New feature on Apple’s latest operating system could be costing you a bundle

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- While Apple iPhones continue to sell like hotcakes, there's a new concern for users of the world’s most popular mobile device.

One of the new features in the phone's latest operating system is presenting problems, some of which could cost you a bundle.

It's called WiFi Assist, and unless it's used carefully, it could run your bill sky-high. That's one of several problems users are experiencing with iOS 9, Apple’s latest operating system for mobile devices.

FOX 4 News’ resident tech expert, Burton Kelso, recommends you simply turn it off. Kelso says it's an easy mistake to make, forgetting to turn off WiFi Assist, but failure to do so could get expensive.

“If you're in an area that has weak WiFi, it will automatically switch to your data plan,” Kelso said.

WiFi Assist is meant to help users who often use social media or stream video, helping ensure there won't be interruptions in their signal. However, if your cellular plan doesn't carry unlimited data, prepare to pay for the data you play.

“Apps like Facebook and Twitter are constantly downloading data to those apps, so even opening Facebook once or twice per day within a month, you could find yourself with an expensive data bill,” Kelso warned.

That could add hundreds to your monthly bill, as most cell carriers no longer offer unlimited data. Kelso says the solution is simple, just disable WiFi Assist.

Here’s how to do it:

  • On your iPhone home screen, go to SETTINGS.
  • Under settings, touch CELLULAR.
  • Then, scroll to the bottom past all of your phone’s apps. iOS 9 users will have an entry marked WI-FI ASSIST.
  • Touch the green button to disable WI-FI ASSIST.

Apple officials have publicly acknowledged several problems within the iOS9 operating system.

Alice Wheeler from Harrisonville says she downloaded the latest update to her iPhone, and it rendered her gadget temporarily useless.

“(The screen) is just white and that's all it would do,” Wheeler said. ”That's what it did today too. It locked up again.”

In Wheeler's case, she says Apple Store employees helped her do a hard reset on her phone.

Kelso also reminds phone users keep a working knowledge of their cellular contract terms. He says many people believe they have an unlimited data plan, when they're actually paying for overages.