When you look at the top corner of your phone, what do you see? Upon upgrading to Android 11 or iOS 14, you'll see either "5G," "5G+," or "5G E" if you're connected to the right network. But what exactly do these symbols mean? They indicate not only if you're using 5G, but also what type you're connected to.
For all the benefits 5G brings to cellular data, it isn't without weaknesses, the biggest being privacy. Yes, the latest standard comes with breakneck downloads speeds up to 4.3 Gbps, but at what cost? Like with all things on the internet, 5G devices open opportunities for both good and bad actors.
Not all 5G is equal. Even if you dropped the cash on a true 5G phone and you see it's connected to 5G in the status bar, that doesn't mean you're surfing the web, streaming Spotify, and binging Netflix faster than your friends with LTE phones.
We are now in the age of 5G. Carriers worldwide are upgrading their networks to the newest standard for mobile, which will dramatically improve your phone experience. How? By giving it download speeds and latency that surpass Wi-Fi. But before you upgrade, there are few things you should know first.
You will likely have a 5G-capable phone within two years. Each carrier is working hard to improve its coverage for the next standard in mobile networks, and though the technology is fairly new and only a handful of phones support it right now, this will change very soon.
No doubt, you've heard a lot about 5G lately. This might have you looking at your current 4G phone and lamenting your inability to connect to the faster network. But is 5G worth buying a new phone over, and should you buy one right now?
There's a lot of talk about 5G these days. You might even think your iPhone is 5G-ready, since, well, it says so right in the status bar. 5G E, right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but no iPhone is capable of connecting to 5G networks yet, no matter how much you pay for that 11 Pro.
5G is here. Well, not everywhere. All three wireless carriers have turned on their 5G networks, but only in select markets. Like 4G, each carrier is doing things a bit differently, which means your 5G experience will not be the same across the board.
If you upgrade to an iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, or 12 Pro Max, you can take advantage of super-fast 5G speeds, but which 5G network are you actually getting and is it better than the others? Depending on your carrier, you may see 5G, 5G+, 5G UW, or 5G E in the status bar next to the signal strength, and there's a pretty big difference between them.
One thing you can expect from Apple is that big features work right out of the box. The company designs its products to be easy to use for any experience level, so you might expect the same to be true for 5G, one of the biggest selling points for the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max. Yet, you might have trouble getting 5G to work on your brand new iPhone. Here's how to avoid that.
How To: The New iPhones Let You Perform Software Updates Over 5G Networks, but You Might Need to Do This First
Fresh software updates can be amazing or a nightmare, but they're mostly the former since new and updated features can give your iPhone improved functionality. There are over 200 benefits in iOS 14 alone, and hopping on the iOS 14.2 beta includes new emojis and fresh wallpapers. For the longest time, however, being away from Wi-Fi meant no update for you. That is, until now, thanks to 5G.
Excited about experiencing blazing-fast 5G speeds on your iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, or 12 Pro Max? Well, that brand new iPhone you just bought might not actually be using 5G, even when you see that 5G symbol in the top right. Unless you follow these instructions, your iPhone will use regular old 4G LTE more often.
Thanks to the Snapdragon X55 modem, the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20 are among the most compatible 5G phones on the market. There are few bands they don't cover, as the modem supports both Sub-6 GHz and mmWave. But even with such broad support, the Galaxy S20 doesn't get the best 5G reception.
5G is undoubtedly the future of mobile networks, and there's a good chance your next phone will have it. But just like with 4G, as carriers race to get the best 5G coverage, the ones running behind are abusing marketing terms to make themselves seem further ahead than they actually are.
In 2009, 4G LTE networks rolled out in Stockholm and Oslo, replacing 3G as a better upgrade to the mobile data technology that gives us the broadband speeds we have on our mobile devices. Over a decade later, and we have the latest, next-generation wireless network technology among us, 5G, but can you even use it?