How to Turn on 5G on iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 does not have the required hardware to support 5G. You will need to get a newer iPhone model for 5G support.

By the time the iPhone 11 was launched, there were many Android handsets that supported 5G. That led to many iPhone users wondering how to turn on 5G on iPhone 11. I wrote this article because network support is a key factor to consider when deciding which iPhone to buy. What you will need
  • An iPhone 11 – This article applies to all variants, not just the base model, so even if you have the Pro or Max variants, it is still relevant for you.
  • 5G network coverage – AT & T users might see “5GE” written in the status bar on their iPhones. This does not actually represent 5G. It is an evolution (hence, the “E” in the name) of certain technologies used in combination with 4G, which leads to improved performance.
  • Subscription to a compatible cellular plan

How to Turn on 5G on iPhone

Step 1: Check for coverage

If you are an AT & T subscriber, you can use the wireless network coverage map to find out where they offer connectivity. In any case, if you see the 5GE icon in the iPhone’s status bar, you are covered.

Step 2: Configure network settings

Open the Settings app. Now choose Cellular. Make sure that the Cellular Data switch is turned on. You will also need to make sure that LTE Data is enabled. For this, you will need to go to Cellular Data Options > Enable LTE. This will activate LTE data at a system-wide level. If you wish to control access to specific apps, you can scroll to the list displayed on the same page and select the switch next to the app’s name.

Step 3: Activate data roaming

There may be times when you might not get data services even though your area is covered. Chances are, you are not in your home area and are roaming. In order to avoid accidental usage of data while roaming which can lead to high charges, data roaming needs to be explicitly enabled. From the same Cellular Data Options screen mentioned in the earlier step, turn on the Data roaming switch.

Step 4: Turn on Wi-Fi assist

If you already have a Wi-Fi connection established and intend to use cellular data just as a backup for automatic failover, Wi-Fi assist will help. If the Wi-Fi signal becomes unusable, the iPhone will automatically use cellular data. Note that the speed difference might be perceptible. E.g., AT & T claims that using their 5G E network, iPhone 11 users can reach up to 400 Mbps of download speeds. Although this peak figure is challenging to reach in practice, it is faster than some old Wi-Fi networks which still use protocols like IEEE 802.11n. If your Wi-Fi connection uses a more modern protocol like IEEE 802.11ac, it will be hard to tell the difference between that and 5G E. When the signal quality improves, the iPhone will revert to using Wi-Fi instead of cellular data.

Step 5: Toggle mobile data

There might be times when you might need to quickly toggle the state of the iPhone’s mobile data, such as when entering or leaving an area having stable Wi-Fi connectivity. When you swipe down from the upper edge of your iPhone, you will come across the control center. Here you will find the icon to toggle Cellular data quickly with one tap. This way you can not only make sure that you are online even after leaving a Wi-Fi network, but also you can stay in control of your cellular data consumption by quickly disabling it when you do have stable Wi-Fi connectivity. Related Reading

What can I do to get 5G on my iPhone 11?

There is nothing that a user can do to make their iPhone 11 5G compatible as it lacks the required hardware needed for 5G support. The best option in this case is to switch to a newer iPhone model. Starting from and including iPhone 12, all the new iPhone models support 5G. However, since frequency bands differ widely between operators and countries, you should check with your carrier before deciding on a model to buy.

What if I want to get 5G-like speeds on my iPhone 11?

If you are near a device that has pure 5G, you can use it as a hotspot. While pure 5G is much faster than AT & T’s 5G E, modern Wi-Fi protocols such as IEEE 802.11ac offer comparable speeds so that performance doesn’t drop a lot when tethering the connection in this manner. So, if you set up a hotspot on a 5G-enabled device that uses a modern Wi-Fi protocol and then connect your iPhone 11 to it, you can expect to get 5G-like speeds depending on various factors such as interference, signal quality/stability, and network load.
We hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial and it answered many questions which you might have had about using 5G on an iPhone 11. With many use cases for 5G still being developed, it is important for you to know whether or not this is the right time to upgrade to a device that supports 5G. Please do not forget to share the article with fellow iPhone users!