You Shouldn’t Turn on Wi-Fi Calling When You Have “Wi-Fi Sensitivity”, Whatever That Is


You Shouldn’t Turn on Wi-Fi Calling When You Have “Wi-Fi Sensitivity”, Whatever That Is

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity outside of “Just Call Saul”

Photo by Karlis Reimanis on Unsplash

Some people think that they “feel” Wi-Fi signals. They don’t; double blind tests have shown that these folks have no idea if Wi-Fi is on or off. Their guesses are no better than random chance.

That doesn’t mean they are making it up. They might be unconsciously reacting to flickering fluorescent lights, noises slightly above or below what their brain notices, faint odors, or just too much of the every day stress that most of us have. It’s just not Wi-Fi that is doing it.

Does it matter? Something is making them uncomfortable and they think it’s Wi-Fi or electricity in general. They are losing convenience in their lives, but that’s their business.

At an Apple Store

I worked at an Apple retail store for a bit after I retired. I sometimes had customers tell me things like that. I just kept my mouth shut and helped them get whatever thing they needed that didn’t involve Wi-Fi.

Funny thing about Apple stores: the ceiling is full of Wi-Fi hotspots. How many depends on how big the store is, but the store I was at had at least six and there were more in the lunchroom, offices, and stock rooms. You are showered in Wi-Fi at an Apple store. Some of it is locked up for the employees use and some is open for customers. Quite a few customers will have reason to connect their phones to that Wi-Fi while in the store and when they return on another day, their phones will usually reconnect.

Which means that all those customer phones are splattering Wi-Fi all over the store as well. That shower is a torrential rainstorm. If anyone truly had Wi-Fi sensitivity/electromagnetic hypersensitivity, an Apple store should put them on their knees grimacing in pain.

Which is why I was amused by a tale I heard from a friend who still works at Apple.

Bad Connections

Apparently a customer had come in looking for help with poor iPhone connections. The same customer mentioned something about their Wi-Fi sensitivity before being seen by the tech who would help determine what might be done about the poor connections.

Another employee overheard all this and offered a suggestion that might help with poor connections: Wi-Fi Calling.

Wi-Fi Calling is a feature of IOS that is supported by some carriers. It’s something you can turn on in Settings->Cellular. If your carrier offers it, you just need to turn it on. Some offer it as part of your cell plan, others may want money, and some don’t have it at all.

With this enabled, if your phone sees that its Wi-Fi connection is better than the cell tower, it will switch to using Wi-Fi to send your calls to the carrier. In turn, the carrier will route incoming calls to you through Wi-Fi. It’s all transparent; it just magically works. I’ve used it for years with AT&T and T-Mobile at our home because the cell service right here is very weak. With Wi-Fi Calling, I have no problems.

The employee quickly realized what you are probably thinking yourself: Customer who says they have Wi-Fi sensitivity, check, Wi-Fi Calling, duh, no bueno! I think he or she likely suddenly remembered something very important in another part of the store!

Other allergies

Some people really do have nickel allergies. Other people have sensitivity to acrylates and methacrylates used in many glues. Apple Watches can have both those potential irritants and I did have customers who were very disappointed to read Apple’s page that explains the presence of these.

Straight up, no dust

But the worst experience I had was with a customer who wanted a screen protector for his phone.

I’m not a fan of screen protectors to begin with, but customers want them, and you know: the customer is always right. So I ordered his protector from the stock room.

Now, the rule for screen protectors was that you had to charge the customer before putting the protector on their phone. This meant that if something went wrong with the application, as it certainly can, we had to refund the money, return the bad protector, get another, and use the credit we had just issued to pay for it.

If we didn’t do that, inventory would be off. It would have been smarter to have the stock room collect all screens gone awry and account for their loss that way, but nope, we had to do it the long way. This became particularly irksome when we had runs of defective screens, which did happen more than it should have.

The Belkin Machine

Because putting a screen protector on straight can be tricky, we used a machine that Belkin designed for their protectors. It did a pretty good job of lining everything up with no particular skill required from us.

Well, except that employees sometimes dropped the machines and they got a bit out of wack from being whacked.

So sometimes you’d put on three “bad” screens before trying another machine which would fix it.

So back to this customer. I put his phone and the Belkin protector in the machine after cleaning the phone very carefully. I always did this anyway, but this customer had made noises about dust under the screen, so I made a point of showing him how I finished the cleaning with the phone upside down so that no dust could fall on it as I put it in the machine. I did the smooth yank that separated the gummy part of the protector and voila, the job was done.

And it was dust free. The customer picked it up and thanked me profusely, exclaiming that he had never seen such care taken and that he was so impressed!

But.. it wasn’t straight.

I couldn’t argue that. The machine had put it on more crookedly than usual. It doesn’t matter because the protection does not go all the way to the edge of the phone’s screen; most people wouldn’t have noticed or cared. But the customer is always right, so I returned it, ordered another, and did it again.

This time was much better. But my customer didn’t agree. So.. I did it again and it still wasn’t perfect in his eyes.

I don’t remember how many times we repeated this process. It was enough to realize that neither I nor the Belkin machine could make this man happy. He wanted unattainable perfection.

I told him it was as perfect as it could be, but he wanted it done yet again. I called over a manager, explained what was going on, and let him decide.

Sigh. The manager thought I was doing it wrong. There is no wrong: there is one way to load the machine, one way to activate the application of the screen. If you did it “wrong”, it would have messed up completely.

But the manager decided called over someone else to try it. Fine with me, I’d had enough of this silly game. But this upset the customer because..

Because of the dust. Remember how happy he was about my perfectionism in avoiding dust? Yeah, that. He didn’t want somebody else putting a dust particle under his screen protector.

It was past my shift anyway, so I punched out. I don’t know what finally happened with Mister Straight No Dust.

I think screen protectors are nonsense anyway.

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