Last year, Apple introduced the iPhone 12 lineup. At the same time, the company also confirmed the handsets would feature 5G connectivity for faster cellular service. They did that alongside Verizon, with the carrier touting its network coverage and speeds. What they did not do, though, is tell folks that keeping 5G on would noticeably impact battery life on your new phone.
Which makes sense! That’s not a great sales pitch for a new network coupled with a brand new phone. But Verizon is definitely aware that 5G has an impact on a device’s battery life (not necessarily just the iPhone 12 lineup), going so far as to let folks know they can save a little juice with their day-to-day routine if they turn LTE back on and stop using 5G.
That happened a few weeks ago, as noted by The Verge at the time. Verizon’s official support account on Twitter tweeted this out:
You can imagine how that went over with the Verizon customers who have 5G phones and, well, expect their phones to be able to handle Verizon’s upgraded network. With that tweet, Verizon put itself in a weird spot. After all, it has to keep marketing its 5G coverage because the other major carriers (AT&T and T-Mobile) have been doing it for much longer. And then, with that tweet, it basically told folks not to use the same thing it’s hawking as the “next best thing” for cellular networks.
Just look at how much of an important role 5G played during the iPhone 12’s unveiling last year:
You definitely can’t miss it! And Apple, for its part, made it clear that the wireless network technology was a major focal point for the iPhone 12 lineup. Apple wasn’t the first to jump on the 5G bandwagon by any means, but it wasn’t going to let the majority of the wagon train drive on by without jumping on board this time around. Unfortunately for the company (and the other companies making 5G-enabled phones out there where this is a problem), getting on board too soon has a material impact on daily usage for many people.
I had 5G turned on with my iPhone 12 Pro right out of the gate. Not that I had any real reason to, 5G wasn’t one of the reasons I upgraded to Apple’s newest smartphone. It probably wouldn’t even make. the list of top 5 reasons, honestly. The color mattered more! But I had 5G switched on for months and then, for reasons I don’t even remember, I decided to turn it off.
What a difference it has made, too. Not that I’ve really been keeping track, though. It’s just something I’m aware of now that I have LTE turned on. I was getting good battery life before, but ever switch switching away from 5G I’ve noticed that I don’t even think about battery life anymore. I just get through the day, charge it at night if I have to, but more likely charge it the next morning and call it good.
There will always be kinks to work out with a new technology. 5G is no different, nor are the radios inside our devices that connect to that faster network. Sure, we’d like it to all work out like we’re used to, so there aren’t any hiccups or road bumps from our transition to a new thing. But sometimes it will take a bit of time before the details get ironed out. It might be a year or two before 5G works in the same way, as far as battery life on our phones, is the same as LTE is right now.
Ultimately, the good news is that even on an iPhone you can turn 5G off and go back to LTE connectivity. If you want. I imagine there are some folks out there that find 5G is just fine on their battery life, and they prefer to have the faster wireless service. But I’m curious: have you turned off 5G on your iPhone 12 in an effort to save battery life?