It doesn’t feel like a long time since Samsung introduced its first 5G phone, the Galaxy S10 5G. Flash forward to today, and you’ll find 5G connectivity across many Samsung phones, from the top-end Galaxy S21 range to foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 3, right down to the less-expensive A71 5G and A51 5G models.
Although 5G networks are expanding, there are still plenty of places where it isn’t yet as robust as 4G — so those accelerated connection speeds can be spotty, for now. Connectivity depends not only on your 5G carrier, but your location too — Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T all offer 5G network coverage in the U.S., but it’s still best around major cities and metro areas. Still, choosing a phone that supports the next-generation network is a sure-fire way to future-proof your new device.
Your need for 5G all depends on how you use your phone. If you game online or download movies and TV shows, the faster connection speeds might be a boon, but if you’re somewhere without 5G connectivity, or right on the edge, you may prefer to have it turned off for now. On Samsung phones, it’s easy to customize your options. Here’s how to turn off 5G on a Samsung phone.
These instructions will work on most Samsung phones with 5G connectivity.
Step 1: Go to Settings > Connections.
Step 2: Tap on Mobile Networks.
Step 3: Tap on Network Mode.
Step 4: Select LTE/3G/2G (Auto), LTE/CDMA, or one of the other 4G/LTE options to prevent the phone from using 5G. It’s easy to switch it back on whenever you want.
Depending on your carrier and whether your phone is unlocked or purchased from a carrier, you may find there are fewer options available under Network Mode. You may see just Manual and Automatic, or have no option to adjust the settings at all. (Verizon’s particularly strict about this.) If this is the case, your carrier may be blocking your ability to turn off 5G — there is, unfortunately, nothing you can do about that.
Unless you live in a small town or rural area, it’s probably best to leave the 5G Auto setting enabled, so you can take advantage of faster speed where it’s available and conserve (some) battery life where it’s not. But if extra speed isn’t critical, or you’re concerned about battery life, just leave your 5G off for now.
It’s worth pointing out that turning off 5G won’t necessarily save a significant amount of battery. Your phone isn’t constantly searching for a 5G tower — it knows when 5G is available. When you’re connected to a 4G network, if that tower also supports 5G, it will “hand off” your phone to the 5G signal. On some networks, the same antenna may be used for both 4G and 5G, and on other networks, you won’t even be switched over to the faster connectivity until you start using data. Don’t think that just because you’re in a 4G-only area that your phone will constantly “search” for 5G.
Don’t feel compelled to turn off 5G for the sake of battery life, unless you’re frequently traveling on the edge between areas with and without 5G, which could affect your battery life. The default 5G settings are designed to work for most people — but remember, if you decide to turn them off, it’s easy to switch them back on again.
Always double-check with your carrier to ensure your plan supports 5G, or whether you’ll need to adjust your plan or possibly even replace your SIM card to accommodate the next-generation technology.
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