pain of slow Wi-Fi connections. Instead it has just added a different level of pain and complexity and has now landed Apple a $5m lawsuit.
That's such a small amount that Apple could probably fund it by hunting for loose change down the back of the sofa in Tim Cook's office.
It does highlight an increasing frustration with iOS though. By picking up features that weren't invented in-house, Apple is unnecessarily complicating its mobile OS.
Wi-Fi Assist is a riff on Samsung's Download Booster technology. Whereas Samsung offered it as a performance booster, turned it off by default and told people how it can improve the speed of large downloads by using multiple connections, Apple saw things in a different way.
Wi-Fi Assist will drop off a Wi-Fi network and onto a mobile connection if it determines the Wi-Fi performance to be poor. This is typical Apple. It's turned on by default, users aren't given a choice of what constitutes poor network performance and are left to blow through their data caps if they don't notice the mobile data connection icon in the notification area..
Apple defended itself by saying that data usage would be minimal - a small amount more than normal. If that's the case why include the feature? Why make it default?
On occasion Apple makes decisions on behalf of its customers, sometimes when it does it gets things very wrong. This is one of those times.