Consumer Electronics

What's Up With Apple: 5G Real-World Speeds, Security Updates for Older iPhones, New iOS 14.5 Beta

Now that the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 12 models have been on the market for a while, it’s time to get a reading on how the devices perform in the real world. How does the iPhone 12 compare to competing devices from Samsung, Google and others?

Mobile network experience research firm Opensignal presented on Monday its first report on how the iPhone 12 stacks up. The firm collects billions of measurements daily from more than 100 million devices that are being used for normal mobile communications activities. Opensignal measures actual end-to-end performance, from a content delivery network to a personal device.

According to Opensignal data, iPhone 12 users saw the biggest gains in network speeds among all smartphone brands. Yet, the fastest speeds were experienced by users of Samsung devices.


The iPhone 12 increased users’ download speeds by 2.3 times, much better than any of the other device makers. However, the firm started from the slowest 4G download speed, 18.9 megabits per second (Mbps), a full 10 Mbps slower than LG devices. Google devices were the 4G smartphones with the fastest 4G download speeds and 5G increased their performance by 1.4 times.

The following chart shows download speeds for every iPhone from the iPhone 5s through the 12 Pro Max.

Opensignal expects a similar performance boost for the iPad Pro when that device is next upgraded. Users should see speeds “at least as fast as iPhone 12 users,” according to the firm.

Code sleuths at 9to5Mac on Monday reported finding code in the pre-release version of iOS 14.5 that suggests “a major policy shift that would allow users to download security patches separately from operating system updates.”

The change would let users of older iPhones that do not use the latest iOS software update to upgrade just their phones’ security software. By moving the security software to a standalone package, users who prefer to stick with the older devices could keep their phones up-to-date with the latest security patches.

Speaking of iOS 14.5, MacRumors reported Monday that Apple has shipped the fourth beta version of the new operating system to developers. These are the versions of the iPhone and iPad operating systems that support unlocking a device even if you’re wearing a mask and the transparency tracking feature that has gotten up in Facebook’s nose. MacRumors has a full rundown of what to expect in iOS 14.5.