PSA: What to do if 5G isn’t working on your iPhone 12

If you’ve just gotten your iPhone 12 and have noticed that 5G isn’t available after getting it set up, there are several factors to check out to troubleshoot what’s going on. These include your wireless plan, SIM card, iOS settings, and more. Let’s dive into what to do if your iPhone 12’s 5G is not working.

Author Ad Placeholder
Will only appear on redesign env.

The entire iPhone 12 lineup features 5G support (including mmWave on all US models) and 5G is turned on by default as far as iOS 14 settings go with Smart Data mode (can be managed manually too). However, if you’ve gotten set up and activated with your carrier and your iPhone 12’s 5G is not working and you think it you should be, here’s what to check next…

iPhone 12 5G not working: troubleshooting

Your carrier plan

  • Even if you think you have an up to date plan that includes 5G, it’s good to double-check what you’ve got and confirm it includes 5G service. For example, Verizon has a tricky situation where the new plans don’t have different names or different pricing, but some customers need to make a change to get 5G service.
  • Meanwhile, AT&T is alerting customers that they also may need to upgrade their plans when logging in their accounts:
What to do 5G not working iPhone 12 walkthrough

SIM card

  • If you purchased your iPhone 12 through your carrier or with Apple including carrier activation you shouldn’t have an issue with your SIM card.
  • But particularly if you bought a SIM-free model and are using your old SIM, you may need to get a new one or call your carrier to ask about having your existing SIM upgraded to support 5G.

iOS Settings

  • Apple notes in a support document that if you head to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options and don’t see a screen like the image below, try turning on Airplane mode then turning it off. If your iPhone 12’s 5G is not working still or not showing up in settings, contact your carrier.
What to do 5G not working iPhone 12 walkthrough 2

iPhone 12 5G not working with Dual SIM mode

  • In the same support document mentioned above, Apple shares that if you’re using Dual SIM mode with an iPhone 12, both lines will revert to 4G LTE.
  • One caveat is, “In China, 5G data is supported while using two active lines in Dual SIM mode on the line that’s using cellular data. In China, while using Dual SIM with 5G, 5G Standalone isn’t available.”

iPhone 12 5G not working with Data Roaming

  • 5G isn’t available yet when roaming. Apple says for now, the only option to get 5G outside of your carrier’s coverage is to pick up a local SIM card when traveling.

Carriers around the world are still working to deploy their 5G roaming support. If you turn on Data Roaming, you can get cellular data through 4G or LTE networks when you travel. You can also obtain a local SIM card or eSIM and use it as a single line with 5G where available.


5G carrier coverage

  • If you’ve tried everything above, double-check your carrier’s 5G coverage map
  • Note that the major US carriers’ coverage maps include both 4G and 5G so you’ll need to pay close attention to the colored legend and zoom in as close as possible for the most accurate picture

For more details on manually managing 5G on iPhone 12, check out our walkthrough:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel