iPhone 12 may display 5G even when using 4G LTE, review reveals

Apple has altered the way it displays mobile data connectivity on the iPhone 12, which some users might find misleading.

An early review of the iPhone 12 found the status bar displays the best available mobile data connection, rather than the speed currently in use. So, even though you may see ‘5G’ to the right of the display notch, you may still be accessing 4G LTE speeds.

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A reviewer at The Verge made the discovery while playing around with the new Smart Data mode, the setting which aims to assist users by keeping them on LTE speeds if the handset deems the next-gen connectivity is unnecessary for the task at hand.

The reviewer wrote:

What’s weird is that when the iPhone is limiting you to LTE speeds, it will still display the 5G icon in the status bar. It’s now an indicator of the best speed available to you, not the actual type of connection that’s actively in use. You can turn Smart Data off if you like, but I left it on and honestly never really felt like I was being throttled.

This doesn’t appear to be the only nuance when it comes to using 5G on the new iPhone 12. Earlier this week we reported that 5G connectivity won’t be available for those using Dual SIM mode. That’s likely to be amended with a forthcoming iOS update.

The iPhone 12 is the first ever Apple device to offer a 5G modem. However, while other phones have had the tech for the last couple of years, Apple enters a market still a long way short of offering universal coverage.

So, for once, the success of Apple’s flagship feature will depend largely upon how quickly the network providers can expand the reach of their 5G networks.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are now available to pre-order ahead of their release on Friday October 23. The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max will go on sale in late November.

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