Latest iOS 9 betas automatically detects, switches away from weak Wi-Fi signals, adds AT&T Wi-Fi cal

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2015
Two small but critical additions to the new iOS 9 betas released on Thursday include "Wi-Fi Assist," a feature built to prevent iPhones from latching onto poor Wi-Fi connections, and Wi-Fi calling for AT&T network customers.




Despite its name, the new "Wi-Fi Assist" option can be found under the "Cellular" menu in the iOS Settings app. Turning it on will force a device to switch to a 3G or 4G connection when a Wi-Fi signal falls under an unspecified quality level.

Currently an iPhone will often attempt to connect to a known Wi-Fi hotspot even when it's barely within range, even if the connection is too weak to effectively transmit data. Until iOS 9 beta, the only viable solution in such circumstances has been to disable an iPhone's Wi-Fi radio.

Accordingly, Apple has also made it clearer when Wi-Fi is being turned off. The icon now turns "inactive" gray before one of the symbols for cellular data appears.

On a related note, the latest iOS 9 beta also enables Wi-Fi calling for AT&T subscribers. Offloading incoming and outgoing calls to a local wireless network offers a more reliable connection, enhanced audio quality and better battery performance. Apple first activated Wi-Fi calling features for T-Mobile's network with an early iOS 8 beta last year.

Apple released two new iOS 9 betas earlier today, including a third public beta and a fifth developer seed. Both are effectively identical, but the company is slower to issue public betas in order to avoid causing too much aggravation with bugs or poor performance.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,300member
    ashley wrote: »
    Wasn't this an iOS 6 beta feature that was removed a few years ago?
    Are you talking about where your Verizon iPhone could switch over to cellular data while still connected to a wifi network? If so Apple treated that as a bug and patched it away. At least back then users didn't like it eating into their data plan.
  • Reply 2 of 34
    I don't have this feature after updating. Is it a country specific feature? I'm in the UK
  • Reply 3 of 34
    dtidmoredtidmore Posts: 144member
    While the latest beta may now include the switch to activate WiFi calling for AT&T customers, that does NOT mean that AT&T is on board with that. I just tried to activate it in the DFW area and it came back that WiFi Calling was NOT yet available in my area. As AT&T tends to roll out their better technology here in the DFW area sooner than later, I was a bit surprised.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Despite its name, the new "Wi-Fi Assist" option can be found under the "Cellular" menu in the iOS Settings app.

     

    Today: "Wi-Fi Assist."

    Future: "Cellular Network Assist."

     

    I'd gladly pay Apple a (small) monthly premium for an auto-network-switching feature.

    Where I live, AT&T data connectivity is notoriously weak.  Verizon seems fine.

    If only my 2016 iPhone 7 could switch to whichever network has the best voice / data wherever I am...

  • Reply 6 of 34
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    ... the latest iOS 9 beta also enables Wi-Fi calling for AT&T subscribers. Offloading incoming and outgoing calls to a local wireless network offers a more reliable connection ...

     

    "Finally."

  • Reply 7 of 34
    I don't have this feature after updating. Is it a country specific feature? I'm in the UK

    I don't have it either. iOS 9 Beta 3 in Sweden.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,279member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iantimmy123 View Post



    I don't have this feature after updating. Is it a country specific feature? I'm in the UK

    Your carrier has to support this feature. If you aren't on a carrier that doesn't have Wifi calling, you won't see the setting. 

  • Reply 9 of 34
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member

    It's weird that they deleted the blue-green wave wallpaper when it was used in all of their demos and publicity shots of iOS 9. I suspect something got messed up with the wallpapers in this build.

  • Reply 10 of 34
    uxqatomuxqatom Posts: 15member
    ...
  • Reply 11 of 34
    uxqatomuxqatom Posts: 15member
    ... the latest iOS 9 beta also enables Wi-Fi calling for AT&T subscribers. Offloading incoming and outgoing calls to a local wireless network offers a more reliable connection ...
    sockrolid wrote: »
    "Finally."
    I'm looking at the carrier cheerleading hand book. It says that Wi-Fi calling is supposed to be responded to negatively. Denounced and disparaged, even dismissed, it says. "Wi-Fi calling lets carriers get away with not improving coverage, penetration, or eliminating dead spots."
  • Reply 12 of 34



    Ditto here in New York city. "Check back soon" is the AT&T response.

  • Reply 13 of 34
    mnbob1mnbob1 Posts: 268member
    Wifi calling isn't available on AT&T in the Minneapolis market yet either. I'm guessing that AT&T isn't quite ready to go live with it because their marketing department hasn't come up with a monthly fee to charge for the service. You can always count on cell carriers (and airlines) to charge a fee for something that doesn't cost them anything to provide.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    The phone must switch to the strongest wifi signal it can connect to.
    That would be a nice feature.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    Where the heck is WiFi calling for Verizon?
  • Reply 16 of 34
    tdknoxtdknox Posts: 68member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dtidmore View Post



    While the latest beta may now include the switch to activate WiFi calling for AT&T customers, that does NOT mean that AT&T is on board with that. I just tried to activate it in the DFW area and it came back that WiFi Calling was NOT yet available in my area. As AT&T tends to roll out their better technology here in the DFW area sooner than later, I was a bit surprised.



    It's not available here in Cupertino, Apple's home town, either.

  • Reply 17 of 34

    Is there an option yet to stop my iPhone from connecting to random at&t hotspots when I'm in public?

  • Reply 18 of 34
    tdknoxtdknox Posts: 68member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Creek0512 View Post

     

    Is there an option yet to stop my iPhone from connecting to random at&t hotspots when I'm in public?


    Yes.

     

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/how-to-disable-attwifi-hotspots.1502375/

  • Reply 19 of 34



    In the States the menu item is Cellular as the article refers, in the UK / on my iPhone it's the Mobile Data menu item, not sure about Sweden, an other reference, it's the fourth item in Settings app, YMMV.

  • Reply 20 of 34
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,718member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

     

     

    Today: "Wi-Fi Assist."

    Future: "Cellular Network Assist."

     

    I'd gladly pay Apple a (small) monthly premium for an auto-network-switching feature.

    Where I live, AT&T data connectivity is notoriously weak.  Verizon seems fine.

    If only my 2016 iPhone 7 could switch to whichever network has the best voice / data wherever I am...


    This would be a possible option for Apple if they ever entered into the MVNO business and I'd jump at it. The Pacific Northwest only has good AT&T reception along I-5 and in medium to large cities, while Verizon seems to work everywhere. I'm thinking about moving my mobile share plan phones over to Verizon but it's never an easy change when five phones are involved. I found a used AT&T MicroCell so I'm effectively already using AT&T over WiFi at my house but it would be nice in other places. Of course, this doesn't help when I'm not near WiFi. 

     

    Call me a socialist but I don't see why cellular communications isn't available to everyone equally. Why can't there be one cell tower handling everyone's calls instead of 1-5 towers handling only specific company's calls. The current iPhones can work over almost all cellular frequencies can't it? Therefore, your idea of switching to the strongest signal or least used would provide adequate capabilities for all users instead of just a few. Of course, that's not the American way. We have to pay those investors, run stupid advertisements, and waste billions of dollars trying to say there's competition to satisfy the equally corrupt judicial and government oversight committees. I know everyone, no matter which carrier they have, simply wants the best coverage and fastest data they can get, regardless of who's selling it. Just give me coverage!!!!

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