How and why to enable Wi-Fi Assist on iOS 9

Learn what this new feature does and how to turn it on.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops | Desktops | All-in-one PCs | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms
Matt Elliott

For me and my iPhone ways, Wi-Fi Assist is a small but most appreciated part of iOS 9. During the summer months, I like to take my dog for a walk and listen to a few innings of the Cincinnati Reds on the MLB.com At Bat app. Because my iPhone clings to the weakening Wi-Fi signal in my house as I walk down the street, I have to wait about a half a block before my iPhone drops the Wi-Fi connection and I can begin listening to the voice of the Reds, Marty Brennaman.

With iOS 9 and Wi-Fi Assist, my iPhone gives up the Wi-Fi ghost earlier and I get to Marty's call a half a block earlier. Instead of hanging on to the bitter end, Wi-Fi Assist will tell your iPhone to switch over to a cellular connection when it deems Wi-Fi connectivity to be poor. It's a seamless and effective way to drop a weak-to-the-point-of-being-useless Wi-Fi signal.

To enable Wi-Fi Assist, head to Settings > Cellular and scroll down to the bottom of the page where you'll see Wi-Fi Assist. The setting should be enabled by default, but tap the toggle switch to turn it on if it's not.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

For more, see our complete guide to iOS 9.