Turn iPhone 5G On/Off: Optimizing Battery or Speed


5G cellular is expanding across all carriers and works with the iPhone 12, 13, 14, and SE 3. Apple uses the “5G Auto” setting as the default that aims to give users a balance between network speed and battery life. But you can also manually manage the settings to optimize what you need at a particular moment. Follow along with us to learn how to turn 5G on/off on iPhone.

If you’re concerned about the type of 5G performance you’ll see with your iPhone, it will vary depending on where you live and your carrier. In the US, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile all have a nationwide 5G network and maximum speeds can reach over 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps), however, that won’t be the norm for most people .

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

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

However, one downside of 5G is that it uses more battery than LTE. Some tests have shown that the iPhone lasts 1-2.5 hours longer when sticking to 4G LTE versus 5G.

iPhone 5G default setting

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 automatically tries to strike the best balance between 5G/LTE and battery life. Apple even says it takes into account your data plan:

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

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

How to turn 5G on/off on iPhone

  1. Go to Settings app On your iPhone (5G available on iPhone 12, 13 and SE 3)
  2. Faucet cellular
  3. Choose Cellular data options
  4. Faucet Voice and data
  5. With 5G Auto as the default option, you can choose 5G playback To use it anytime it’s available for higher speeds
  6. Alternatively, if you want to turn 5G off completely, tap LTE For better battery life

You can also tap Data mode in Cellular settings and choose Allow more data on 5G For higher quality video for streaming and things like FaceTime. and vice versa, Low data mode when you want to save.

Here’s how this looks:

Turn 5G on/off on iPhone 2

Turn 5G On / Off: What Is This Code?

With the 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 (regardless of whether you’re turning on 5G manually or using 5G Auto/Smart data mode).

Verizon uses 5G UW for mmWave Note and other high-frequency 5G connections, AT&T uses 5G+, and T-Mobile calls it 5G UC (Ultra Capacity). If you see “normal 5G” in your status bar, this indicates that you are in the lower spectrum (greater range and coverage, relatively slower speeds).

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

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