Teen Gets $2,000 Phone Bill, Blames Apple’s Wi-Fi Assist Feature


According to a report by CBS News, a teen named Ashton Finegold from San Francisco was shocked when he received an outrageous phone bill totalling over $2,000, which he claims was due to “Wi-Fi Assist,” a new feature introduced by Apple in iOS 9. The feature automatically switches the phone to draw on cellular service when a user is in an area with a weak Wi-Fi signal. “It’s usually $250 a month — and this was over $2,000,” the teen’s father Jeff Finegold told CBS.

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

Apparently the teen’s bedroom is a place with a weak Wi-Fi signal. So while he thought he was still connected to his home Wi-Fi while surfing the web in his room, his iPhone was eating up more than 144,000 MB of data. Apple has chosen to make the Wi-Fi Assist feature enabled on all iOS 9 devices by default and needs to be manually turned off.

For those who don’t know, if you want to turn off the Wi-Fi Assist feature on your iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular and scroll down to the bottom to switch Wi-Fi Assist off.

Have you noticed your data usage increase with iOS 9?

“Technology runs through my veins...” | Follow me: @DrUsmanQ usman@iPhoneinCanada.ca

  • Jon

    The headlines attached to this story (on this site and others) make it seem like the kid and parents are whinging and claiming foul/looking for Apple to pay the bill but it seems more like a piece meant to raise awareness about this feature and what it does. Neither to kid nor his dad seem too outraged. Of course the kid is to blame for not being aware that it switched over to LTE from Wi-fi or for not knowing about Wi-fi Assist, but without the feature being added, the worst case scenario is he would have had a terrible wi-fi connection, not a $2,000 bill.

  • Danny Cheung

    WiFi assist should indicate if data is being used. From what I recall the WiFi icon remains the same whether it’s using data or not.

  • Jon

    I wasn’t sure, but found the support doc from Apple and it says that the icon will change from Wi-fi to 3G/LTE if Wi-Fi Assist is being used.


  • If I’m not mistaken, didn’t the CRTC mandate that all carriers send a text message warning to all customers at 75% and total 100% usage warnings? I’ve got a 75% warning one time, but I rarely ever come close to my limit.

    Every time I hear these stories, I kinda wonder how that even happens. Apple explained that Wifi Assist only aided in website loading as well and wouldn’t assist in streaming. So, unless I missed something here, I’m still pondering how this even happens.

  • sarge

    Yeah but the guy is from San Francisco, no CRTC in USA

  • DoctorT

    He used 140 GB’s on a phone??? O_O
    That kid should look into getting a laptop..

  • Crosseyedmofo

    complete bs though, it doesnt show cellular at all
    hit nearly 20 gigs in two weeks before realizing it last august

  • Okay, you’re correct on that part.

    I still fail to see wifi assist in loading some webpages will do this. I find it more likely someone turned off wifi and forgot to turn it on before hitting pornhub lol

  • SV650

    In answer to your question: no, I turned the option off.

  • Mrleblanc

    Never got those text from Bell…

  • Mrleblanc

    Straight from Apple support documentation: “When Wi-Fi Assist is activated, you’ll see the cellular data icon in the status bar on your device.”

  • bbousquet

    I stopped reading when it said “It’s usually $250 a month”. First world problems.

  • iPhoner

    What Usman forgot when he copied this news from another source without reading the CBS website, is that the first line of the article says:
    “Ashton Finegold didn’t think much of the text message he received from his mobile phone service saying that he was nearing his data limit.”

    So he did get a notice but chose to ignore it.

  • Ah! Now THAT makes perfect sense.
    Thank you for clearing it up 🙂