The iPhone 11 does not support 5G, and neither do the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The reason? It’s all detailed below…

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.

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 very reasonable factors and concerns, which we’ll explore in more detail below.

Most people scoffed when word broke that Apple’s iPhone 11 wouldn’t feature 5G. Android phones of all shapes and sizes had it, so why not Apple’s iPhone 11?

As you’ll see below, all was NOT what it seemed with 5G back when the iPhone 11 first launched. Apple knew this and pivoted accordingly, unlike its Android-based peers.

Let’s dig in for the full story…

Why Can’t The iPhone 11 Get 5G?

Key Points:

  • With 3G, 4G, and 5G, Apple delayed adoption until coverage and reliability improved.
  • Apple new the first-gen 5G modems were terrible for battery life
  • For 5G, Apple introduced it with the iPhone 12 once it became reliable and widespread.
  • This ensures users can fully benefit from the technology without compromise.

Apple has earned a reputation for its deliberate approach to adopting new technologies. Instead of rushing to be the first, the company chooses to wait until a technology matures, and the infrastructure supporting it becomes robust. This approach has been consistent not only with the advent of 3G and 4G but also with the rollout of 5G.

While 5G technology promised faster speeds, the reality was that 5G coverage was initially sporadic and unreliable.

Rather than jumping on the 5G bandwagon prematurely, Apple opted for a patient stance. This allowed them to ensure that when they eventually introduced 5G in their devices, starting with the iPhone 12, users would be able to fully harness the benefits of this technology.

Apple’s Transition to 5G and Battery Performance

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.Pin

When Apple introduced 5G with the iPhone 12, some users experienced significant battery drain, despite the company’s traditionally patient approach to adopting new technologies. This power consumption issue was primarily due to the initial challenges posed by 5G networks.

Apple’s cautious philosophy of waiting for technology to mature before adoption has been consistent throughout its history, not only with 5G but also with previous generations like 3G and 4G. In these cases, Apple refrained from immediate adoption due to concerns about initial coverage and performance of these mobile data standards. The company opted to wait until these technologies reached a level of maturity and widespread accessibility.

The same deliberate approach was applied to 5G. As 5G networks evolved and improved in reliability, with fewer coverage gaps, Apple decided it was time to activate 5G technology within their devices, beginning with the release of the iPhone 12 in 2019. This strategic patience may not always capture headlines, but it underscores Apple’s unwavering commitment to providing users with a top-notch experience in every aspect.

Advancements in Modem Technology

One key factor contributing to the improved battery performance of newer iPhone models, such as the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14, is the advancement in modem technology. The iPhone 12 initially suffered from battery drain with 5G due to the early modem technology it employed.

With the iPhone 13, Apple introduced the Qualcomm X60 modem, a significant improvement over the iPhone 12’s X55 modem.

The X60 modem is more power-efficient and offers better optimization for 5G connectivity. This enhancement allows newer iPhone models to better manage power consumption when connected to 5G networks, mitigating the battery drain issue that plagued earlier 5G-enabled iPhones.

In essence, Apple’s careful consideration of technology adoption, coupled with advancements in modem technology like the Qualcomm X60, has resulted in improved battery performance for newer iPhone models.

This ensures that users can enjoy the benefits of 5G connectivity without compromising their device’s battery life, aligning with Apple’s commitment to delivering a dependable and enjoyable user experience.

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


We’ve previously talked about how the first-generation of 5G phones suffered from battery life issues. What’s often overlooked is that many Android phone manufacturers eagerly embraced 5G, primarily for marketing purposes, despite being aware of its negative impact on battery life.

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