The status bar on your smartphone is useful to see the network you’re connected to and the network strength. For example, you might be in an area with poor coverage and instead of getting LTE, you’re getting 3G. These are useful things to know, but with the iPhone 12, that might be harder to ascertain.
It appears that with the iPhone 12, Apple is tweaking the way the status bar behaves. During a review of the iPhone 12 by The Verge, Dieter Bohn notes that Apple is introducing a new feature called Smart Data Mode. What this does is that in a bid to help preserve battery life, especially given that 5G can be a battery drain, Apple will drop the handset’s connectivity to LTE until iOS decides that 5G connectivity is needed.
While we can appreciate the feature, however, the problem is that even in the instance that you’re not on 5G, the status bar will continue to show 5G, even if you’re connected to LTE. This means that instead of your status bar letting you know what connection you’re on, it will simply show you the best possible connection you could, in theory, get, as opposed to what you’re actually getting.
It is unclear why Apple has tweaked the status bar in this way, but it seems to only affect Apple’s 5G enabled iPhones, so everyone else without a 5G iPhone shouldn’t be affected by these changes.