iPhone 12 5G secret weapon revealed — and it beats every Android phone

iPhone 12
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

We’ve known for some time that the full iPhone 12 lineup will support 5G, from the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini all the way up to the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. But now it appears the iPhone 12 will have a 5G advantage over all of the best Android phones.

That’s according to Kang on Chinese social networking site Weibo, who says Apple has something called “Smart Data Mode” up its sleeve for the iPhone 12. 

“My understanding is that 4G/5G is allocated according to the application bandwidth,” Kang wrote. “Specific big data throughput applications use 5G, which is estimated to save power.”

In other words, it sounds like the iPhone 12 will only use the super-fast 5G connection when it’s absolutely necessary, using 4G in areas where time isn’t of the essence — such as with an app running in the background. 

While those with unlimited data may feel a little short changed, it’s sensible even for them: 5G uses more power than LTE. So the iPhone 12's Smart Data Mode should result in longer battery life, giving Apple a power efficiency advantage compared to new Android rivals like the Galaxy S20 FE, Pixel 5 and OnePlus 8T.

Kang also suggests that all iPhone 12 models will support mmWave in the U.S., in addition to sub-6 GHz. mmWave is far faster, while sub-6GHz has greater range. While a Sub-6 GHz 5G phone will still be significantly faster than a 4G LTE handset, it’s not capable of downloading an entire Netflix TV series in seconds as a mmWave phone potentially can.

This iPhone 12 leak runs counter to others we've heard. Back in May, leaker Jon Prosser tweeted that he heard mmWave was being reserved for the more expensive iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max models

We’ll know for sure in just a few short days. The iPhone 12 event is set for Tuesday (1 p.m EDT/10 a.m. PDT). All four handsets will use the A14 Bionic chip which, judging from leaked iPad Air benchmarks, appears to be very powerful indeed. 

The cheaper 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 will have a dual-camera setup, while the 6.1-inch Pro and 6.7-inch Pro Max versions will have three lenses plus a LiDAR sensor. There are conflicting reports as to whether the latter two will make the upgrade to a 120Hz screen, but at the moment it seems likely to be an iPhone 13 feature.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.