Turn on/off 5G iPhone: optimize for battery or speed

Turn on/off 5G iPhone: optimize for battery or speed

5G the cellular service is rolling out to all carriers and works with the iPhone 12, 13, 14 and SE 3. Apple uses the “5G Auto” setting as the default setting, which aims to give users a balance between network speed and battery life. But you can also manually manage the settings to optimize them for what you need at any given time. Follow how to turn on/off 5G on iPhone.

If you are curious what kind of 5G performance you will see with your iPhone, it will vary depending on where you live and your carrier. In the US, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have 5G available nationwide, and peak speeds can reach over 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps), however, this won’t be the norm for most.

But the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are quite a bit faster for mobile speeds:

There are several types of 5G. mmWave offers the highest speeds but has a rather limited range and Sub-6Ghz 5G which has better range but speeds closer to 4G LTE. And only the iPhone 12, 13 and 14 support mmWave and 5G below 6GHz.

However, one drawback of 5G is that it uses more battery than LTE. Some tests have shown The iPhone lasts 1-2.5 hours longer when stuck on 4G LTE versus 5G.

Default setting for iPhone 5G

5G is turned on by default with compatible iPhones, but it won’t be used permanently (even if it’s available). It uses what Apple calls “Smart Data mode” which tries to automatically achieve the best balance between 5G/LTE and battery life. Apple even says takes into account your data plan:

The default 5G settings on iPhone are optimized for battery life and data usage based on your data plan. You can adjust these options when to use 5G and how much data to use in some applications.

However, within Cellular Settings, you can choose to turn 5G on/off on iPhone manually to optimize speed or battery life.

How to turn on/off 5G on iPhone

  1. Go to Settings app on your iPhone (5G available on iPhone 12, 13 and SE 3)
  2. Touch Cellular
  3. Choose Mobile data options
  4. Touch Voice and data
  5. With 5G Auto as the default, you can choose 5G on to use it whenever it is available for higher speeds
  6. Alternatively, if you want to turn off 5G completely, tap LTE for better battery life

You can also tap Data Mode in the mobile network settings and select Allow more data on 5G for better video streaming and things like FaceTime. and vice versa, Low Data Mode when you want to save.

Here’s what it looks like:

Turn On/Off 5G iPhone Guide 1
Turn 5G on/off on iPhone 2

Turn 5G on/off: what is this icon?

Along with different types of 5G service (sub-6Ghz, mmWave, etc.) Apple has four different icons in the iPhone status bar to indicate what you’re using (whether you turn on 5G manually or use 5G Auto/Smart Data mode).

Verizon uses 5G UW to denote mmWave and other high-frequency 5G connections, AT&T uses 5G+, and T-Mobile labels it 5G UC (ultra capacity). If you see a plain “5G” in the status bar, that’s a signal that you’re on the lower spectrum (greater range and coverage, comparably slower speeds).

Note: The iPhone SE 3 is not compatible with mmWave 5G service, only below 6GHz. iPhone 12, 13 and 14 support mmWave and sub-6GHz.

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