What’s the AT&T Smart WiFi app and how does it work?
This outing sees the IAG return to one of their favorite tech punching bags, AT&T aka ” The Death Star.” Remember. So, if you have a “thing” that uses knavish apps to connect to WiFi hotspots, you can answer the question: “What is AT&T smart WiFi?”
This is how AT&T Smart WiFi works… Sometimes
AT&T’s Smart WIFI is an app that acts as a connection manager on a mobile device. It’s a free app (and AT&T should be proud of their customers who offer something for nothing), that automatically finds and connects to a hotspot.
This Android app, which is not available for iOS, also tracks the times that a user has missed connecting to hotspots. It compiles a list for later review. These connections can be added to the account for future use if desired. The app also provides real-time WiFi data as well as cellular usage.
The AT&T Smart WiFi application lets users use WiFi instead of cellular when it works correctly. We have already explained in our article how to reduce data roaming costs that WiFi is not counted against a subscriber’s data allowance. However, the user can use WiFi instead of 3G and as long as they manually turn off cellular data via the settings on their mobile device.
AT&T Smart WiFi will connect automatically to hotspots if the Android WiFi toggle is turned on. If the toggle is off, your phone will search for cellular signals. If your phone has many background apps, it will soon exhaust your monthly data allowance.
This gives a concise overview of the app’s features.
This visual shows you how to find hotspots using the AT&T Smart Wi-Fi app
AT&T Smart Wi-Fi and Accessibility Services
Visit AT&T’s Smart WiFi App page on Google Play. The reader will notice at the bottom: “…uses accessibility service.” What is this?
Many Android apps provide “accessibility services,” which enable disabled users to use their mobile devices with greater functionality and ease. Google has made it a default feature for a number of them, including the speech-to-text screen reader and Brailleback.
It sounds great, right? Rogue developers made malicious accessibility apps for Android using a “toast attack ” that “displays(s) images or buttons over what should be shown to steal personal data or lockout users completely from their devices.”
AT&T, like many other app developers, used accessibility services in ways that were not intended or foreseen. Google has since tightened Android’s APIs to increase cyber protection against such attacks.
Toast overlay attacks are not possible with newer Android versions. Be aware if you are using an older Android platform like Nougat (7.0), or earlier.
Are you a “Smart WiFi” AT&T App Bloatware?
There are many stories on the Internet about AT&T smart WiFi from years ago.
One 2012 user reported that the app crashed repeatedly, erased hotspot definitions, and left WiFi off. This caused the unfortunate to accidentally use 1 gigabyte of data.
Others have reported that the app can drop WiFi at home and/or try to connect to their neighbor’s open WiFi network. If the device is unable to connect to WiFi, the app will automatically revert to cellular, unless disabled.
Many AT&T customers consider the “Smart WiFi” app bloatware to be unacceptable and should be disabled or removed as soon as possible. Bloatware slows down your device’s performance and ties up its storage space ( RAM).
Background apps such as Smart WiFi can monopolize resources, using valuable data and battery power. You can disable them or remove them from your device to stop them from receiving updates and running in the background. This further reduces your device’s resource consumption.
Smart WiFi can manage your phone’s WiFi settings. However, your phone can also do this. We send to Tomsguide.com to get the latest information on how to keep this app on your phone.
“… Although you might not be able to access a few AT&T hotspots when you disable your device, this app isn’t something you should keep.
More Consumer Concerns about AT&T’s Smart Wi-Fi
It is a remarkable irony that many users who download Smart WiFi apps find their data usage increasing.
AT&T customers reported that the app was downloaded to a Samsung Galaxy S2 and used 1.4 G data in less than 24 hours.
App updates can also change the app configurations, which is often done without user knowledge. A few users have reported cases where they thought they were using WiFi, only to find out after receiving a large bill from AT&T that it was 4G. Even though the WiFi icon appears on the phone’s screen, this is still a problem.
Another user reported that the “Mobile Data Access” feature causes app functionality to be confused. This is because the WiFi connection is cut off when you enable the feature. It was necessary to perform a factory reset ( gasp!), to get it to work.
Rapid draining of battery power is another complaint. Subscribers report time and again that their largest user of monthly cellular data was the app. Battery life will be affected if the user doesn’t know about this leakage.
Smart Limits is another AT&T app that appears to be useful. It limits data usage and texts as well as direct-billed purchases. It can block unwanted calls and texts, and limit phone usage according to the time of day. The app costs $4.99 per month unless you have ten lines. If that happens, bulk pricing is available at $9.99.
The “MyAT&T app, which is available for iOS and Android, tracks data usage, and manages addons, is a reasonable alternative to Smart WiFi. Subscribers can also view and pay their AT&T bills online through the app.
The WiFiMap app, which can be used with iOS and Android, is still the best WiFi finder in the world. It also offers a free VPN. Why should you use AT&T’s Smart WiFi app? We’ll wait …. for the answer.