iOS 5.1 Beta 3 Includes Return Of 3G Toggle Switch


As news emerges from the latest iOS 5 Developer Beta release, MacRumors is reporting on the return of the “Enable 3G” switch (it’s currently absent from the 4S) which allows users to chose between the faster 3G network or the EDGE network using less battery power.

iPhone 4S users will note that this switch is currently missing from their devices, a decision never explained by Apple but thought to be due to Siri, whose helpful, while sassy, voice-enabled assistance does not function well on the EDGE network. A boost in battery life is expected in the update so it’s likely that the return of the switch is meant for battery improvement and does not indicate that Siri’s performance will increase on EDGE.


  • Garret

    On my iphone 4 turning 3g off turns off my whole telus network so I lose service. Is it like this for anyone else?

  • Anonymous

    No. I have the option of turning off my 3G which then puts me on EDGE and I can turn off all cellular data as well.

  • Smoke

    That is because Telus & Bell only have a 3G network, whereas Rogers has a 3G network, but also a 2G network so when you disable 3G if you are on Rogers, you go to EDGE, but if you disable 3G on Telus or Bell, you go to NO SERVICE.

  • My sister will be happy. She only gets EDGE at home (rural North Alberta) so the battery was dying on her new iPhone 4S within 6 hours (trying to find a 3G signal). Maybe this will help fix the over battery issues the 4S has been having (everyone I know with one has been complaining about it).

  • Anonymous

    Bell and Telus use CDMA technology typically.  Rogers uses GSM.  Using a 3g phone on Bell or Telus means you would have no “downgrade” in signal.  If you turn 3G off, you lose all network connectivity, since you’re using a GSM phone on a CDMA network.  Rogers has 3G, but is a GSM network as a “backup”.

  • iphoneuser6875

    GSM and CDMA are completely different technologies.   You cannot use a GSM phone on a CDMA network.   Rogers has both GSM technologies EDGE (slower) 3G (faster).   Bell/Saskel/Telus remained on the CDMA and just recently within the last 2 years implemented 3G thus never installing the edge technology.  When   Telus/bell/Sasktel iPhone’s  loose 3g coverage they don’t have an older edge network to fall back on giving you the “NO SIGNAL”.   It’s bit of give and take…. telus/bell/sasktel have excellent coverage but where there are holes theres nothing… In well populated area’s rogers plans and technology seam cheaper minute/data to price.  Rogers also seams to me to have an edge(no pun intended) to having the latest handsets available.    It is my prediction that rogers beats competing carriers to LTE.  I do however think that the telus/sasktel/bell (which all share partnership towers BTW) has more coverage throughout western canada!  Just my thoughts. 

  • Anonymous

    Exactly my point! Rogers is GSM, Bell/etc. are CDMA.


  • Flaxx

    What burns a phone’s battery the most is transmission, not receiving. When the signal is low, the phone cranks up the transmission power to send acknowledgement (ACK’s). If there is no 3G signal, toggling 3G off will not have an affect on battery life because the phone doesn’t transmit 3G if there’s no tower to talk to. Read on for more details…As for seeking signals, it’s all done at regular intervals (probably every 2 – 3 seconds) by the baseband processor at all of its tuned frequencies. It simply won’t process the 3G frequencies (the same as not having the frequency at all). The only way your sister can save power with respect to signals is enabling airplane mode, which I believe turns off the baseband processor (this could explain why you lose GPS functionality even though there’s no transmission involved with it). Enabling WiFi (even with airplane mode on) turns the baseband back on, it simply won’t process the GSM signals nor transmit.

  • Haliguy

    On Bell with a 4s I simply turn off data in the evening, which I assume turns off 3G as well.  Although msgs are fine it does need the connection for email, who checks that when they sleep!

  • Anonymous

    Hadn’t even noticed that the 3G button was missing.  Too funny.  So far, so good with beta 3 on my 4s, my iPad and my iPad2.  No issues and no new features that I’ve found yet.  I can confirm that the battery life is much improved in 5.1  Probably about a 40-50% increase over 5.01.  Seriously, much better than before.

  • Anonymous

    Turning off 3G only works on Rogers and Fido
    Bell and Telus do not have a 2G network.
    Turning off Data only turns off data. The phone is still operating on the 3G frequencies for voice and related services.

  • Anonymous

    Bell and Telus do not have a 2G GSM network so turning off 3G results in no service.
    Rogers and Fido do have a 2G GSM network so turning it off will work

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps 3G reverts back to CDMA on Bell I believe the 4S is both (world phone).

  • Anonymous

    CDMA is for Verizon and Sprint.
    Bell and Telus don’t utilize the CDMA function of the iPhone.

  • It’s good to hear that you’re getting much better batter life with your 4S on 5.1 beta.  I’m not a developer so hopefully that same improvement translates to the rest of us.

  • Ari

    *SIGH* Bell and Telus have a legacy CDMA network which they used to call “3G” but is more like 2.5G in speed.

    Now Bell and Telus are pushing their HSPA+ network which they launched just before the 2010 Winter Olympics (around November 2009) which is when the iPhone arrived on Bell and Telus as an HSPA handset. All iPhones activated in Canada including the new iPhone 4S (world phone) are activated as HSPA+ handsets on all carriers.

    This differs from the US where CDMA carriers are still pushing their CDMA service “3G” and decided to skip HSPA and go to LTE. The problem with LTE handsets is that early ones were hybrid LTE data/CDMA voice because LTE voice was not ready at launch and because Verizon was greedy/impatient to tout having LTE first.