5G compatibility is a question on every buyer’s mind right now. Specifically due to the push manufacturers have made to help make the next generation of cellular connectivity mainstream. The iPhone is arguably one of the most popular devices, and this year’s iPhone 13 Series’ improved support for 5G (first available on iPhone 12 Series) pushes it further towards widespread adoption.
But the higher cost of entry posed by Apple devices often leads to customers buying older generation phones to save some cash. Now, if you’re in a similar situation but don’t want to miss out on any features that will make your device future-proof — 5G included. Hence, this article details every iPhone model currently on sale and whether it supports 5G or not to help you make the right decision.
Note: This article lists the iPhones currently sold by Apple on its website. Discontinued models are excluded, but they may still be available with your regional carriers.
iPhones that support 5G
iPhone 13 Pro Series
The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, in yearly fashion, are the latest and greatest iPhones available. The differentiating specification on this year’s model is the new Super Retina XDR display — with a smaller notch — which supports ProMotion Technology (first introduced on iPad Pro) that allows the device’s screen to refresh between 10Hz to 120Hz based on the content displayed.
Driving these OLED panels and the other components of the 13 Pro Series is the A15 Bionic, which now houses a 5-core GPU and batteries with undisclosed capacities. But, if battery longevity is part of your decision-making criteria, Apple claims an improvement of one and half hours and two and a half hours on the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, respectively, over their predecessors from the 12 Pro Series.
Speaking about 5G, iPhone 13 Series supports three additional network bands compared to its predecessors. The improvement will ensure you will have a chance at better connectivity as the technology continues to roll out and support increases.
iPhone 13 Pro
iPhone 13 Pro is the best iPhone available in a smaller form factor with a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR Display, capable of an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. Powering it is the industry-leading A15 Bionic supported by all-day battery life.
iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro Max is the best iPhone available, but with a giant 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR Display, also capable of an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. It packs a 5-core GPU variant of the A15 Bionic and boasts 28 hours of video playback on a single charge -- six more than the iPhone 13 Pro.
iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini
The 6.1-inch iPhone 13 with a starting price of $799 and the smaller 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, available for $699, are devices akin to the S upgrades Apple has made in the past. They are a more polished version of the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini, with better battery life, a higher level of performance, improved camera sensors (similar to last year’s 12 Pro lineup), increased base storage (128GB instead of 64GB), and display panels. The improved Super Retina XDR display on these models does not feature ProMotion; Although it does have a slightly increased viewable area and a greater peak level of brightness, 800 nits to be precise.
Compared to iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini, the new phones will last longer by a total of two and half hours for iPhone 13 and one and a half hours for iPhone 13 Mini. And as mentioned earlier, the additional 5G bands will help with improving connectivity.
iPhone 13 is the standard iPhone model for 2021. Powered by the 5nm fabrication-based A15 Bionic, this device will ensure that none of your tasks are held back due to performance while providing all-day battery life.
iPhone 13 Mini
iPhone 13 Mini is the new best option for those who need a compact device. Its improved battery life will ensure that gaps between charges will be longer than with the previous generation.
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini
With the launch of the iPhone 13 Series, we expected Apple to discontinue the entire iPhone 12 lineup in favor of the newly upgraded models; Though instead of removing the whole line, only the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max ended up on the chopping block.
The decision has left the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini with a reduced price tag, which makes them pretty value for money devices, in case you’re looking to get an iPhone for its long-lasting software support. The iPhone 12 now starts at $699, while the 12 Mini will be available for $599 — albeit they still ship with 64GB of storage, unlike the new iPhone 13 and 13 Mini.
Looking at the specifications, the A14 Bionic within these devices will ensure your purchase is still going strong a few years down the line, and the camera system on the device will continue to take photos that will remain competitive with other devices. And focusing on 5G compatibility, the phone still supports 20 out of the 23 network bands on the iPhone 13, meaning you will not be left out.
Now, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max also support connecting to 5G networks. Unfortunately, they are unavailable to purchase from Apple’s official website. Meaning you will have to buy them refurbished or from a carrier.
iPhone 12 is the iPhone to consider if you want to have a 5G-compatible device without wanting to spend a lot. If you prefer buying devices unlocked, it being a last-generation model can also lead to better discounts.
iPhone 12 Mini
iPhone 12 Mini is the compact iPhone to get if battery life isn't a factor high in your criteria list. Its A14 Bionic processor will ensure that performance is never a letdown.
iPhones that do not support 5G
A two-year-old device at this point, the iPhone 11 is the perfect device to experience Apple’s hardware that isn’t always the best on paper but provides an acceptable user experience. This model features a 6.1-inch LCD panel dubbed the Liquid Retina display, driven by the A13 Bionic and supported by a 3110mAh battery.
Now, as you may know from the title of this list, this model does not support 5G connectivity, but it features most of the bells and whistles of the newer iPhone models — albeit it does them in a slightly worse manner. The phone features a dedicated Night Mode, which can brighten up almost any dimly lit situation and has a 12MP front shooter to ensure the selfies you click are not lacking detail.
For $499, the iPhone 11’s high degree of performance and camera quality makes it a reasonable purchase. Although, it is not competitive in display quality and connectivity (due to lack of 5G).
iPhone 11 might be the iPhone to get if you want a shot at the new notched design language and the FaceID hardware it brings. The A13 Bionic will ensure the phone will keep running without any drop in performance and receive version upgrades for a few more years.
iPhone SE 2020
Old-school design, moderately new hardware, and long-lasting support, are the three pillars that make up the iPhone SE 2020. This phone looks just like iPhones from before September 2018 but packs the internals of the iPhone 11 mixed and matched with camera optics from the iPhone 8.
Now, the iPhone SE still retails for $399 and is likely to be supported for the next three years. It’s also the only iPhone in Apple’s lineup that still features the TouchID sensor. Amongst other specs, you will find a 4.7-inch LCD powered by a 1821mAh. Processing on this phone, as mentioned earlier, is handled by the iPhone 11’s A13 Bionic.
iPhone SE 2020
iPhone SE 2020 is the phone to get if you're on a budget and need a trusty device to complete traditional smartphone tasks without giving up. The presence of TouchID can be a bonus for some.
Should you buy an iPhone with 5G?
All right, so 5G networks are slowly and steadily developing. Slow is the word to focus upon here. But with seventy-five percent (six out of eight phones) of iPhones sold by Apple being 5G compatible, the question of whether you should buy an iPhone with 5G support or not feels a little irrelevant.
According to my thoughts, the answer is, if you can afford the premium that an iPhone 12 will charge, Yes! Get an iPhone with 5G. You don’t need to have a cellular plan with compatibility, but having a phone that supports it is a plus. Also, the screen on the iPhone 12 is a massive upgrade over the one on iPhone 11 — the best iPhone to get if you’re on a budget.