How to switch to 2G, 3G or LTE for Cellular data on your iPhone

Apple released iOS 8.1 on Monday, October 20 with a number of bug fixes, improvements and new features.  iOS 8.1 also addressed one of the major annoyances for users in some countries where there is still poor 3G or 4G LTE coverage by giving users an option to switch to 2G, 3G or LTE.

Since there are still quite a few areas in some countries that have poor 3G coverage, iPhone users who lived in such areas used to disable 3G to extend their iPhone’s battery life, and relied on the slower 2G (EDGE) connection, which was possible in iOS 7 or earlier. So they were annoyed when the option to disable 3G was not present after upgrading to iOS 8.

As mentioned in the release notes, Apple has added an option to select between 2G, 3G or LTE for cellular data. It’s quite simple, here’s how to switch to 2G, 3G or LTE for cellular data:

Note: This option is available only in iOS 8.1 or higher.

  • Launch the Settings app.
  • Tap on Cellular/Mobile.
  • Then tap on Voice & Data.
iOS 8.1 Cellular Settings - Voice & Data
  • Tap on either LTE, 3G or 2G from the list of options.
iOS 8.1 Cellular Settings

That’s it. Your iPhone should now use the appropriate mobile speed for cellular data.

We’ve received quite a few complaints from our readers that they’re not seeing the Voice & Data option. I’m not sure why exactly everyone is not seeing this option. This could be related to your carrier. You may want to check if there are any new Carrier Settings that you need to download to address the issue.

Update Carrier Settings

To manually check if a new Carrier Settings is available for download, connection your iPhone running iOS 8.1 to the computer, launch iTunes and click on the “Check of Updates”. If there is a new Carrier Settings, then you should get the following popup informing you that “An update to the carrier settings for your iPhone is available”. Click on Download and Update button to install the new carrier settings.

You should get an option to update carrier settings automatically, but you can check it manually like this. If you’ve the latest carrier settings, then you’ll get a message telling you that “This version of the iPhone software is the current version.”

Carrier Update

If that doesn’t help then you may want to contact your carrier to find out how to fix the issue. You can find the version number of the carrier settings in the Settings app (Settings > About > Version).

Let me know how it goes in the comments.

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