Does iPhone 12 support ax?

The iPhone 12 is the latest flagship smartphone from Apple, released in October 2020. One of the new features of the iPhone 12 is support for ax Wi-Fi, the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology.

Does iPhone 12 support ax?

What is ax Wi-Fi?

ax, also known as Wi-Fi 6, is the newest Wi-Fi standard that was finalized in 2019. It builds on previous standards like 802.11ac while delivering faster speeds, increased capacity, better performance in dense environments like large public venues, and improved power efficiency over Wi-Fi 5.

Some of the key improvements of ax Wi-Fi include:

  • Faster top speeds – ax supports theoretical maximum speeds reaching up to 9.6 Gbps which is nearly 3x faster than 802.11ac. Real-world speeds will be lower but still faster than Wi-Fi 5.
  • Higher throughput – Allows more data to be transferred at one time and supports efficient transmission to multiple devices concurrently.
  • Improved efficiency – Uses technologies like orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) and 1024-QAM to transmit more data while using less power.
  • Backwards compatibility – ax devices are backwards compatible with older Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 4 gear.
  • Better performance in crowded areas – Technologies like MU-MIMO allow simultaneous transmission to multiple devices instead of just one client at a time. Spatial reuse and coordination help reduce latency.

Does iPhone 12 support ax Wi-Fi?

Yes, all models in the iPhone 12 lineup fully support ax Wi-Fi:

  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 marks the first generation of iPhones to support the new ax standard, joining other flagship smartphones released in 2020 with ax capabilities.

Previous iPhones dating back to the iPhone 5 were compatible with earlier Wi-Fi versions like 802.11n and 802.11ac. By adding compatibility with ax, the iPhone 12 will be able to take advantage of faster Wi-Fi speeds and experiences going forward as the new standard becomes more widely adopted.

Benefits of ax Wi-Fi on iPhone 12

Here are some of the benefits that iPhone 12 users will experience thanks to ax support:

Faster top speeds

Under ideal conditions, ax Wi-Fi can deliver speeds up to 3x faster than 802.11ac. This means the iPhone 12 could potentially reach speeds up to 9.6Gbps in environments with compatible ax routers or access points.

Real-world speeds will depend on factors like distance, obstacles, network congestion, and quality of service, but you can still expect noticeably faster downloads, streaming, and syncing compared to Wi-Fi 5.

Better performance in public venues

Places like airports, stadiums, and conference centers can have a high density of users connected to the same Wi-Fi network. All this activity can slow down connections speeds.

ax’s improved efficiency and ability to simultaneously transmit to multiple devices will help the iPhone 12 maintain faster, more reliable connections in crowded public places with many active users on the network.

Lower latency for online gaming

Latency refers to any kind of delay in a network. Lower latency results in more responsive connections which is especially important for online gaming and real-time communication apps.

The enhancements in ax improve latency metrics compared to older Wi-Fi versions. Gamers will notice smoother online gameplay and more responsive controls when playing multiplayer games on iPhone 12.

Extended range

Some of the new technical enhancements allow ax signals to travel further than before. By supporting ax, the Wi-Fi range on iPhone 12 will be extended so you can maintain connections even at farther distances from routers or access points before the signal drops.

Higher network capacity

ax Wi-Fi has greater total network capacity which means more devices can connect successfully to the network simultaneously without degrading the performance. This helps in situations like college dorms or apartment buildings with many active devices using the Wi-Fi network concurrently.

Improved IoT device performance

The ax standard was designed not just for phones and laptops but also Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart home tech and wearables that often rely on Wi-Fi connectivity. iPhone 12 users with multiple connected IoT devices will benefit from ax’s ability to handle many simultaneous device connections efficiently.

Power efficiency

Though ax is faster, some of its advanced technologies actually optimize transmission to use less power compared to prior Wi-Fi versions. Less strain on the battery means iPhone 12 users can browse longer while retaining more battery charge, especially for power-hungry tasks like HD streaming.

Requirements to take advantage of ax Wi-Fi

To experience the speed, performance, and capacity benefits of ax Wi-Fi requires having:

  • A ax-compatible router – To create an ax wireless network requires a wireless router or access point that supports the ax standard. Examples include the Linksys AX6000 or NETGEAR Nighthawk AX8.
  • ax support on other devices – The devices connecting to the network need ax radios to connect to an ax network. The iPhone 12 will be able to connect but other devices in your home like smart TVs or laptops will need ax compatibility to fully take advantage of the improvements.

For the fastest ax multi-gigabit speeds, upgraded broadband service or fiber connectivity may be required depending on what your internet provider offers.

While you can connect an iPhone 12 to an older 802.11ac or 802.11n network, you won’t get the full benefit of the faster ax speeds unless all hardware support ax.

Real-world ax performance

Independent testing from reviewers confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup with support for ax Wi-Fi is faster than prior iPhones. However, real-world ax performance depends on your networking environment:

  • With an ideal setup – meaning gigabit or multi-gigabit broadband service, the latest ax compatible router, and minimal interference – iPhone 12 ax speeds can reach up to 40% faster than iPhone 11 which topped out at around 500Mbps.
  • On a typical ax home network, the iPhone 12 can get around 600-900Mbps on 5GHz compared to 400-500Mbps on iPhone 11. Actual throughput will be lower depending on internet speeds.
  • When connecting to public ax hotspots, the performance improvements are even more noticeable with 2-3x faster speeds thanks to optimized transmission to multiple clients.
  • If connecting to older 802.11ac or 802.11n Wi-Fi, there is no ax speed benefit and performance will be similar to an iPhone 11 or iPhone XS.

So while the iPhone 12 hardware itself supports the latest ax standard, real-world Wi-Fi speeds will vary based on your specific network setup and environment. In many cases, upgrading to an ax compatible router or access point will be required to notice the speed boost.

What about 5G?

The iPhone 12 lineup also introduces 5G connectivity which brings its own speed and performance benefits separate from the improvements of ax Wi-Fi.

Some key differences:

  • 5G delivers ultrafast speeds when out and about, away from Wi-Fi hotspots. But speeds drop significantly indoors and in areas with poor 5G signals. There are also coverage gaps where 5G is not available.
  • ax Wi-Fi provides reliably fast performance indoors within your home or business Wi-Fi network. But outside your own network, public ax hotspot coverage is still limited.
  • 5G is a cellular technology while Wi-Fi operates on a local network level. Using 5G does not require an ax router, and vice versa, having an ax router does not provide 5G.

The iPhone 12 supports both 5G and ax to deliver the best wireless performance based on your connectivity needs:

  • 5G for ultrafast on-the-go internet accessing cellular networks.
  • ax Wi-Fi for fast connectivity within your home, office, or public hotspots on Wi-Fi networks.

So ax Wi-Fi is not a replacement for 5G on the iPhone 12. The two technologies complement each other with ax enhancing Wi-Fi connectivity and 5G boosting cellular speeds. Having both means faster wireless across more scenarios.

Setting up ax Wi-Fi on iPhone 12

Here is how to set up and start using ax Wi-Fi on your iPhone 12:

  1. Upgrade your router – First, if needed, upgrade your Wi-Fi router or access point to one that supports 802.11ax. Popular models include the NETGEAR Nighthawk AX8 or Linksys AX6000.
  2. Update router firmware – Log into your router admin interface and check if there are any firmware updates available. Keeping the router firmware up-to-date will ensure ax compatibility.
  3. Create a 5GHz ax network – Via the router admin, you can choose to broadcast your network in the 5GHz frequency band which supports faster speeds. Make sure the network mode is set to ax only instead of any legacy modes.
  4. Connect your iPhone – On your iPhone 12, go to Settings > Wi-Fi and select the 5GHz ax network from the list of available connections. Your iPhone 12 will automatically connect to the ax network.
  5. Verify ax connection – To confirm the ax connection, go to Settings > Wi-Fi > tap the “i” icon next to your network name. Under “PHY Mode” it should say “802.11ax” indicating an ax connection.
  6. Enjoy faster speeds – With the ax network setup, you can now take advantage of improved performance from your iPhone 12 when browsing, streaming, downloading, gaming, and more!

Setting up a dedicated 5GHz ax network and connecting your iPhone 12 to it is the ideal way to unlock the fastest ax speeds. Make sure all your ax capable devices are connecting to this modern Wi-Fi network.

Key Takeaways

  • The iPhone 12 lineup fully supports the latest ax Wi-Fi standard, also known as Wi-Fi 6.
  • ax provides faster top speeds up to 9.6Gbps, higher throughput, lower latency, and better performance in crowded environments versus older Wi-Fi 5.
  • Real-world ax speeds on iPhone 12 range from 600-900Mbps on typical home ax networks. Performance jumps 2-3x when connecting to public ax hotspots.
  • To benefit from ax Wi-Fi requires compatible hardware including an ax router/access point and ax support on connected devices like iPhone 12.
  • iPhone 12 also supports 5G for cellular connectivity that is separate from improvements to Wi-Fi provided by ax support.
  • Setting up a dedicated 5GHz ax network and connecting iPhone 12 to it will deliver the fastest Wi-Fi speeds and best user experience.


The addition of ax Wi-Fi support on iPhone 12 is a welcome improvement that helps Apple catch up with the latest Wi-Fi standard used by flagship Android phones.

With ax capability, iPhone 12 owners will enjoy significantly faster Wi-Fi speeds and better performance when connecting to modern ax networks, especially public hotspots. Real-world speeds are dependant on your network environment and hardware but with the right setup, you can expect up to 2-3x faster downloads and smoother streaming.

ax provides benefits like higher throughput and lower latency even with older broadband internet plans. But upgrading to multi-gig fiber internet will let you experience the highest multi-gigabit wireless speeds ax enables.

Wi-Fi connectivity continues to improve thanks to new standards like ax. Support for the latest ax Wi-Fi ensures your new iPhone 12 will deliver the best wireless performance both now and into the future as ax usage grows. Faster Wi-Fi complements the expanded 5G connectivity also introduced with the iPhone 12.

Frequently Asked Questions about iPhone 12 ax Wi-Fi

Q: What does ax stand for?
A: ax stands for 802.11ax and is a common alternative name for Wi-Fi 6, the latest generation Wi-Fi standard.

Q: Is ax the same as Wi-Fi 6?
A: Yes, ax and Wi-Fi 6 refer to the same Wi-Fi standard. ax is the technical name while Wi-Fi 6 is the marketing name.

Q: How much faster is ax versus ac Wi-Fi?
A: ax can theoretically deliver speeds up to 3x faster than the previous 802.11ac standard. Real-world speeds will be lower but still faster, especially in congested networks.

Q: Will my iPhone 12 be faster on a ax network?
A: Yes, connecting your iPhone 12 to a compatible ax router or access point will provide increased Wi-Fi speeds and performance compared to older Wi-Fi 5 or 4 networks.

Q: What routers support ax Wi-Fi?
A: Leading ax compatible routers include the NETGEAR Nighthawk AX8, Linksys AX6000, ASUS RT-AX88U, and TP-Link AX11000.

Q: Do I need a new router to use ax Wi-Fi?
A: To create an ax wireless network requires a router or access point that supports 802.11ax. Many newer routers support ax alongside older standards.

Q: Does the iPhone 12 support the 6GHz band?
A: No, the iPhone 12 currently only supports 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. The 6GHz band will be supported in future devices.

Q: Is ax or 5G better?
A: 5G and ax serve different purposes. 5G delivers faster cellular data when mobile while ax provides faster Wi-Fi speeds when connecting to a local network.

Q: Can iPhone 12 take advantage of WPA3?
A: Yes, iPhone 12 supports the latest WPA3 Wi-Fi security protocol when connecting to a WPA3 enabled network.

Q: How do I set up ax Wi-Fi on my iPhone 12?
A: Upgrade to an ax compatible router, update firmware, create a dedicated 5GHz ax network, and connect your iPhone 12 to start experiencing faster speeds.

Q: What is MU-MIMO?
A: Multi-user MIMO allows transmitting data to multiple devices simultaneously rather than one-at-a-time, improving network efficiency.

Q: Will my iPhone 12 battery drain faster on ax Wi-Fi?
A: No, ax implementations actually improve battery life by transmitting data more efficiently. But higher streaming speeds can impact battery if you stream more.

Q: Can I use ax on 2.4GHz networks?
A: ax can work on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands but performs best on 5GHz networks.

Q: Do I need an unlimited data plan to use ax Wi-Fi?
A: No, your cellular data plan does not affect Wi-Fi speeds. ax provides faster wireless performance when connecting to a local Wi-Fi network.

Q: Does distance from my router affect ax performance?
A: Yes, like any Wi-Fi the speeds and performance will degrade the farther away your iPhone 12 is from your wireless router or access point.

Q: Can older devices connect to an ax network?
A: Yes, ax Wi-Fi is backwards compatible, so older devices using Wi-Fi 4/5 can still connect to an ax network but won’t get the full ax speeds.

Q: Is WPA3 the same as ax security?
A: No WPA3 and ax are separate – WPA3 is the latest security protocol and ax is the newest Wi-Fi generation. But WPA3 can be used on modern ax networks.

Q: Will connecting to ax drain my iPhone battery faster?
A: No, ax is more efficient than older Wi-Fi versions and won’t drain your battery faster. Faster streaming speeds may use more power but ax itself improves battery life.

Q: Is ax available globally?
A: ax rollout is still ongoing but major countries have access. Check with your local mobile and internet providers regarding ax support in your area.

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