The status bar on your iPhone is a small but nice tool. You can see with which mobile network you are connected and also the strength of the signal. In addition, you can see, for example in an area with poor coverage, that you are on 3G instead of 4G or 5G. Those are useful things to know. Yet it appears that with the iPhone 12 it is a bit more difficult to determine.
It appears that Apple has modified the behavior of the status bar with the iPhone 12. During a review of the new iPhone 12 by The Verge notes author Dieter Bohn that Apple is introducing a new feature called Smart Data Mode. With this, the company is attempting to extend the battery life. A continuous 5G connection is in fact an attack on the battery, which can become empty faster than desired. By applying smart software, the iPhone 12 will lower the data connection back to 4G or even 3G if a faster connection is not needed. Only when iOS decides that 5G connectivity is needed will full speed be resumed.
‘5G or not 5G, that’s the question’
We can of course appreciate this functionality. The longer the battery lasts, the better it is, right? The problem is, even if you’re not on 5G, the status bar just keeps showing 5G. So even if you are connected to 4G, the status bar says you have a 5G connection. That means that instead of letting you know which connection you are using, the status bar actually shows you the best possible connection that you could theoretically get. But it may be that this is not the network type to which you are actually connected.
It’s unclear why Apple modified the status bar in this way, but it only seems to affect Apple’s 5G-compatible iPhone 12. All other iPhones, without a 5G capability, shouldn’t notice this change and should just speed up. displayed in the status bar.