What those symbols on your iPhone REALLY mean – including mysterious ‘E’

IPHONES have so many random symbols it’s quite hard to keep up with them all.

Except, they’re not random at all and have an important meaning – especially if you want to truly understand what your connection is up to.

Some are more obvious, like 5G, 4G and 3G, but what about that mysterious E or even 5G UC?

What does 5G/4G/3G mean?

These are the most common network speeds you should see on your iPhone.

5G is the latest generation of connectivity so you’re onto a winner if it’s showing, as you’ll be getting the fastest data you can hope for.

4G is still the main connectivity speed, which, when strong, gets things done at a fairly reasonable speed.

3G is the old generation and quite slow, you won’t get data-hungry tasks like streaming video with this one.

What does the E symbol mean?

E is never good news.

It stands for EDGE (which itself means Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution).

The “E” symbol on your iPhone’s status bar stands for “EDGE,” which is basically 2G service. By today’s standards, EDGE is very slow, and you must be in an area that doesn’t offer 3G or LTE service. EDGE is only used in GSM networks (in the United States, that would be AT&T, T-Mobile, etc), not CDMA networks (in the U.S, that would be Verizon, Sprint, etc).

To ordinary folk, it stands for extremely slow speeds that’ll barely manage to load a web page. In technical terms, we’re look at speeds between 120Kbps to 384Kbps, which is seriously slow indeed.

What does 5G E mean?

5G E stands for 5G Evolution – but don’t be fooled.

It was started by US network AT&T in the lead up to 5G and isn’t actually 5G at all, it’s 4G.

Other networks in the States were up in arms about it, complaining it was false advertising.

AT&T has since began offering real 5G, so you don’t really see 5G E banded about anymore.

What does GPRS mean?

GPRS stands for General Packet Radio Service.

It indicates the absolute slowest speeds you can get on your phone.

What does LTE mean?

LTE is an abbreviation for Long-Term Evolution.

It’s a type of 4G technology, but in speed terms is slightly slow than full 4G.

It’s still faster than the snail speeds of 3G though.

What is 5G+?

5G+ is another one to come out of AT&T, which it uses to distinguish between its version of 5G and others.

What is 5G UW?

The UW stands for Ultra Wideband.

It is US firm Verizon’s take on 5G, which uses a so-called high-band network.

What is 5G UC?

UC means Ultra Capacity.

It’s basically another variant of 5G connectivity.

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