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Wi-Fi assist using too much cellular data? Here's how to turn it off!

Wi-Fi Assist lets you automatically pop over to cellular data if you end up on a Wi-Fi network with a poor connection. That's great for maintaining your Netflix stream or Facebook browsing, but not so great for your data usage.

If you have an incredibly high or unlimited plan, you probably won't care about the data usage as long as you're always getting the best performance possible. If you're on a limited plan, however, especially one with hefty charges for overages, you can easily turn Wi-Fi assist off.

How to disable Wi-Fi Assist

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap Cellular.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and switch the Wi-Fi Assist toggle to Off.

If you want to quickly return to this toggle at any point to turn it on when you have bad Wi-Fi signal but good cell service, we recommend using the following Siri command: "Open Cellular preferences".

Questions?

Let us know below.

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

45 Comments
  • Data caps? Quaint.
  • What does your comment mean?
  • I'm guessing that data caps are something they think are something from the past & no longer used. From what I've seen in USA this appears to be true... something that doesn't affect anyone but I can't speak to other countries & cellular networks.
  • From what I've heard carriers in Canada are discontinuing their unlimited plans. And many "unlimited" plans have their speeds reduced when you reach a certain point.
  • I posted about this very Tip on the Forums over the weekend.
  • "Buzzfeed noted that they'd had several readers write in worried about blowing through their data plan" I see nothing in the linked piece about readers writing in.
  • I agree - I haven't been able to find anyone actually stating this is a problem for them. Hoping this isn't just FUD.
  • Go to Settings > Cellular and all your apps are shown, and with how much cell data they use. Good way to halt the offenders. Sent from the iMore App
  • Interesting. I didn't even know this was an option... although in my case, I'm happy it's there.
  • I love this option, but feel it should probably be off by default. I can see a l of times when someone is at a coffee shop with crummy wifi or just in that one room of your house the router barely reaches where they could blow through a month of mobile data and not even realize this. As far as I can tell, the current implementation does nothing to indicate whether you are using it or not. For instance, if I walk a block from my house, my phone will remain connected to my home wifi, but it will be too weak to actually do anything. With wifi assist, it still looks like I'm connected to wifi, and yet I can actually use the Internet. There should probably be some indicator when you're using assisted mode.
  • I did this the moment I updated to iOS 9. Also a good idea to run through the list of apps in Settings > Cellular and deny cellular rights to apps that might not need constant data streams, especially if you've enabled Background App Refresh on them.
  • Odd that they had this option on as default with how many people have limited data plans. Nice option to have, but really should of been off by default.
  • That decision was made by wealthy executives who can't imagine there are users out there without Unlimited plans. Sent from the iMore App
  • This story is also relevant to the iPhone 5s. It's also known as mobile in other areas as cellular is a very localised term in some locations. Sent from the iMore App
  • Not just for the new models, but others running iOS 9. Why Ren just noted the new ones, I have no idea. Sent from the iMore App
  • When you said this, it clicked to me. Now I know why I burned through so much data this month that I had to up my data plan...and here i thought I was going crazy Sent from the iMore App
  • My iPhone 4S doesn't have the wifi assist option.
  • I can NOT get this function to work AT ALL! I DO have an unlimited plan at Sprint, use about 350GB A MONTH due to job. Been connecting to numerous truckstop and motel wifis for the last week trying to update my WATCH and nowhere would jump to LTE. What am i missing or has Sprint just disabled it?
  • Sprint probably disabled you as you are abusive to the network. 350gb a month is almost ridiculous for a home broadband connection. On mobile you would be the .0001 percent of people sucking up all the bandwidth.
  • Sprint not only has low LTE coverage, but their LTE tends to drop down to their atrocious 3G, especially inside buildings. I didn't think it was possible to rack up that much data on their pitiful network. Sent from the iMore App
  • Ditto
  • 350 gb a month? That's quite a bit.
  • In my experience, Wi-Fi Assist hasn't helped at all. If I am on my way out of my house or office and the device is still attached to the Wi-Fi network "by a thread", I get no data response and have to switch off W-iFi manually in Control Centre. Worse still, if I am using Wi-Fi Calling and leave the office, my call goes dead!
  • It may just be me... but under Settings, I can't find the word 'Cellular'.
    Does it have to do with area-specific options?
    (I live in The Netherlands)
  • It's the fourth option from the top. Just under Bluetooth and above personal hotspot. Sent from the iMore App
  • Translate "Cellular" into Dutch. Then look for that Dutch word in Settings. Unless it's in German. Sent from the iMore App
  • German isn't spoken in the Netherlands, it'd be in Dutch
  • I’m in the UK and can’t see Wi-Fi assist in the settings menu, but I do have alternative settings that appear to be EU specific. On my 4s the “Mobile Data” setting replaces Cellular. The top three options are Mobile Data, Enable 3G and Data Roaming. Toggling Data Roaming on or off controls restricting data to Wi-Fi which would seem to duplicate the effect of the Wi-Fi assist setting. Turning Data Roaming on shows an additional hidden option “EU internet” that allows the restriction to apply when travelling in the EU.
  • I'm also in the uk Settings > Mobile Data > scroll all the way to the bottom past all the individual app settings > WiFi Assist Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks for the reply. I checked before posting, the only thing listed below the individual settings is Reset Statistics on my phone (4s running iOS 9). I tried turning Data Roaming on and off to see if that revealed any hidden options but it made no difference. Perhaps Wi-Fi Assist is not applicable to my old phone.
  • Your phone might have 'Mobile' in the top part of the Settings section. I'm in Australia, and this function is under Mobile for me. I hope this helps.
  • I didn't even know about this. Thanks fort the tip. Disabled. Sent from the iMore App
  • It really doesn't bother me, on att with data rollover so get 50 gb a month. Sent from the iMore App
  • No no no. Who cares about your rollover 50 gigs? Does it actually work? Sent from the iMore App
  • Thank you so much, Serenity! Now I know where my data vanished. Sent from the iMore App
  • Can't see a problem with this. As far as I know if your wifi disconnected for some reason, your phone always switched to mobile data. This is why I always turned denied mobile data to apps such as BBC iPlayer or Amazon instant. This has been in iOS for as long as I can remember. Sent from the iMore App
  • No this is different. This goes to cellular data if your wifi is "slow" not if you're disconnected. Sent from the iMore App
  • Am not using iphone so i don't know to share mind with u..
  • The subject of this article is not exclamation worthy. iMore overuses that punctuation far too much. This is a simple How-To article and nothing more. A helpful article I will grant you & one I'm glad they have. But it's not shocking, scary or amazing, all of which might use an exclamation point!!!!
  • Also note if you have to do a reset, home button with sleep wake button, check it again. In iOS8 a reset would turn on Bluetooth. Does not do that in 9. Strange. Sent from the iMore App
  • Wifi-Assist is useful but I also feel that it consume more data. And, above all what's the point of keeping it always turned on when you have a stable wifi connection.
  • Does anybody use the phone part of an iPhone?. I have the lowest possible number of minutes on AT&T and I've never used more than a tenth of my allotment. I message, FaceTime, email, and for the hopelessly grandmotherly, I call. They keep on dumping my unused minutes onto an unholy pile of minutes, so I could call for an entire month and not pay a dime more. I used to have an AT&T microcell, so they charged me $20 a month to make "unlimited calls" when I was home, where AT&T doesn't reach. I saved by dropping that. They didn't explain that the extra $20 was for the "unlimited calling." I want unlimited data, and that's what they're cutting. No more driving home with the passenger watching Game of Thrones on HBO Now, I guess. I hate cellular companies almost as much as I hate cable "providers."
  • I have an Android App AutoWiFiOnOff, it controls WiFi On or Off automatically to save battery and data cost, Also it does not need GPS and require only network location. It allows the user to save 4 predefined location with Lat. Long., the wifi will auto on when reach near 600m of predefined location.
  • I have AT&T's unlimited plan and a 35 Mbps connection at my home so I almost never use WiFi. Sent from the iMore App
  • It's
    Settings > Mobile
    for us Aussies ;-)