Apple rolls out new dev tool to test 5G switching in iOS 15


Tim Cook seems really excited about 5G. Should you be?
Apple wants developers to take advantage of speedy 5G connectivity.
Photo: Apple

Apple is offering developers a new tool that allows them to test automatic 5G switching in their apps. iOS 15, which makes its public debut this fall, will prioritize 5G over Wi-Fi connectivity when available on compatible devices.

5G can be significantly faster than the average home internet connection — assuming you have good coverage. That makes it ideal for things like movie and music streaming, content downloads, and online gaming.

To take advantage of this in iOS and iPadOS 15, Apple is giving compatible devices the ability to prioritize 5G connectivity when the Wi-Fi network is slow or unprotected. It is encouraging developers to do the same.

Apple lets devs test new 5G feature

A new tool rolled out this week allows developers to test automatic 5G switching on a compatible iPhone or iPad. It can be downloaded using a simple configuration profile, like the iOS and iPadOS 15 betas themselves.

“5G devices running iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 can automatically prioritize connecting via 5G instead of WiFi when the performance of WiFi networks you visit occasionally is slow, or when you are connected to captive or insecure WiFi networks,” Apple explains in the tool’s description.

“Install the 5G Preferred Over Wi-Fi profile (“profile”) on devices running iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 Beta 4 or greater to greatly increase the likelihood of seeing 5G preferred over Wi-Fi connections and to ensure your networking path logic is optimized for situations where 5G will be preferred.”

Apple has already optimized many of its own iPhone and iPad apps for 5G connectivity, and it is now calling on developers to do the same to improve the user experience in iOS and iPadOS 15. The company has also published a guide to unlocking “the power of 5G” in iPhone and iPad apps.

iOS and iPadOS 15 out this fall

iOS and iPadOS 15 are scheduled to make their official debuts this fall. They will be free to download on compatible devices, and public betas of both operating systems are available now for those who don’t want to wait.

5G connectivity is available on all iPhone 12 models, as well as the 2021 iPad Pro with Apple M1 chip.