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Apple's iOS 9.3 adds a way to track cellular data use through Wi-Fi Assist

Wi-Fi Assist, the feature that uses cellular data in poor Wi-Fi areas, is still enabled by default in iOS 9.3 but at least now you can see how much data it offloads.

Some iPhone and iPad users found that their cellular data usage jumped after installing last year's iOS 9 upgrade. The reason may be, at least partially, due to the Wi-Fi Assist feature that Apple added: iPhones running iOS 9 will seamlessly switch to cellular data in areas with a poor Wi-Fi signal.

Apple is facing a class action lawsuit over the situation, which may have something to do with what Mac Rumors found in the iOS 9.3 beta released this week: Wi-Fi Assist now shows the actual cellular data usage consumed.

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Owners of iPhones (and iPads with LTE) have always had the option to disable Wi-Fi Assist, although the setting isn't in the most intuitive place.

You won't find it in the Wi-Fi settings, but instead at the very bottom of the Cellular options list. And Apple turns it on by default.

Just like the statistics provided by iOS for cellular usage, the Wi-Fi Assist data usage figure can be reset manually at the beginning of a customer's phone service billing cycle.

While it won't prevent your data usage from skyrocketing without you knowing, at least it gives you a feel for any overage impact.

For its part, Apple says Wi-Fi Assist really shouldn't have a major impact - although some would disagree - because it doesn't switch to cellular data for bandwidth intensive activities. Wi-Fi Assist won't offload to cellular when roaming, for example, nor for downloading background content in apps or streaming audio / video content in third-party apps.