iOS 9's WiFi Assist and Monitoring Your Data Plan Usage

So, you read an article that went viral thanks to modern "Journalism" that was a copy of a copy of a paraphrased rip-off blog post about your iPhone or iPad titled something like "iOS 9 upgrade MIGHT be eating up your data plan, here's how to turn it off!"

Apple's new WiFi Assist toggle.

Apple's new WiFi Assist toggle.

Well, I've been using the My Verizon App for iOS for several months since adding my folks to our family plan and with 5 iOS LTE devices on my 4G LTE plan, you'd think I might notice a spike in use if this were true. Maybe we (users on my data plan) just stay close to really good WiFi hot-spot signals but this might have been slightly blown out of proportion by click-bait blog-posts latching on to a click-generating subject and re-posting it everywhere for iPhone users to panic over when reading.

Try Googling "WiFi Assist."

I read WIRED's post about this perceived issue but it points to no scientific facts to back up the perception. It does a great job of explaining the risk of the possible data usage but also goes nowhere with regard to explaining ways to monitor and manage Apps and data plan utilization. Also, I think that Apple opts users in by default is not the best-foot forward for something that puts its customers a risk of using more data than normal.

Apple's Support pages have a solid guide for limiting your iOS device's data usage by limiting certain Apps access to your Mobile data network (Note: Making changes to these settings will break application operations while away from WiFi, but most Apps will remind you that you have disabled access when you launch them on Cellular networks). I leave most games and utilities disabled and only allow them access when playing on WiFi. Did I also mention I think it is a bad idea to bury this setting at the bottom of the Apps list in that Cellular Settings page?

Cellular Settings in iOS 9.

Since we share 10G of data with my folks each month I have been paying close attention to the consumption of our bits more than normal in case we made the wrong choice in plans and need to lower or raise the data we contract with VzW to provide us.

Verizon's My Verizon Mobile iOS App will allow you very clear usage reports and reports it by phone number (Click the image to go to the iTunes Store and download).

You will need to create a My Verizon account online in order to use this App and allow it access to your Account profile. It doesn't ask for your credit card to force you to use the App for paying your bill or anything silly like that.

Here is the overall view of our shared data usage:

Data plan usage overview inside the App. You can also make this page the default landing page when launching the App.

Data plan usage overview inside the App. You can also make this page the default landing page when launching the App.

Swiping to the left will allow you to review each data plan user by mobile number, and get an overview of just the data use like below:

By Device.jpg

There is also a Notification Center Widget for your iOS device for quick usage check:

Now, when users log in to the My Verizon Wireless website portal the account owner data usage can be viewed alongside all users on the plan:

But the better analysis can be found by clicking on the left under "Analyze Usage" where you are taken to a new page with options to view and review consumption.

Below this section is the following section:

Below this section is the following section:

I noted upon my review why my data use spiked between June and August.

I noted upon my review why my data use spiked between June and August.

As my folks used LTE for all communications while they waited for their ISP to make the trip to install their link to the internet, they used quite a bit of data June and July. BUT, I also used quite a bit as I allowed Audible and Overcast use my LTE data plan to download content after my iPhone 6 Plus upgrade. (I have since disabled their ability to use LTE using the iOS 9 settings mentioned above).

There are plenty of Apps in the iOS App Store to assist you in monitoring your phone's data but I encourage you to use any of the mobile Apps your carrier provides. If third-party Apps are your thing, here's a site with a review of several paid and free Apps to do so. If you do use a third party App for this, just remember it will only report your device's data use and not your family's plan usage, which is very handy.

One of the most popular paid Apps is Dataman Pro for iPhone (Careful, it is $5.99 and you have to pay more for the iPad version, which means it is not Universal). It is very comprehensive while during set up it asked how much data you have used so far in this billing cycle and what date your billing cycle starts.

Screenshot of Dataman Pro for iPhone.

It too offers a clean Notification Center Widget:

This is after I entered all data used in my family plan but it will only monitor my device's data use after this initial set up.

I paid for this App thinking it would be useful and as it turns out I prefer the My Verizon App which was FREE! See if you might find your carrier's App below useful for tracking your usage and get a much better understanding of your real usage instead of wondering if you are impacted by this new iOS 9 feature. Be careful browsing out there!

  Details, Details, Details!


Details, Details, Details!

Do you use one of the Carrier's utilities to monitor your data usage?


On iCloud Security & User Responsibility

How safe is your digital life?


Celebrities File Lawsuit Against Google for Nude Picture Leaks

In retrospect of the ongoing celebrity nudie leak I'd like to know why the company who authored the alleged software the hackers were using - Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker, EPPB (allegedly used regularly by law enforcement is not being sued for allowing the software to be publicly accessed for questionable motives? Right, it was evidently written by a Russian firm.

How can Google be expected to comply with such a massive takedown notice? Why is Reddit not being named in the spread of these images accross the web? Might be too soon to say that, but it seems they should have been named first. I'd like to hope it is not been named in suit due to ongoing investigations by law enforcement.

Why would it not be locked down with a 256-bit (enter techie-propeller-speak here) uber-digit key and signed authority certificate before being abused so easily? Not only Apple or Google, but ANY company offering cloud storage should do a much better job of educating it's ecosystem users of the value of solid password generation and management:

Seems this might be abused more than publicized based upon the fact any law enforcement officers with access to this type of software would be prone to abuse. I doubt there is a prompt for a warrant ID or court authorizing code that is creating a pathway for oversight. Thinking back to the suburban Philly school district remotely enabling iSight cameras on student's Macs in 2010 - if the admin was required to enter some sort of code to enable this activity, the code would log the user and client info and be tracked and reviewed by someone with oversight authority.

How many users since iPhone 6 was released (over 10,000,000 per the PR reports) have clicked through the setup wizard and made mistakes with the security on their new shiny iCloud due to inexperience? Adding a Tips app to the OS is a start but there really should be more emphasis on security outside of enabling TouchID or forcing two-step authentication which is still opt in at this point.

The cloud provider is providing the "superhighway" and users need to be more educated before getting in the vehicles traveling upon this "superhighway."

Are the celebrities innocent? I think not, we must be held accountable for our personal decisions. I think the lawsuit is brought out of (family) shame and embarrassment, "someone has to pay for this." Celebrities are way easy targets, they live in "public" and they tweet photo of "Chickie the dog," inadvertently revealing possible password reset security answers. Why could they not take naked selfies the old fashion way? Using a Polaroid and placing them in a locking metal box under the bed with the 'toys' like our parents did?

Interesting to note only female celebs were exposed. Not many 15 year olds in their parent's basements are proactively efforting toward accessing iCloud backup pictures of Tom Cruise's junk.

So today we read about law enforcement having 'discussions' with Apple and Google over encryption of our data on our devices. and as long as the web speeds are fast and they do not pass laws like SOPA, we allow it to continue. "Who watches the Watchmen?" By creating the back door, providers risk access by those who do us harm in the name of those who want to protect. Who will be held accountable for the access by those who watch and prevent the ocasional abuse? But is not a warrantless search the worst abuse of all in our Republic?

When will we assert domain over our digital lives and privacy? How can we win the battle when the government uses big guns to force providers into compliance with their motives - Whether real or imagined threats, abuse will occur even with some sort of oversight. But considering the speeds in which the technology evolves, there is little time for oversight as the powers that be are slow to understand many of the concepts of said information evolutions. Just Say No to the cloud!

When will the first story of how an elected official was forced to support legislation because someone was able to tap into their digital life and threatened to expose them for something they rather keep private? "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" It may seem a bit to alarmist or sic-fi but this a real concern of mine, much more than some Hollywood flavor of the month exposing her privates making it into the public domain. Of course if it were my photos or those of my offspring, I'd be demanding millions of dollars too. Someone has to pay for that shame but we muggles have a small voice.

Per this guy, the celebs are innocent and have the right to keep those images private and the breach is a sex crime. I have no desire to share my thoughts on that aspect however I'm not sure that is in the ToS however, for any cloud provider.

Per Mr. Mendelson; "the issue is that these women have the absolute right and privilege to put whatever they want on their cell phones with the expectation that said contents will remain private or exclusive to whomever is permitted to see them just like their male peers."

There is no statement in any vendor's terms of service granting ANY user, male or female "expectation that said contents will remain private or exclusive". As a matter of fact, I'd bet it's almost the opposite. These "victims" feel as if they are above the Muggles and this guy is an apologist for their irresponsibility. "It is not Ms. Ritter’s or Ms. Dunst’s responsibility to protect their own property from theft."

WHAT? Your data's security is relative to how seriously you take that security. Unless there is a legal or non-legal entity out there deliberately hacking into your stuff. What provider is going to put verbiage the above in their Terms of Service, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Verizon, AT&T, Apple, Google, Yahoo?

I bring up again the possibilty of someone breaking into our parents home and stealing, then posting, the polaroid photos they had locked away. Our digital information needs the same level of protection our tangible information recieves.

Someone has to pay! Google will pay with money, probably via a large sum of money to a good charity. The rest of us will continue to pay with our own privacy and security, or lack thereof.

Gracie the Dog

Gracie died from canine lymphosarcoma. It is a very common (most) cause of death for Goldens. She was placed on a Steroid to lower the swelling but the biopsy reported "abnormal cells".

[She was a Golden, all of her cells are abnormally heart-shaped!]

She was a great companion, even on the days she was very bad because we let her be, unintentionally. She sat quietly in the background as each of the boys were brought home, never complaining about taking the back seat. She stopped jumping on the bed a few months ago which should have been a sign she was not doing well, she loved sleeping on Michelle’s legs at night. She’d wait until we were sleeping and hop up to steal the heat.

She’s was the best dog I have ever had in my life, and truly a gift. There really is no way to thank Frankie and Jeff and Ashleigh and Jarrod for her [she was really a gift from them].

She had a good life with us and she deserved far better than long drawn out “therapy” as the kids would have watched her slow decline. The cat was spending an unusual amount of time in her crate, sometime while she is in it already. This is very odd and sent us a signal that he sensed something was wrong or he knew she was in pain.

I shared a few pictures of her in our lives over the last 12 years. She was a good girl.

Her full registered name is Peyton's Princess Grace after her awesome father Peyton, the best dog I was lucky enough to meet before her.

Goodbye sweet girl.

Path Update:



 Last week I wrote about an issue I was experiencing with my favorite iOS App, Path. I emailed Path support with a link to more detail I temporarily posted with example images here on this page.

They followed up very soon after I submitted my bug with a request to update to newly released version 3.2.1. I did and I reported it was no help with the issue. 

 The next message only a day later was from the Path team explaining they had reproduced my issue, isolated the bug, and were happy to report the fix had been submitted to the App Store. 

I'm looking forward to it! 

Path is a Great App for capturing memories and sharing within your small circle of close friends. The latest version even has options even smaller group sharing. It's not just a social network, it's my social network. 

The photo enhancing effects users can use are great, Filters are available in the "Shop" for sale al a cart. If you like it as much as I do you can pay a small annual subscription fee to support the great team there AND have access to all the filters and stickers you want, all of them!

I hope you love it as much as I do. Path makes memories more memorable! In less than a year I have shared over 700 moments on Path. Users can choose to enable or disable location services or check in to favorite locations. The list of great features and enhancements is too long for me to list.

So go download it and use it. You will love it as much as I do. I promise. 


iPhone 5s & iOS 7

I cannot tell you how great a device this new iPhone is. It really does blow all its predecessors away, Apple or not. The Touch ID aspects alone are great if you are interested in that type of thing. Sure it's a gimmicky sounding feature until you use it!

A portion of my home screen.

A portion of my home screen.

I cannot tell you how awesome it is to unlock a device so effortlessly. And, yes, the guys at the office all had their rounds trying to bypass it. 

Just as last year while folks were lined up at the Apple Store, I walked right in to my local VzW store and picked up exactly the model I wanted. (Sorry, but not the Gold!) 

iPhone 5 & 5s boxes (Artsy angle)

iPhone 5 & 5s boxes (Artsy angle)

So you can imagine my mom's voice when I told her she could have the old 5. She is so excited and nervous to use it. I told her if she found the Galaxy S3 usable, this would be a breeze. I hope I'm right. One thing is certain, I won't have to listen to the moaning and groaning about iOS 7. She never knew iOS 6! 


I hope you are getting the most out of your iOS device, no matter the version of OS contained within its sweet exterior cover. 



Vegan Corn Bread

Vegan Corn Bread


2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1 cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup soy or almond milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions - Pre-heat oven to 350º Combine the applesauce and baking powder in a dish and set aside (the applesauce will foam up so be sure to use a dish with a little room for expansion). Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Pour the batter into a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish. Bake in preheated 350° oven for about 30 minutes or until the bread springs back when pressed by a fingertip near the center.

Source: (cut from a printed publication.)