Google Fi Now Works With iPhones - But Its Coolest Feature Is Missing

Project Fi

Google announced today (Nov. 28) that it's opening up its wireless phone service to many more devices, including Apple's iPhones. Instead, if you want to sign up for Google Fi, those extra steps will be detailed within the iOS app as you go through the process of setting up service.

Unlimited calls and texts on Project Fi cost just $20 per month, and mobile data costs just $10 per gigabyte (GB). Crucially, the service is now (mostly) compatible with iPhones, and to celebrate the change, Google is rebranding the service to just Google Fi. But with Google Fi now widening its support, pretty much anyone who has bought a smartphone in the last two years should be able to take advantage of the service. If Wi-Fi coverage is not available or too weak, the network will then switch to US carriers T-Mobile, Sprint or US Cellular's networks. This gets you better, faster, less-congested coverage than you would get from any single one of these carriers.

The need to specifically alter a device for Fi's multi-carrier setup has meant that device support has been extremely limited. Fi's network switching depends on a combination of hardware and software found in select phones that Google has vetted, like the Pixel 3, LG G7 and Moto X4 Android One. iPhones and conventional Android devices don't have any of that, and as a result, on Fi they'll be restricted to either T-Mobile or Sprint depending on how they're wired.

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With today's announcement, however, none of the aforementioned issues should crop up anymore.

Google Fi is described as "a bill that's fair and flexible" on its official website, and that's true if you compare it to other U.S. carriers with purposely confusing plans and a long list of "incentives" with fine print. As for the LG phones, Google merely says,"You might be able to make calls or text over wi-fi". No matter what phone you use with Fi, you'll get great Fi features-like reliable coverage, easy group plans, and high speed global data coverage for the same rates you pay at home. For now, Google Fi for iOS is beta so things may get smoothed out for compatible devices in the coming months.

Officially supporting iPhones is particularly significant for Fi in the U.S, where tinkerers have always been experimenting with ways to get around Google's device restrictions, says Google product manager Dhwani Shah.