Where’s my iOS Wi-Fi Plus Cellular toggle?

By , Sep 25, 2012

Apple in early-August seeded iOS 6 Beta 4 to its registered developers. With it came a new feature in Settings, called Wi-Fi Plus Cellular. As Jeff explained in a lengthy post the following day, this toggle basically ensures that apps having trouble with WiFi can automatically switch over to cellular data. But why go implement and then remove this handy capability from iOS 6?

Apple has removed this switch from iOS 6 GM.

We were recently reminded about the removal (thanks, Maciek!) and today TUAW notes that Wi-Fi Plus Cellular is nowhere to be found under Settings > General > Cellular.

Some people took to Apple’s discussion forums to complain about the removal.

This is what it used to look like.

The way it was, the toggle was useful if you experienced flaky WiFi connections.

Using Wi-Fi Plus Cellular, you could tell the device to fall back to your carrier’s cellular data if WiFi started acting up. You no doubt are familiar with how WiFi connections in hotel rooms, web caffes and even certain home setups can crawl to a halt due to a bunch of reasons, ranging from issues with the router to high load to the Internet connection itself being really slow.

Maybe Apple figured this useful feature wasn’t up to its exacting standards of quality?

Perhaps Scott Forstall thought this capability needed more work, in which case a future software update should bring it back. Whatever Apple’s thinking might be, I’m sad to see the feature no longer available to the masses.

Or, as commenters noted, Apple may have been afraid that people might get confused. Someone could easily misunderstand how the toggle works, flip it on and wonder why their cell phone bill was ginormous.

Another example: some people may not even be aware that Apple Maps require network connectivity. With Wi-Fi Plus Cellular turned on and Flyover in Maps enabled, enjoying a 3D view of New York on a flaky WiFi connection could easily burn through one’s monthly cellular data allowance.

Be that as it may, Wi-Fi Plus Cellular was typical Apple: a handy addition to the strong iOS feature set which effectively solved a real problem.

It’s worth remembering that Apple often pulls features last minute, a good example being a hidden panorama mode in the iOS Camera, discovered last November.

Changing a few settings allowed owners of jailbroken devices to enable the panorama functionality ahead of its official iOS 6 debut.

This could be a similar case: I bet Apple just disabled the Wi-Fi Plus Cellular feature, leaving the code in place.

And now the ball is on our court.

What do you think, how long until a jailbreak tweak brings back this toggle?

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  • http://twitter.com/jlwood92 Josh Wood

    Typo ”
    is on longer found” Should be No :)

    • Liu Zhenyu

      Whoaaaa nice avatar! Anyway. Do you have a iPhone 5? iMessage me?

  • http://twitter.com/aligee97 Alex

    NOOOO, was so looking forward to using this on my iPhone 5 when it reaches me :(

    • http://twitter.com/Jack_maredit Jackson Grong

      Probably it will be improved and avilable on ios >.> >5.1< <.<

  • http://macsnider.de/ Michél

    I think it’s good that the feature is no longer there. For me it was broken in the beta. Also: How do you decide when to use the app instead of wifi 3G?

    • http://twitter.com/DenzelFrance Denzel

      Same here!

  • http://twitter.com/DenzelFrance Denzel

    I know that when I was testing iOS6 Beta the feature never worked for me… I would test it by unplugging my modem and it just never locked on to the cellular network. So it would just keep saying loading trying to use my Wi-Fi which said was still working but not…

  • http://twitter.com/unbeliever008 Jae. Just J. ©

    Yeah, cause Maps was so up to their exacting standards. Hope they do do an update and bring it back ASAP.

    • Liu Zhenyu

      I miss goggles maps

    • Liu Zhenyu

      I mean googles

  • http://twitter.com/SturmB Chris McGee

    I’m sure that this setting was pulled at the last minute because Apple was afraid people might get confused. I can see that a layperson would wonder why their cell phone bill was ginormous even though they thought all of their online activities took place over Wi-Fi, simply because the little icon in the corner only shows a Wi-Fi symbol.

    If Apple does re-implement this feature, then they will likely use a different symbol for the status bar to show the user that the phone is switching from Wi-Fi to Cellular data. It may even—though I hate to think about it—throw a pop-up to warn the user each time the phone switches to Cellular so that they don’t use up their monthly allotment of Cellular data unwittingly.

    • seyss

      Yes I had the same thoughts.. Apple thinks most ppl are technically-dumb

      • http://twitter.com/unbeliever008 Jae. Just J. ©

        Agreed. We are so stupid we can’t eat without Apple telling us we are hungry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000078529249 Donovan Davis

    No that you’ve said it I see plist hack coming soon for all users including nonjailbreak iPhones including the 5 it just takes a bit of clever trickery and a true instead of false setting. Once the plist code is located. Happy hacking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Olba/100002685019662 Tony Olba

    It’s a double edged sword. Apple is doing this to thwart hackers/jailbreakers to find vulnerabilities for them. Until hackers give up (or give in) to Apple. Take a look at iconic P0sixninja leaving the scene as well as pod2g for not having any intention of jailbreaking iOS 6. Apple always wins in the last round.

    • Matthew Agostino

      Yea until some new genius prodigy 12 year old finds his own security hole and a whole new generation “scene” forms.

  • http://twitter.com/br3akth3lim1t Nathan Barnett

    On a jailbreak it may possibly can be enabled with wifi-plus with boolean true in the springboard plist. That’s just my guess.

  • http://twitter.com/S_Lacertosa Stefano

    These are the little things apple removes, for when a jailbreak comes out… Boom!, here’s your update with wifi plus cellular, we forgot to add it.

  • Appletiser

    Apple probably removed the hidden panorama mode because they wanted it as a key feature for the iPhone5 launch and were pissed that a hacker had discovered it :)

    • haridsv

      Well said! I think Apple does give features in a calculate manner, to basically figure out with how little they can get away with.. sort of like, why should they work hard and try to better (or even match) competition if consumers would buy anyway?

      • Appletiser

        but that’s technology as a whole though, not just with Apple. most, if not all, companies, in whatever sector they’re in, trickle down improvements to their products / devices as incentives to get folk to buy the latest variant. it would be wrong not to believe that Apple have plans and ideas way in advance of even the next iPhone release, it’s how the industry evolves.

    • Appletiser

      i admire folk who don’t get sarcasm or cynicism and thumb down a casual comment. i can only guess it’s based on ignorance and fanboyism :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/renmarcserrano Ren Marc Serrano

    has anyone brought up the fact that we can not search the internet or do anything that requires data usage while being on LTE. this includes the fact that we can not even use facetime over celluar data because of this restriction as well. not sure if its an apple thing or my provider AT&T.

    • Liu Zhenyu

      I want the iPhone 5 soooooooo badly! Not sure which carrier tho

  • Daniel Nadeau

    Has anyone actually done testing to make sure that Apple didn’t just turn this feature on and display the cell data logo when it deems wifi isn’t working? I would test but I’m out on business. Easiest way would be to unplug the WAN connection on your router and see what the iPhone does when you try to access the web

    • Liu Zhenyu

      Hi Daniel. Cute pic. Do you like boys?

  • Alfonso Viñuales

    I was waiting for this, and the switch for streaming itunes match. Where does this feature go?

  • Falk M.

    People, just buy decent routers and you don’t need such halfa**ed approaches anymore. :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.levitt.5 Matt Levitt

    Did a jailbreak tweak ever come
    out to cover this missing feature? I would really like to take advantage of it for using AirPlay mirroring of my phone to an Apple TV in my car