iOS 16.4 adds 5G Standalone support for up to 3 Gbps iPhone speeds

Your iPhone could soon support T-Mobile’s 5G Standalone network with speeds up to 3Gbps thanks to iOS 16.4, which also brings 5G support to more regions.

A cellular tower at dusk
Image: Alex Rybin/Unsplash
  • What’s happening? iOS 16.4 enables support for T-Mobile’s 5G Standalone network in the US and 5G networks in Turkey and Macau.
  • Why care? 5G Standalone can deliver speeds of up to 3Gbps on Samsung smartphones. The iPhone could be next to take advantage of this technology.
  • What to do? Download and install iOS 16.4 when it arrives.

iOS 16.4 and T-Mobile’s 5G Standalone network

There’s a new toggle in the cellular settings on iOS 16.4 for connecting to 5G Standalone (5G SA) networks. The 5G SA service is currently offered by T-Mobile, the only carrier in the United States that, as of this writing, fully supports 5G SA.

The 5G SA service is capable of data transfer speeds of up to 3Gbps on flagship Samsung smartphones. Adding 5G SA support to iOS 16.4 indicates that the iPhone will soon support fast 3Gbps cellular data connections.

To use 5G SA service after updating to iOS 16.4, you’ll need to visit the Voice & Data section of your cellular settings and turn on the 5G Standalone option.

How the 5G Standalone network works

“5G Standalone uses 5G for all cellular activity, including cellular network connections,” Apple notes in the feature’s description. “In certain conditions 5G standalone may be used when necessary to provide cellular service.”

T-Mobile announced its 5G SA network in November 2022 via a press release┬ástating that service was available to Samsung Galaxy S22 customers at launch while expanding “to additional devices in the near future.”

5G SA uses carrier aggregation, which merges multiple mid-band 5G spectrum channels to boost speeds as fast or faster than 5G mmWave. With Apple supporting 5G SA, developers will find it easier to deploy standalone 5G in apps.

5G support in Turkey and Macau

| Image: Apple

Aside from supporting the 5G Standalone network, iOS 16.4 also enables iPhone owners in Turkey to connect to local 5G networks in the country. According to social media reports, iOS 16.4 brings 5G support to other regions, like Macau.

Google Fi 5G support

Installing the iOS 16.4 beta also makes the Google Fi service appear for subscribers. AS 9to5Google explains, the Voice & Data section of the Settings app now shows the 5G On and 5G Auto options for Google Fi subscribers.

The Google Fi compatibility page notes that Fi for iOS is in beta and states that “5G data isn’t supported on iPhone,” but it sounds like that’s about to change when iOS 16.4 releases to the public. Apple could also pull Google Fi 5G support from the stable release of iOS 16.4. Read: How to fix iPhone cellular data not working

When will Apple launch iOS 16.4?

On February 16, 2023, Apple released the first betas of iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4, macOS Ventura 13.3, watchOS 9.4 and tvOS 16.4 for developer testing, with public betas expected to follow next week.

The updates will continue testing for the next couple of weeks before they’re ready for prime time. We expect the software updates to launch for all users around April.

You’ll install the updates over the air via the Software Update feature, which will upgrade you to the latest software without deleting data or settings.