The iPhone 12 has a Smart Data mode. In addition, the iPhone 12 only uses 5G when it is really necessary. The function is designed to save battery.
Smart Data for 5G iPhones
All iPhone 12 models support 5G, but that does not mean that the phone is always connected to 5G. Apple has opted for a smart way to save your battery, because 5G demands a lot from the battery. With Smart Data it is ensured that there is only a connection with 5G when necessary. If you open an app that requires a lot of data, such as Netflix or Apple TV +, the iPhone 12 will switch to the higher speeds of 5G. In practice, however, the iPhone will mainly use 4G, also in places with 5G coverage. This applies, for example, to updating apps or browsing a web page.
It can be compared to the chips that Apple uses in the iPhones: they contain fast and energy-efficient processor cores. In normal non-intensive tasks, the energy-efficient cores will do the job. If you start a heavy operation, the fast cores are temporarily enabled. They use more energy, but that’s okay in the short term. During the day it is mainly the energy-efficient cores that will be at work.
Only 5G when needed
Apple has come up with something similar for the 5G iPhones. If you’re just browsing your iPhone, there is no need for a fast data connection and you will spend much of the time at 4G speed. If you want to do something that requires fast data, the iPhone will switch to 5G. This applies, for example, to streaming a movie, downloading a music album just before getting on a plane, or playing an online game. The iPhone needs this need for speed then of course detect it in time. We still have to wait and see how this works in practice.
Are you browsing through Twitter or news items, are you looking at the weather forecast or stock prices or anything else that mainly involves text and images, then the 5G speed is not necessary. 4G is fast enough in that case and enabling 5G would make a barely noticeable difference. Apple takes a different approach than most Androidmanufacturers, where 5G is much more active and where the battery drains faster. Larger batteries are often used to solve this problem, but that also makes the device bigger and heavier. With a small device such as the iPhone 12 mini, there is no room for that.