The iPhone 12 lineup was introduced by Apple and all four phones, including the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro, are 5G capable. But what does that actually mean to you if you want to buy one later this year or at a later date?
5G is the next generation of mobile internet technology, which (not surprisingly) ties in with the 4G standard introduced in 2009.
The fastest 5G networks can reach more than ten times the current 4G speed. This is the first time you’ll have access to this technology if you’ve bought Apple phones in the past few years.
Wait, what is 5G anyway?
You know how to see your mobile internet with a logo on the top of your phone that says either 3G or 4G? This is how your phone shows you your connection, and essentially 5G gives you access to faster speeds.
There’s a lot more to 5G – for example, infrastructure is expected to charge to make smart cities possible – and we’ve put together a tech explanation so you can learn all about 5G.
What do you need to get 5G?
How do you even get 5G? Number one: you can only transfer it to your current phone if you have a compatible device. There are a couple of things that you will need to make sure you have.
- A 5G capable phone – The new iPhone 12 series was developed for this
- A 5G compatible plan – Your current business with your network or operator
- Live in a 5G enabled area – or at least be ready to travel to make the connection
The device you own determines what internet technology you can use. Your current iPhone can’t connect to 5G networks, and the iPhone 12 series marks the first time the company has released a device designed for 5G connectivity.
Your telephone company or network must also provide 5G. Not all of them do this right now, and those who do can often ask for more money each month to be able to connect. If you already have this, you are one step closer.
Where you live is perhaps the most important factor in determining if 5G is right for you. If you live far from a big city, you are unlikely to get access to the technology as it is most prevalent in built-up areas right now.
Some countries currently have far better access to technology than others. Check with your provider about what 5G coverage looks like and whether they currently offer services.
What if I don’t want 5G?
With the iPhone 12, you can still use 4G networks. If you don’t have a 5G-enabled plan, then you will no longer be able to use one of Apple’s new phones.
If you want an iPhone 12 for 4G only, this is not an option. Instead, you might want to check out either the iPhone 11 or another iPhone the company has released over the past few years.
What technology does the iPhone 12 use?
This is both Sub-6 and mmWave technology in the iPhone 12. This doesn’t mean much to the average person, but it does largely mean that it is compatible across most carriers.
For example, Verizon in the US only uses mmWave technology (which is incredibly powerful in cities and at close range, less over long distances), but most UK networks choose Sub-6 technology. By using both technologies by Apple, the phone can be compatible worldwide.
What does Smart Data mode do?
Apple briefly unveiled a new feature called Smart Data Mode during the launch event, which essentially allows your phone to intelligently switch back to 4G if it finds that you don’t need 5G connectivity.
We don’t know exactly how this is supposed to work – or how much battery you’ll save in the real world – but the basic premise is that the iPhone has an idea from every app whether it’s going to be fast or hungry and can decide when this should be prioritized.
Is 5G getting more popular because of the iPhone?
It’s almost certain that by introducing 5G connectivity, Apple will make technology better for everyone. Carriers and providers will now focus more on technology due to the huge installation base, which improves connectivity for anyone who wants 5G.
Ben Wood, Head of Research at CCS Insight, says, “While 5G devices have been available from just about every other smartphone manufacturer for over a year, there is a strong case that this line of 5G-enabled iPhones will be the market -Maker for the technology.
“The iPhone 12 will inevitably mark the actual mass market launch of 5G for consumers.”