What 5G Means for Apple’s iPhone 12

Apple iPhone 12 colorsApple

All iPhone 12 The models support 5G. Although some Android phones support 5G, this is the first Apple to release phones that support 5G. So, are super-fast speeds available everywhere? And what does 5G mean for battery life? We will break it down.

Which iPhones have 5G?

All iPhone 12 models support 5G. IPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Max all include support for 5G.

Future iPhones will likely all support 5G. However, older iPhones such as iPhone 11, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and iPhone X do not support 5G. This feature requires new hardware inside the iPhone and cannot be added through a software update.

Note that only US models of the iPhone 12 will have hardware support for millimeter wave (mmWave).

How fast is 5G?

5G speeds are more complicated than you might think. Indeed, 5G includes several variants.


The fastest and most fashionable version of 5G uses Millimeter wave technology (mmWave) to deliver blazingly fast speeds. When someone says 5G can deliver speeds of over 4.0 Gbps under “ideal conditions,” they’re talking about millimeter waves.

Here’s the problem: millimeter wave technology is at close range. In dense urban areas, it may be worthwhile to install the necessary number of base stations for wide coverage, and millimeter waves can provide high speeds.

But millimeter wave base stations will not be covered everywhere by 5G. Small towns and the countryside would need many more base stations deployed closer to each other. Realistically, the cost of this deployment means 5G in most small towns, rural areas and suburbs is unlikely to come close to the fastest speeds promised. They will get a “sub-6” 5G which is more similar to 4G LTE.

That’s not to say 5G is bad. 5G adds additional midband spectrum which should extend service somewhere faster to rural areas covered by slower low band service under 4G LTE. 5G is expected to make cellular data at today’s speeds more prevalent and more reliable.

5G is an upgrade – and it allows very fast speeds under ideal circumstances with densely placed cellular base stations – but those super-fast 5G speeds aren’t about to emerge all over the country.

Another problem: In some cases, 5G networks have shown slower speeds than 4G LTE networks. In September 2020, a PCMag test found that AT & T’s 5G network was slower than its 4G LTE network in almost all of the cities tested. This is a result of how AT&T chose to roll out 5G and can be corrected by mobile carriers, but it shows how upgrading to 5G is not necessarily an improvement in 2020.

RELATED: Not all 5G are created equal: millimeter wave, low band and mid band explained

Will 5G drain your iPhone battery?


One of the reasons iPhones probably haven’t included 5G in the past – besides the fact that mobile carriers need more time to build their 5G networks – is that they can use more. battery power.

Apple says the iPhone’s antennas will automatically switch between 4G LTE and 5G modes to save battery. When your iPhone doesn’t need 5G, it will use 4G LTE. When 5G speeds help, your iPhone will switch to 5G. This is called “smart data mode”.

We expect Apple to have waited until the technology matures and the iPhone battery life does not decrease due to 5G.

Where is 5G available?

If you are wondering where 5G service is available, you can check your mobile provider’s website. For example, AT&T, T Mobile, and Verizon all have 5G coverage cards. You can zoom in and view the color-coded map to see what your mobile carrier reports is available in your area.

Keep in mind that most maps just show where 5G is available. They often don’t indicate where fast millimeter wave 5G is available. Most of the 5G coverage shown on the map will be mid-band and low-band 5G.

Verizon is exceptionally transparent to other cellular carriers here. Verizon calls its 5G millimeter wave capability “5G Ultra Wideband” and displays the areas that support 5G Ultra Wideband on its card. For example, if you look at the Verizon map of 5G coverage in Los Angeles, you will see 5G Ultra Wideband (millimeter wave) available on some city blocks, but not in most of the city.

Verizon map of 5G coverage in Los Angeles

You can search for “millimeter wave 5G” and the name of your mobile operator or city to see if your carrier has announced if it is available in your city.

Will you have to pay extra for 5G?

While you definitely need a 5G phone to take advantage of 5G, you probably won’t have to pay extra for 5G service. Major carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon offer 5G service as part of their standard cellular plans.

Verizon planned to charge an additional $ 10 per month for 5G network access, but ended this plan as of August 2020. We are not aware of any major mobile operator in the United States charging additional fees for 5G.

However, if you have an MVNO things can be more limited. For example, from August 2020, Wireless cricket Only offers 5G if you are using a Samsung Galaxy S20 + 5G and paying for an unlimited data plan. Contact your mobile carrier or check their website for more information on 5G support.

Should you care about 5G?

Long-term, 5G is a big upgrade. Cellular data can be much faster in dense urban areas and stadiums, for example. If millimeter wave base stations are deployed more widely, 5G could even transform your home internet connection. Speeds similar to 4G LTE are expected to become more prevalent and reliable, even in less dense areas.

In the short term, most people are probably not close enough to mmWave base stations to see these fast speeds. Worse yet, 5G networks take longer and can be slower than their 4G counterparts. Hopefully the iPhone will be smart enough to use 4G LTE networks when they are faster than 5G networks.

Apple’s release of a 5G iPhone is an important step. 5G is the future, and mobile carriers will start to get even more serious about it with so many iPhone users taking advantage.

But, at the end of 2020, is 5G a must? Well not really. Not for most people.

Here’s the good news: all iPhone 12 models support 5G and all support millimeter wave (mmWave) technology. If you upgrade to a new iPhone, you get 5G support, and those 5G networks will get better the longer you keep your iPhone.

But if you’re happy with your iPhone and are planning to switch to 5G only, we don’t recommend it. 5G still needs more time to be of real benefit to most people.

Of course, if you live in a dense urban area next to mmWave compatible base stations, maybe a 5G compatible iPhone would be a nice upgrade! But most people are not in this situation.

RELATED: What is 5G and how fast will it be?

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