Turning off 5G on your iPhone 12 will greatly improve your phone’s battery life – here’s how to do it
The iPhone 12 is the first iPhone to feature 5G. At launch, Apple said it had redesigned the iPhone from the ground-up to make the transition to 5G as painless as possible.
Using a technology called Smart Data, Apple designed the iPhone 12 to ONLY use 5G data when appropriate.
The idea with Smart Data is that it will conserve your battery life. But it doesn’t really work all that well – as you can read see here inside our iPhone 12 Battery Performance Guide.
The iPhone 12 has a smaller battery than the iPhone 11 and it also runs 5G. These two things combined have made the iPhone 12’s battery performance considerably worse than the iPhone 11 – by almost four hours in some tests.
If you want better iPhone 12 battery life, the easiest way to do this is by turning off 5G. Turning off 5G means you will only be able to use 4G data when you’re out and about, but it will give your iPhone 12 hours more uptime.
How To Turn Off 5G on iPhone 12
- Open the Settings app, then go to Cellular
- Click on Cellular Data Options, Select Voice & Data
- Now, Tap LTE – this will make 4G your primary connection
And that’s it: 5G is now switched off on your iPhone 12. Please note, this method works on ALL iPhone 12 models – inc. the iPhone 12 Mini, the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Also, just because you’ve turned off 5G doesn’t mean it has to stay off forever. You can go back in and switch it on whenever you like.
For instance, if you know you’re going out after work, for food or drinks, and you haven’t topped up your iPhone 12’s charge, you could switch off 5G and not have to worry about the battery life dying on you.
Obviously, this isn’t ideal. But them’s the breaks with new technology. It’s always the case: new technology in phones ALWAYS has issues that, nine times out of ten, aren’t resolved until the second or third iteration. In this context, that’d be the iPhone 13 or iPhone 14.
Could An Update Fix iPhone 12’s 5G Battery Issues?
It is also possible of course that Apple could make some improvements to the iPhone 12’s battery life via an update. I don’t know how this would work, from a technical perspective, but there could be some room for improvement via tweaks to how Smart Data works.
Apple’s engineers are pretty smart, so if there is even a smidgen of performance left untapped, you can bet your ass the next installment of iOS 14 will set about to bring more battery life to the iPhone 12.
Speaking personally, given that the iPhone 12 has 5G, I have ZERO idea why Apple decided to use a smaller battery inside it than the iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 had a 3110 mAh battery, while the iPhone 12 uses a 2815 mAh battery.
I know the A14 CPU is more efficient and OLED panels use less power. But I just can’t help but think all of the issues caused by the iPhone 12’s 5G would be negated somewhat had Apple increased the size of the battery, not made it smaller.
Or, failing that, included ACTUAL fast-charging for the iPhone 12 – like the kind you can now get on nearly all cheap Android phones released these days.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.