iPhone 12 Supports 5GHz Wi-Fi Over Personal Hotspot


Apple’s newest iPhone 12 models support Personal Hotspot connectivity to guest devices over 5GHz, which provides faster transfer speeds. Previous iPhone models supported Personal Hotspots, but only via 2.4GHz Wi-Fi transfer speeds.

Personal Hotspot feature in iPhones allows users to utilize their smartphone’s cellular data and share it with other devices over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or a wired connection. Historically, all iPhones have created Personal Hotspot connections over 2.4GHz networks, which are supported by the widest range of devices out there.

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Faster 5GHz Wi-Fi Via iPhone 12 Personal Hotspot

All new iPhone 12 models support 5GHz transfer by default when Personal Hotspot is enabled. However, a new toggle labelled ‘Maximize Compatibility’ allows tethering using the slower 2.4GHz Wi-Fi throughput. Apple notes that this will reduce Internet performance for devices connect to your iPhone’s hotspot, at the cost of maximum compatibility. Chances are, if you are using a recent Apple device, you can safely keep this toggled disabled.

iPhone 12 Personal Hotspot

When you connect to your iPhone 12 via Personal Hotspot, you can hold down the option key on your Mac and click on the Wi-Fi icon to see the connectivity speed. It should show 5GHz, similar to the screenshot below.

iPhone 12 5GHz Hotspot

Theoretically, a 5GHz Wi-Fi network can support up to 1300 Mbps transfer speeds. Unless you are in an area with stable 5G network transfer speeds, you might not see benefits from using the 5GHz Personal Hotspot on your tethered devices. Considering that 5G eats through the battery on iPhone 12, you might find it better to tether your Mac via the USB-C to Lightning cable that now ships with every iPhone 12. Not only will it provide consistent transfer speeds without any interference, it will continue charging your iPhone 12 as long as it is connected to the Mac.

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