The 5G mode on the iPhone 12 models lends super-fast internet speed, but it also strains your battery & can eat up your data quota. Thankfully, Apple incorporates a ‘Smart Data Mode’ to balance network speed and battery life. Furthermore, you can also manage the setting manually according to your preferences. Let me show you how you can turn On/Off 5G on iPhone 12 series.
iPhone 12 Default 5G Settings
By default, an Auto 5G mode is enabled on the iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro & 12 Pro Max. The setting is optimized for battery life and data usage based on your data plan.
Dubbed as the Smart Data Mode, it will automatically switch between 5G and LTE as per available network and usage needs. While quite wise of Apple, 5G is not yet readily available everywhere.
So, you might want to change 5G settings manually to save both juice and data.
How to Turn 5G ON or OFF on iPhone 12 Series
Launch the Settings app and tap on Cellular/Mobile Data.
Here, select Cellular Data Options and then Voice & Data
(For Dual SIM: Settings → Cellular/Mobile Data and choose the number whose options you want to change → Voice & Data)
Now, you have got three options to choose from
5G Auto: By default, it enables Smart Data mode and auto switched to LTE in the poor network to save battery life
5G On: When you choose this option, you can to use it 5G anytime whenever available, might reduce battery life
LTE: If you wish to turn off 5G completely, select LTE, it will only use the LTE network.
If you are in an area with limited 5G availability, the LTE option is better for saving battery. When the battery is not your top concern, and you need speed, 5G could be the right option.
5G Cellular Data Mode
In the Settings app → Cellular → Cellular Data Options
Tap on Data Mode and select from these three available options:
Allow More Data on 5G: Apps and system tasks consume more cellular data for an enhanced quality & definition.
Standard: Generally, the default mode on cellular. It allows standard quality settings, automatic updates, and background tasks.
Low Data Mode: Reduces data usage on Wi-Fi and cellular by limiting background tasks and pausing automatic updates.
Notably, the first option could be the default setting if you have unlimited data plans. So do check data mode if your iPhone 12 battery is draining too fast, as this might be the culprit.
5G roaming support is quite limited, and your device might shift to LTE networks if Data Roaming is turned on. You can choose to enable or disable the setting accordingly.
Settings → Cellular → Cellular Data Options → Toggle ON/off tab opposite Data Roaming.
Now that we have understood how to manage the 5G settings in iPhone 12, it is time to read and understand the 5G icons Apple uses to indicate the network.
What are the 5G Icons in the iPhone Status Bar?
Depending upon the carriers, you may be using different versions of 5G, sub-6Ghz, mid to high-spectrum, or mmWave. Apple employs three icons to illustrate the current setting on the status bar.
5G: This denotes that a lower spectrum of 5G network is available via your carrier.
5G+: Higher frequency version of 5G is available via your carrier.
5G UW: Shows up when mmWave and other high-frequency 5G connections are available.
When you are under 5G coverage, and the 5G cellular plan is activated, these status bar icons will prop up. Regardless of the setting, whether the 5G is turned to Auto, On, or LTE.
The iPhone 12 series sports up to 20 5G and 32 LTE bands, which lends you extensive coverage worldwide. However, the world is not fully ready yet, and you won’t get 5G everywhere.
Thus these manual settings to enable or disable 5G and status bar icons would come in super-handy to ensure the best experience while saving data and battery.
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A self-professed iGeek who loves to explore all things Apple. I thoroughly enjoy discovering new hacks, troubleshooting issues, and finding and reviewing the best products and apps currently available. My expertise also includes curating opinionated and honest editorials. If not this, you might find me surfing the web or listening to audiobooks.