Does The iPhone 11 Have 5G? No – Here’s Why…

Does Apple’s iPhone 11 have 5G? Here’s everything you need to know about 5G – or the lack thereof – on the iPhone 11, including the Pro and Pro Max models

iPhone 11 5G: Key Takeaways

  • iPhone 11 and 5G: The iPhone 11, released in September 2019, does not support 5G connectivity. This was a strategic decision by Apple based on the maturity and infrastructure of 5G at the time.
  • Apple’s Approach to Technology: Apple has a history of waiting until a technology is mature and well-established before incorporating it into their devices. This was the case with 3G, 4G, and 5G.
  • User Experience: Apple’s decisions are often driven by its commitment to providing the best user experience. Despite the promise of faster speeds with 5G, the coverage was inconsistent at the time of the iPhone 11’s release. Apple chose to wait until 5G was more reliable before introducing it in their devices.
  • 5G in Newer iPhones: Starting with the iPhone 12, all new iPhone models now support 5G. The performance of 5G in these newer models is significantly improved compared to earlier 5G devices.
  • 5G Speed vs. Signal: While 5G offers significantly faster speeds than 4G, the key issue is obtaining a reliable signal. Without a reliable 5G signal, the speed benefits are moot.
  • Battery Life: One of the downsides of 5G is its impact on battery life. The faster download speeds come at the cost of faster battery drain. This was a significant concern for Apple, a company that values extended battery life.
  • Marketing and Competition: Other manufacturers, like Samsung and OnePlus, chose to include 5G in their devices for marketing purposes and to gain a competitive edge, despite the technology’s limitations at the time.
  • What To Do? Here’s a breakdown of the 6 best iPhones you can buy right now – they all include 5G support too.

Does The iPhone 11 Have 5G?

The iPhone 11, released by Apple in September 2019, does not support 5G connectivity. This decision by Apple was met with some surprise, as many of its competitors had already begun to release 5G-capable devices. However, Apple’s decision was based on a number of factors, which we’ll explore in this article.

Most people scoffed when word broke that Apple’s iPhone 11 wouldn’t feature 5G. Android of all prices had it, so why not Apple’s iPhone 11? Turns out there are a few pretty good reasons. And the biggest is to do with 5G itself…

Apple’s Approach to New Technologies

Apple has a history of not being the first to adopt new technologies. Instead, the company tends to wait until a technology is more mature and the infrastructure is more established before incorporating it into their devices. This was the case with 3G and 4G, and it proved to be the case with 5G as well.

Apple’s approach is often driven by its commitment to providing the best user experience. While 5G promises faster speeds, the reality at the time was that 5G coverage was spotty and inconsistent. By waiting to adopt 5G, Apple could ensure that when they did release a 5G device, which it did with the iPhone 12, users would be able to fully take advantage of the benefits of 5G.

This is why Apple didn’t initially do 3G or 4G. It wasn’t satisfied with the coverage when these mobile data standards came out, so it waited until things had ramped up sufficiently. Once 4G became available almost everywhere and ran without issue, Apple updated its iPhone accordingly.

The same will happened with 5G on iPhones. Once 5G became more reliable, had fewer coverage holes, and better modem support, Apple switched on the tech inside its iPhone 12, released in 2019. And while this might sound dull and boring, Apple never does anything that would compromise the experience of using its phones.

All New iPhone Models Do Now Ship With 5G

Following on from the iPhone 12, all subsequent models now include 5G support. And on Apple’s newer models like the iPhone 14, the 5G performance is dramatically improved over its earlier phones like the iPhone 12, where 5G really hit the battery performance of those phones hard.

Is 5G worth having? I’d argue, yes – especially if you’re based in or near a city. Even the first generation 5G networks were fast. But the advent of faster and more efficient networks – things like Verizon’s Ultra Wide-Band 5G and 5G UC – make 2019 5G look like dial-up internet.

In a post over on Mac World, Micheal Simon goes into depth about the difference in the speed you get on 5G networks versus the current 4G standard. When you can get it, 5G is rapid – making 4G look like 2G. Speed isn’t the problem, however. It’s getting an actual signal that causes ALL the current issues associated with 5G. And if you can’t reliably access a 5G signal, then speed becomes a moot point.

5G Battery Drain Issues


Another potential issue with 5G that isn’t often discussed is its effect on battery life. 5G allows for truly rapid download speeds. Your phone can pull more data down at a faster rate, which is great. Nothing in life is free, however, and this speed does come with a downside – your battery life will suffer.

Back in 2019, in tests on Samsung’s $1300 Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, using 5G networks for three hours or more resulted in the phone losing around 60% of its battery life. On top of this, the phone became noticeably hotter – two things that DO NOT happen with 4G.

Battery life is key, especially when you’re talking about the iPhone. Apple knows its customers probably value extended battery life over the occasional 5G connection, so why ruin all the work it’s done squeezing more power efficiency out of its A13 chipset by implementing a battery-zapping new form of mobile data?

Again, from a user perspective, the cons outweigh the pros here. Apple could have included 5G on the iPhone 11 but it chose not too; Qualcomm had modems that Apple could have used, but Apple decided against it. And I think the reason for this is perfectly simple: back in 2019, 5G was NOT yet ready for the mainstream. From here, the next logical question is this: why did Samsung and OnePlus implement it then?

Simple: marketing – 5G sounds new and cool and will help shift phones from shelves in stores. It also gave Android brands like Samsung and OnePlus and edge over Apple. Why get an iPhone 11 when you can get a Samsung phone with 5G?

iPhone 11 5G FAQs

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He has written for Den of Geek, Fortean Times, IT PRO, PC Pro, ALPHR, and many other technology sites. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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