The beta version of iOS 9 is currently available for anyone who wants to try it out, and Apple continues to add new features ahead of its official launch in the fall (presumably in September with the new iPhones). The most recent addition to the iOS 9 feature set is called Wi-Fi Assist, and it’s going to make life much easier for iPhone owners who spend a lot of their time using rather flaky Wi-Fi connections.
Here’s the scenario: You’re happily using a Wi-Fi connection which suddenly drops out or goes out of range (not an uncommon event if you’re away from home) and your iPhone doesn’t know what to do about it — you have to disable Wi-Fi or find a new network manually. With Wi-Fi Assist switched on, the iPhone falls back on a cellular connection automatically, so you don’t have to stop whatever it is you’re doing.
If you’re already running iOS 9 and you’ve upgraded to the most recent beta 5 version of the software, head to the Settings app and open the Cellular menu to find the Wi-Fi Assist toggle — obviously you will incur data download charges if you switch it on, but you do get a warning on screen before your iPhone makes the switch. If you don’t have much data allowance left you might find it easier to just switch to another Wi-Fi network.
For more on the new software heading to iOS devices, read our comprehensive hands-on with iOS 9. Among the new features coming down the pipe are a Split View mode for multitasking on an iPad, a new app called News for reading updates from your favorite publications, more proactive features inside Siri and a big upgrade for the Notes app. Another native app getting extra functionality is Apple Maps — iOS 9 brings public transit directions to the app for the first time.