Testing 5G: What 5G Speeds Will Be Like When the 2020 iPhones Launch

Apple isn't planning to launch a 5G iPhone until 2020, but carriers in the United States and other smartphone manufacturers like Samsung are already testing 5G, which offers download speeds that are much faster than 4G.

Verizon invited MacRumors to Chicago to test its 5G network, giving us an idea of what 5G speeds will be like when we can use 5G networks on our iPhones in 2020.


Because there aren't iPhones compatible with 5G networks, we tested 5G speeds in Chicago with an LG V50 and a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, two smartphones that are Android-based.

Verizon has 5G in a few cities right now, in a limited number of locations, which is why we needed to visit Chicago to test it out. Verizon and other carriers are working on the 5G rollout, but it's a slow process that's still going to be ongoing even when 5G iPhones launch.

There are several 5G nodes scattered across Chicago right now, in the downtown area and in popular tourist areas near Willis Tower and the famous Bean.

In our testing with a 5G Android phone, we were able to hit download speeds of close to 2Gb/s, which is incredible compared to 4G LTE speeds. Near 2Gb/s was the fastest speed we saw, but since 5G is still new and still rolling out, there were inconsistencies.

Sometimes, a speed test on 5G could be under 100Mb/s, and then a retest right after would reach close to 1Gb/s. That's not unexpected because Verizon is using mmWave 5G that's super speedy, but can be impacted by nearby buildings, trees, windows, and sometimes, even heat from direct sunlight.

Verizon and other carriers have a lot of work to do on their 5G rollouts before 5G transfer speeds are ubiquitous, and even then, the highest speeds will be limited to urban areas due to the limitations of mmWave spectrum.

5G speeds in real world usage are impressive and are going to make the next-generation iPhones amazing. Streaming music and movies worked flawlessly, and we were even able to download an episode of Stranger Things (200 to 300MB) from Netflix in just a few seconds. PUBG, a 2Gb mobile game, downloaded nearly instantaneously on a 5G connection.

So when the 5G iPhones launch in 2020 and you're able to connect to a 5G network, you can expect flawless streaming, super fast download speeds for movies and games, instantly loading web pages, and more.

Verizon is still working on upload speeds, which are basically still relying on 4G and not taking advantage of 5G, but eventually, uploading content will be just as speedy.

Android manufacturers are rolling out 5G smartphones this year to be first, but iPhone users aren't likely missing much having to wait until 2020 just because 5G networks are still so limited and connectivity is still spotty as carriers like Verizon work to build out the connectivity.

Right now, Verizon is rolling out 5G to 30 cities, and it's available in Denver, Minneapolis, Providence, St. Paul, and Chicago, where we tested. It’s not really clear what 5G pricing will be at when it’s more widely available from all of the major carriers, but Verizon is so far saying it will be a $10 add-on to unlimited plans that currently start at $85 for a single line, although Verizon is waiving that fee during the early stages of the rollout.

For more on the ‌5G iPhone‌, the benefits of 5G, and how 5G will work, make sure to check out our 5G iPhone guide.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Jimmy Bubbles Avatar
37 months ago
Do people realize that 5G will require more towers, closer together? Everyone seems to gloss over the health & safety affects.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
37 months ago
I honestly still don't know why is it so necessary 5G, when 4G+ is already giving us 300Mbps speeds...

Maybe on highly populated areas it will manage better lots of connections... That's the only benefit I can see. I'm happy with my 4G connection anyway.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
37 months ago
Streaming music and movies worked flawlessly,
... for 20-25 good minutes 'til Carl burned through his data allotment for the month and his network reverted to 2G.:p:D
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
realtuner Avatar
37 months ago
Meaningless. Network/download speeds aren't the limiting factor in how our devices work/perform. LTE is already very fast and has much better coverage than 5G will (for several years).

This is just another feature that will be overhypoed as necessary when it will make practically no difference to the consumer.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jim Lahey Avatar
37 months ago
Not in the least bit interested in 5G on a phone. Or rather I’m not waiting for it. I’ve never once found myself twiddling my thumbs waiting for 4G to deliver anything that I would be doing with a mobile device.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ZacNicholson Avatar
37 months ago
Alex Jones told me this will cause cancer.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
iPad Pro USB C Feature Coral

Deals: Apple's iPad Pro Reaches Up to $449 Off in Amazon's Latest Sales

Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:09 am PDT by
Amazon is marking down a wide variety of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models this week, with prices starting as low as $749.00 for the 11-inch tablet. You'll find the full list of sales below, all of which can be found on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep...
apple account card

Wallet App Now Supports Apple Account Cards on iOS 15.5

Wednesday May 25, 2022 5:01 pm PDT by
Apple appears to have recently updated the Wallet app to allow users to add an Apple Account Card, which displays the Apple credit balance associated with an Apple ID. If you receive an App Store or Apple Store gift card, for example, it is added to an Apple Account that was previously visible in the App Store and Apple Store apps. As of today, the Apple Account balance can also be added to...
Apple Tap to Pay iPhone

Apple Stores Rolling Out iPhone-to-iPhone Contactless Payments Starting Today

Wednesday May 25, 2022 6:54 am PDT by
Apple in February unveiled a new "Tap to Pay on iPhone" feature that will allow compatible iPhones to accept payments via Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, with no additional hardware required. Apple began testing the feature at its Apple Park Visitor Center earlier this month, and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has tweeted that the feature will begin...
apple wwdc 2022

Apple Shares WWDC 2022 Schedule, Keynote to Take Place June 6 at 10:00 a.m PT

Tuesday May 24, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
Apple today confirmed that the keynote event for the Worldwide Developers Conference will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 6, the first day of WWDC. The keynote will be an online-only event, though a select number of developers have been invited to the Apple Park campus for a viewing event. In addition to confirming the keynote date and time, Apple has shared the full WWDC 2022...