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Apple Has Changed The Way 5G And Mobile Data Works On The New iPad Pro, So You Don’t Waste Data


Last Updated: May 25, 2021, 08:10 IST

Apple Has Changed The Way 5G And Mobile Data Works On The New iPad Pro, So You Don’t Waste Data

The new Apple iPad Pro 5G settings gives you better control over data use. Android tablets or Windows 10 convertibles have not been able to offer this, thus far.

The new Apple iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Pro 12.9-inch are now available for order on the Apple India Online Store, and deliveries should be starting sometime next month. It might be a long wait for you if you’re waiting patiently for your next cool computing device, but there might be something you need to keep in mind if you’ve ordered the iPad Pro 11-inch or the iPad Pro 12.9-inch in the Wi-Fi + Cellular option. Apple has changed a few things around with regards to how mobile data, specifically 5G, works and the settings that are available for a user. The 5G bit may be somewhat immediately relevant for you if you intend to travel with the new iPad Pro to countries that already offer 5G mobile networks, or in the longer term when 5G mobile networks eventually roll out in India, expected this year.

As a user, you’ll have more control over how much you want to rely on 5G for your data usage, including the Smart Data mode, as well as how much data to consume when actually on a 5G network. Apple has detailed this in a new support document, which applies to the latest generation iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad Pro 11, both powered by the new Apple M1 chip, also seen in the Apple MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro 13 and the new Apple iMac 24-inch. For starters, you’ll see three different 5G icons in the status bar, depending on certain conditions. The “5G” icon means your mobile service provider’s 5G service is available on the iPad. The “5G+” icon means that the iPad is connected to a higher frequency of the 5G network at that time, though this will specifically depend on whether the mobile service provider has enabled multiple frequencies in that region, at that time. And finally, if you see the “5GUW” icon, with U and W placed vertically after 5G, that means the iPad is connected with the 5G mmWave Ultra-Wideband network. Speeds and experience will vary depending on frequency and strength of the network, indoors or outdoors. It is expected that the mmWave support will be relevant for US networks at this time, with a wider global rollout expected.

It is not clear right now which 5G bands will be available in India for mobile service providers, when services do eventually go Live for trials and for commercial use. Yet, it is rare to see rival Android tablets offer such fine control over mobile data usage, for the times when you may not be connected with Wi-Fi networks at home or office. The Windows 10 convertibles do not have detailed mobile data network settings as part of the package, considering SIM connectivity being integrated in laptops is still a fairly new development, and is yet to really catch on and become a standard option with new laptops. Yet, the ability to control and limit data usage on mobile networks and 5G will help users who do not have unlimited data usage plans, something that is anyway still rare on 4G and 5G data plans, even though data costs in India have reduced significantly over the past few years. Some of these settings will be available for 4G and LTE networks as well, much like how it is on the Apple iPhone and most Android phones, to save data.

The other settings with mobile data will dictate data consumption and the quality of streaming and video calls. You need to head to Settings > Cellular Data > Cellular Data Options and choose between 5G On, 5G Auto and LTE modes. 5G Auto will be the default setting for 5G networks and this is the Smart Data mode that is already available on the iPhone 12 series. Here, the iPad will determine, based on your usage, whether you need to connect with 5G networks or save battery and switch to LTE. This can be either in case the 5G network at that time isn’t appreciably better than LTE or your data requirements at the time don’t demand 5G speeds. As the name suggests, leaving 5G On means 5G will be the default network state at all times as long as cellular network is enabled and available. If you go to Settings > Cellular > Data Mode, you’ll have further granular settings that’ll determine the user-experience for video streaming and video calls. If you set this on Standard, you’ll be able to use the iPad as you may have always had on cellular networks, with a slight reduction in the video streaming resolution as well as FaceTime video call quality, to prioritize stability and smoothness over quality but an interrupted experience. If you choose the Allow More Data On 5G option, you’ll be able to stream video and do FaceTime video calls at the highest quality settings, on a 5G mobile network. The Low Data Mode, as the name suggests, is what you need to enable if the data speeds or the coverage isn’t optimum or you don’t have a lot of bundled mobile data with your subscription—this will turn of all unessential data pinging options and reduce data usage across apps.

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