Danny Guo | 郭亚东

How to Disable 5G for a Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Phone

Updated on  ·  Published on
433 words  ·  ~3 minutes to read
I may earn commissions from purchases made through affiliate links in this post.

I switched to a Samsung Galaxy S21 FE phone, and one of the first things I did was to disable 5G because my understanding is that it can cause a noticeable decrease in battery life, and I’ve never felt a need for speeds faster than what 4G LTE provides anyway. I use an app called Netmonitor to disable 5G. Previously, I used Samsung Band Selection.

Samsung’s own website has a page on the battery drain issue:

At this time, the 5G networks are only used for data connections and are not yet capable of carrying phone calls and messages. Your phone will need to maintain a connection to the 3G or LTE network in addition to the 5G network so that phone calls, text messages, and data will be delivered consistently.

Because your phone is connected to multiple networks simultaneously, the battery will drain faster than one would typically expect, and the phone may get warmer than when solely on 3G or LTE.

There is evidence of this issue for iPhones as well.

I originally expected to turn 5G off through the phone’s settings, but I wasn’t able to because the “Network mode” setting that I’ve seen on my older devices wasn’t there. It seems like Samsung doesn’t want people to be able to easily change the network mode anymore.

Mobile network settings


So now I use Netmonitor to disable 5G. The service menu does give this warning about using only LTE.

Netmonitor warning about using only LTE mode

But I went ahead into phone info.

Netmonitor phone info

The NR in “Set Preferred Network Type” stands for New Radio and refers to 5G. I changed the setting to “LTE/WCDMA”, and that has kept my phone on 4G.

Samsung Band Selection

Before Netmonitor, I used the Samsung Band Selection app. But I eventually got a message saying:

Workaround Needed

In June of 2022, Samsung released a firmware update which blocks public access to the Band Selection screen - unfortunately, your phone is affected, which prevents this app from launching the Band Selection screen directly. However, there are some workarounds available. Like the original solution though, the workarounds aren’t guaranteed to last forever sincer Samsung can revoke them at any point in time.

The message then links to this Reddit post for workarounds. I didn’t try any of them because one of the comments suggested Netmonitor instead. But for posterity, here is how I used Samsung Band Selection:

Samsung Band Selection app

Instead of selecting individual bands, I went into “More Network Settings” and saw the “Preferred network type” setting.

Extra mobile network settings

I changed it from 5G to LTE.

Disabling 5G

And from then on, I only ever saw 4G in the network status.

← How to Use Newlines in an Environment Variable File for Docker How to Use Tasker to Block Spam Phone Calls From a Certain Area Code on Android →

Follow me on Twitter or Mastodon or subscribe to my newsletter or RSS feed for future posts.

Found an error or typo? Feel free to open a pull request on GitHub.