New iPhone Feature Can Drive Bill Up

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Data overages can lead to big phone bills.

One family, however, was shocked when they got a bill for more than two thousand dollars. The big bill was because of a new feature on Apple iPhones that you may not be aware of.

Like many teens, Ashton Feingold didn’t think much about the text message from AT&T which warned that he was nearing his data limit.

“It just said maybe 65 percent of your data has been used,” said Feingold.

Then the bill came.

“I thought my dad was going to kill me,” he said.

“It’s usually $250 a month and this was $2,000!” said Ashton’s father Jeff.

The difference? A new feature on Ashton’s iPhone called “WiFi Assist” which is standard with the new iOS 9.1 operating system.

“I had no idea what that was,” said Jeff Feingold.

It’s intended to make sure the user always has a good signal by automatically switching to cellular data when a WiFi signal is weak.

In Ashton’s bedroom, he thought he was still connected to WiFi while streaming and surfing the web. Instead, his phone was gobbling up data- more than 144-thousand megabytes.

“That’s pretty high but I can see it happening,” said Mike Campbell with “Apple Insider.”

He added that while some customers like what WiFi Assist does, many don’t know they have it.

“It comes by default, it is switched on,” said Campbell. “That’s why there’s an uproar.”

Apple had no comment.

To turn off WiFi Assist, go to settings, then cellular, then down at the bottom users can switch off the feature.

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