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 36
    ashleyashley Posts: 25member
    Wasn't this an iOS 6 beta feature that was removed a few years ago?
  • Reply 2 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,055member
    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 3 of 36
    ashleyashley Posts: 25member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    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.



    No, There was a feature (that could be turned off) to use 3G if WiFi was poor, looks like it's back.  

  • Reply 4 of 36
    I don't have this feature after updating. Is it a country specific feature? I'm in the UK
  • Reply 5 of 36
    ashleyashley Posts: 25member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    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.

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/08/09/apples_wi_fi_plus_cellular_option_in_ios_6_to_keep_apps_syncing_when_wifi_networks_choke

  • Reply 6 of 36
    dtidmoredtidmore Posts: 137member
    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 8 of 36
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    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 9 of 36
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    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 10 of 36
    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 11 of 36
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,143member
    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 12 of 36
    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 13 of 36
    uxqatomuxqatom Posts: 15member
    ...
  • Reply 14 of 36
    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 15 of 36



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

  • Reply 16 of 36
    mnbob1mnbob1 Posts: 262member
    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 17 of 36
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,182member
    The phone must switch to the strongest wifi signal it can connect to.
    That would be a nice feature.
  • Reply 18 of 36
    Where the heck is WiFi calling for Verizon?
  • Reply 19 of 36
    tdknoxtdknox Posts: 64member
    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 20 of 36

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

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