5G Not Working on iPhone 12? Here’s How to Troubleshoot

Dec 26, 2020 - 2 Comments

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 series includes support for 5G networks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean if you get an iPhone 12 that you’ll suddenly be using 5G. Some users may discover that 5G is not working at all on their new iPhone 12, or that they’re seemingly unable to join a 5G network.

There are several reasons why 5G may not be working on an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Mini, or other iPhone 12 model. This guide will aim to help troubleshoot issues with 5G not working on the iPhone 12 series.

5G Not Working or Showing on iPhone 12?

If you have a new iPhone 12 series and 5G isn’t working, here are some steps you can take to make sure the service is available to you.

Make Sure your Cellular Plan and Carrier Supports 5G

The first and perhaps most obvious thing to check is that your iPhone cellular data plan supports 5G, because not all plans do. In fact, some carriers don’t yet have much 5G infrastructure in place, if any at all.

If you’re not sure if your cellular or mobile plan supports 5G, contact your cellular carrier provider and ask them directly.

You can also check carrier and country compatibility if you’re unsure or in a different region.

Check for 5G Coverage Area

Even with some cellular plans that do support 5G, not all areas have 5G coverage.

The infrastructure for 5G support is actively rolling out, and is mostly limited to major cities. Yet many suburbs don’t yet have 5G network support.

Most small towns and rural areas have no 5G support yet (and some areas don’t even have 4G LTE yet, or any cell coverage at all, at least in the USA).

So if you know your data plan supports 5G, but you aren’t seeing 5G in the status bar of iPhone 12 series, then make sure you are located in an area with 5G coverage.

You can check 5G coverage maps through your mobile phone provider, typically through their website or apps.

If you’re in an area without 5G on iPhone 12, the iPhone will likely just revert back to LTE instead.

Turn AirPlane Mode On, then Off

Turning AirPlane Mode on, leaving it on for a few seconds, then turning it back off again, can often remedy network connectivity issues on iPhones.

The easiest way to do this is by going to Settings and toggling AirPlane Mode to the ON position.

You can also toggle AirPlane mode on and back off again through Control Center on iPhone 12, by swiping down from the top right corner, tapping the AirPlane icon to enable it, waiting a few moments, then disabling it again.

Still Don’t See 5G in Status Bar of iPhone 12?

As mentioned above, first you’ll want to make sure your carrier supports 5G, and then make sure you’re in an area with 5G network coverage.

Next, you can make sure that 5G is active on your device:

  1. Open the “Settings” app then go to “Cellular” and to “Cellular Data Options”
  2. Make sure that 5G is active

If you do not see the “Cellular Data Options” screen at all, it may mean that your cellular plan does not support 5G, in which case you’d want to contact your cellular carrier for further instruction and advice.

Seeing “Searching” or “No Service” Instead of 5G

Rarely, some users may see a “Searching…” or “No Service” indicator on their iPhone 12, with or without 5G. If this happens, you’ll first want to reboot the iPhone.

You can force restart iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Mini, and iPhone 12 Pro Max by pressing Volume Up, Volume Down, then holding the Power button until you see the  Apple logo on the screen.

When iPhone 12 boots back up, give it a moment to make sure the cellular connectivity functions as expected.

Additional 5G Troubleshooting Steps

If your cellular data is not working on iPhone at all, you can try these more generic troubleshooting tips, as it’s always possible the issue isn’t related to 5G network at all.

You can also try resetting network settings on the iPhone, a downside of which is that you’ll lose any saved network passwords and customizations to things like DNS, and checking for a cellular carrier update as well is always worthwhile, but don’t be surprised if there isn’t an update available for your carrier.

If you still have a problem with 5G not working, and the device is stuck on “No Service” or “Searching”, it’s time to go further.

If the issue persists, contact official Apple Support, or the cellular carrier network provider for further support from them directly.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

2 Comments

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  1. yyzguy says:

    I wonder how many people buy these without realizing 5G isn’t available in their area.

  2. David Greenberg says:

    FYI: Thousands of users are reporting no service or dropped service with their iPhone 12 phones. I experienced this with six iPhones (replaced by Apple and Verizon) and after many calls to Apple and Verizon, Apple sent a field engineer to my house to run diagnostics on several phones he brought. After Apple engineers reviewed the logs, the determined that Verizon’s towers were using transmission bands with weak signals and not switching to bands with stronger signals. After they reconfigured their local network and towers, the problems I experienced disappeared. There are numerous reports from users all over the world who have similar issues. I think this is a story worth covering.

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