If you’re on Project Fi, but haven’t updated with the the February patch, or if you may be considering Project Fi, but have been wondering about a few negative posts on various tech forums about Wifi Assistant: It’s not a technical issue. As of February 1, Google shut off Wifi Assistant as a safety precaution against a wifi vulnerability in the Nexus 6 and 6P.
UPDATE (2/23/16): Google has updated Project Fi users with the following statement:
“We are pleased to announce that due to the increase in adoption of the February Security patch, Wi-Fi Assistant is now safe to use again and we will start enabling Wi-Fi Assistant back out to users today. Because of the phased nature of the rollout, it may take up to a week for your device to become re-enabled. We thank you for your patience during this period when Wi-Fi Assistant has been disabled. We’ve received considerable feedback from the community about how to improve our communications and approach to this and will use that to improve our processes should an event like this occur again in the future.”
Those Project Fi customers who bought either of those devices directly from Google received the following email:
Android security update for your Project Fi phone
We’re reaching out with a friendly reminder to install the latest Android Security Update on your Project Fi phone.
Why this update is important
This update will improve the security of your Nexus device with the February 2016 Android Security patch.
One element of the patch addresses a Wi-Fi software vulnerability on the Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P. We have had no reports of any active exploits of this issue, but we recommend installing the update to help secure your phone.
How to install
On your phone, you should see a “System update downloaded” notification. Tap to open the notification and then tap “RESTART & INSTALL” at the bottom.
As an additional precaution, we’ve also taken the step of temporarily disabling Wi-Fi Assistant. We’ll bring it back as soon as we see that most Project Fi devices have the latest security patch installed.
Learn more about the security update. If you need help, we’re available 24/7 by phone, chat, or email.
–The Project Fi team
Although I didn’t get my Nexus 6 direct from Google, there was plenty of chatter about it in the Project Fi support community on Google+. Some of it complaining about the February patch not having arrived quickly enough, some wondering why Wifi Assistant wasn’t working right, and some explaining what was going on. I got my patch on February 5th, but I’m still seeing comments that Wifi Assistant still isn’t working as expected. Most places I go, I already have Wifi links I log into. I’m not noticing a lack of Wifi Assistant. But lots of people are. So, to protect your device and to make your fellow Fi-ans happier, make sure you grab the patch, if you haven’t already.