Use 5G with your iPad

Learn how to use 5G cellular service with your iPad.

What you need

  • carrier that supports 5G
  • An active 5G cellular plan
  • One of these iPad models:
    • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation or later)
    • iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation or later)
    • iPad Air (5th generation)
    • iPad mini (6th generation)
    • iPad (10th generation)

Understand the 5G icons in the status bar

When you're in an area with 5G coverage for your carrier and your 5G cellular plan has been activated, you'll see a 5G icon in the status bar of your iPad: 

Shows the 5G icon
Your carrier's 5G network is available, and your iPad can connect to the internet over that network (not available in all countries or regions).*

Shows 5G icons 
Your carrier’s 5G+, 5G UW, or 5G UC network is available, which can include your carrier's higher frequency version of 5G. Your iPad can connect to the internet over that network (not available in all countries or regions).*

* Higher frequency 5G networks are supported only in the United States when using an iPad Pro purchased in the United States.

Learn about 5G options

The default settings for 5G on iPad are optimized for battery life and data usage based on your data plan. You can customize these options for when to use 5G and how much data to use in some apps.

Find these options by going to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options.

Choose how your iPad uses the 5G network

The Cellular Data Options screen

  • 5G Auto: Enables Smart Data mode. When 5G speeds don’t provide a noticeably better experience, your iPad automatically switches to LTE, saving battery life.
  • 5G On: Always uses 5G network when it’s available. This might reduce battery life.
  • LTE: Uses only LTE network, even when 5G is available.

Data Mode

The Data Mode options screen

  • Allow More Data on 5G: Enables higher data-usage features for apps and system tasks. These include higher-quality FaceTime calls, high-definition content on Apple TV, Apple Music songs and videos, iPadOS updates over cellular, and automatic iCloud backups.
    • With this setting, your iPad can automatically use 5G instead of Wi-Fi when a network you visit occasionally is slow or insecure. To turn this feature off and on for certain networks, go to Settings > Wi-Fi. Then tap the info button next to the Wi-Fi network and tap Use Wi-Fi for internet.
    • This setting also allows third-party apps to use more cellular data for enhanced experiences.
    • This is the default setting with some unlimited-data plans, depending on your carrier.
    • This setting uses more cellular data.
  • Standard: Allows automatic updates and background tasks on cellular, and uses standard quality settings for video and FaceTime. This is generally the default mode.
  • Low Data Mode: Helps reduce Wi-Fi and cellular-data usage by pausing automatic updates and background tasks.

Data Roaming

Many carriers around the world support 5G roaming. If your carrier doesn't support 5G roaming, you can get cellular data through 4G or LTE networks or obtain a local SIM card or eSIM with 5G where available.

Contact your carrier for more information.

If you don't see 5G in the status bar

  1. Make sure that you’re in an area with 5G coverage. If you're not sure, contact your carrier.
  2. Go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options. If you don’t see this screen, make sure that your carrier supports 5G.
    Shows the Data Roaming option
  3. Turn on Airplane Mode, then turn it off.
  4. If you still don't have 5G service, contact your carrier.
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