mmWave 5G support: Non-existent on the new iPad mini‌, limited to US-only iPhone 13 models

Cellular versions of Apple’s sixth-generation iPad mini don’t support mmWave, a faster 5G protocol that’s predominately used in the United States, at all. As for the new iPhone 13, it still restricts mmWave 5G support to the US just like its predecessor, the iPhone 12 family.


  • iPad mini gains 5G cellular connectivity for the first time
  • iPad mini 6 doesn’t support faster mmWave, only the slower sub-6GHz protocol
  • Lack of mmWave support on iPad mini 6 could surprise some shoppers
  • 5G mmWave support remains non-existent on iPhones and iPads sold outside the US
  • However, iPhone 13 and iPad mini 6 support additional 5G bands for better coverage

A slide from Apple's September 14, 2021 announcement of the iPad mini 6 tablet, with boxes illustrating the key new features.
Image credit: Apple

iPad mini 6 doesn’t support faster mmWave 5G protocol

The technical specifications for the new iPad mini do not specify the kind of 5G protocol that the device supports. But according to a dedicated webpage on the Apple website with information on the availability of 5G services on iPads by country, 5G connectivity on the sixth-generation iPad mini comes without support for the faster mmWave frequencies.

On the flip side, the new iPhone 13 and iPad mini 6 both support additional 5G bands, allowing users to enjoy more reliable 5G connectivity with greater coverage in more places than before. However, there’s an important caveat: Just like with the iPhone 12 family, the new iPhone 13 models continue to restrict support for mmWave 5G services to the units sold in the US.

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

Despite rumors suggesting ‌iPhone 13‌ models would support mmWave 5G in additional countries, support for mmWave remains limited to iPhone and ‌iPad‌ models sold in the United States, so its absence in the new cellular ‌iPad mini‌ is only likely to concern customers who are based there.

There you have ti.

When does the new iPad mini 6 launch?

The new iPad mini is available to pre-order from ahead of retail availability starting on Friday, September 24. There are two storage capacities available, starting with the $499 model with 64 gigabytes of storage, while its 256GB counterpart is priced at $649.

If you prefer to purchase these tablets with 5G connectivity, prepare to spend an extra $150.

5G flavors: mmWave vs sub-6GHz

As a technology that hasn’t matured yet, 5G remains restricted to select markets and carriers, with download speeds that vary based on site conditions and carrier. In the United States and a few other countries, 5G comes in two basic flavors: sub-6GHz and mmWave.

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The former is slower (more like an enhanced 4G) but with increased coverage and better support in rural areas while. The latter, typically called “true 5G,” provides ultra-fast download speeds at the expense of reduced coverage and is limited to dense and metropolitan areas.

Apple devices that feature support for the mmWave flavor of 5G include the iPhone 12 family, the iPhone 13 lineup, cellular iPad Pros from 2018 onward and select other models.