The entire iPhone 12 lineup is capable of connecting to lightning fast 5G networks, which is great news for when those networks are actually lightning fast. But tapping into those gigabit speeds requires a sacrifice: battery life. But Apple baked a Smart Data Mode setting into new iPhones to give you more control over when your iPhone 12 is using 5G, and it’s super easy to use.
Apple gives you three options: You can keep 5G on all the time, switch over to LTE and never use 5G, or allow your iPhone to make that decision for you with an auto mode. If you’re downloading full seasons of TV to watch offline before a vacation (when those are a thing again), your phone will know to use 5G. If you’re just streaming music, your iPhone will shift to LTE.
Diving in to see your options is easy: Open Settings, tap Cellular [Mobile], then Cellular Data [Mobile Data] Options. Select Voice & Data. There you’ll see 5G On, 5G Auto, and LTE. I recommend sticking with 5G Auto to let your iPhone decide when it needs faster speeds or not. That setting should help you conserve battery life.