iOS 5.1: iPhone 4S is Now Considered a 4G Phone – What You Should Know

 iPhone 4S 4G

Users with an iPhone 4S who downloaded the latest firmware, iOS 5.1, may notice something different about their handset. The device now has a 4G icon right where the older ‘3G’ used to be displayed. The iOS 5.1 changelog did make a mention of an update to the AT&T network indicator with the iPhone 4S, but nothing more was mentioned. This is what they were talking about.

As it turns out, the iPhone 4S does feature a 14.4mbps HSPA+ data connection. This, as Gizmodo explains, is fast enough to legally call it 4G. However, they do note that they consider it “FauxG” as not “real” 4G.


What to Know

Don’t get excited just yet, fellow iPhone owner. This doesn’t really mean anything. The only thing that’s changed about the iPhone 4S is the little indicator at the top-left. The handset still runs at the same speed, and is still the same iPhone 4S you picked up in October. Back when the handset was announced, Apple mentioned that the new device would feature a faster connection speed than previous models and they made a mention saying that those numbers are usually thrown around in 4G advertising. Basically, they were claiming 4G speeds without saying the handset was a 4G phone.

The real thing to keep in mind here is that your iPhone 4S is not any faster than it was yesterday.


Why the change?

Right now it’s not entirely clear what 4G constitutes, it seems. It’s still a bit debatable, but carriers to advertise those HSPA+ speeds as 4G. Perhaps Apple wanted to do this all along, but needed the software update to change the icon. Maybe they just wanted us all to shut up about a 4G iPhone.


Have You Downloaded iOS 5.1 Yet?

Have you downloaded iOS 5.1 yet? (which has been jailbroken, by the way) We notice that the over-the-air (OTA) update went very well for us. It was much more convenient than having to download the software on our compute then install it on our iPhone. It also worked well for the iPad. We are loving the new camera on the lock screen feature. It’s much more convenient than having to hit the camera icon twice. We simply wake our phone and swipe up on our screen. Nice.

Other than that, we haven’t noticed any major issues or fixes, but that’s just through regular use and no real deep-diving.

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