Apple highlighted 5G support on the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro when it announced the new devices. It even redesigned the device internally to make space for the 5G components. However, using 5G on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro is not as straightforward and there’s a lot of things that you must know.
Don’t be deceived by the 5G icon showing up on your iPhone 12’s status bar as that does not paint a true picture as that does not mean your iPhone is actually connected to a 5G network. And even when you are on a 5G network, it is not necessary that your iPhone will take advantage of the higher download speeds offered by it. Below is everything you must know about using 5G on your iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, or iPhone 12 Pro.
Tips to Use 5G Properly on iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro
Get a 5G SIM Card
Just like you had to get a new SIM card when 4G networks first came around, you will need to get a new 5G SIM card. This will depend on your carrier, with many operators offering 5G-compatible SIM cards to their customers for quite some time now.
mmWave 5G Support Only In the US
Apple really hyped up 5G support on the iPhone 12 series when it unveiled the devices last month. However, only the U.S. variants of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro series support mmWave 5G, with the rest of the world units only supporting sub-6GHz 5G. What this means is that the amazing gigabit+ speeds over 5G will only be possible on the iPhone 12 variants in the United States. While the sub-6GHz iPhone 12 variants will also offer higher mobile data speeds than 4G networks, the speeds will still be slower than mmWave 5G.
Different 5G Icons
Depending on the network, your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro will display the following 5G icons: 5G, 5G+, and 5G UW. Below is what they mean:
5G E: If you are on AT&T’s network, you might see the 5G E icon. This is nothing but AT&T’s LTE network which the company is trying to deceive users into thinking of as 5G.
5G: Your iPhone can connect to your carrier’s sub-6GHz network. Verizon refers to its sub-6GHz network as 5G Nationwide. On this network, your iPhone will deliver download speeds faster than LTE but the difference will only be around 10-20%.
5G+: You will see this icon on your iPhone if you use it on AT&T’s network and this is the one that can offer gigabit+ download speeds. This icon will show up when AT&T’s mmWave network is available.
5G UW: This icon will show up if you are on Verizon’s network and its mmWave network is available. This network is available in limited areas but one that promises gigabit+ download speeds. By the end of 2020, Verizon says it will have its 5G UW network in 60 cities in the US. You will not see this icon on T-Mobile’s network as it only markets its 5G network with the 5G icon.
Disable 5G Auto
To preserve battery life, your iPhone will automatically switch to an LTE network unless it thinks you need the 5G speed. However, if you want, you can force your iPhone to always use a 5G network whenever it is available. This will lead to faster download speeds, though your iPhone 12’s battery life will take a hit.
If you want to maximize the battery life of your iPhone, you should disable 5G automatically. Simply select LTE and your iPhone will only connect to 4G networks.
Take Full Advantage of 5G Speeds
Even if your iPhone is connected to a 5G network, it will use your 5G data judiciously so as to not exhaust your monthly mobile data limit and to run down its battery in no time. If you wish to, however, you can set your iPhone to use more data on 5G. This will enable additional features like Full HD FaceTime video calls, HD content on Apple Music and Apple TV, and even the ability to download iOS updates over mobile data. The default option is “Standard” which limits video and FaceTime quality but allows for automatic updates and background tasks on cellular data.
On some carriers with 5G and unlimited data, your iPhone might automatically switch to the “Allow More Data on 5G” option, though some iPhones might automatically switch to it depending on the carrier settings. You can enable this option on your iPhone 12 by going to Settings -> Cellular -> Cellular Data Options and enable the ‘Allow More Data on 5G’ option under Data Mode.
No Dual SIM 5G
While the iPhone 12 series has dual SIM connectivity, it cannot connect to two 5G networks simultaneously. If you connect to two networks simultaneously on your iPhone, 5G Data won’t be supported on either line and your device will fall back to 4G. In China though, your iPhone 12 will connect to the 5G network on the line for which you have enabled mobile data. This feature should make its way to the iPhone 12 in other parts of the world with an upcoming iOS 14 update.