How to Disable 5G for a Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Phone
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 used an app called Samsung Band Selection to disable 5G.
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. I don't know if it's because I bought an unlocked phone, or maybe Samsung doesn't want people to be able to change the network mode in general anymore.
As a workaround, I found the Samsung Band Selection app.
Instead of selecting individual bands, I went into "More Network Settings" and saw the "Preferred network type" setting.
I changed it from 5G to LTE.
And that has worked as expected. When I first got the phone, I saw the 5G symbol in the top bar. Now I only ever see 4G.