The capability is not explained in Apple’s marketing materials, nor is the functionality explained in iOS. Zollo, however, confirmed that a new “Maximize Compatibility” option manages switching between the two bands.
“Internet performance may be reduced for devices connected to your access point when they are turned on,” according to the feature description.
While the warning is vague, Zollo says the setting moves the Personal Hotspot to the 2.4GHz band to allow compatibility with a wider range of devices. Disabling the option likely locks iPhone 12 handsets into 5 GHz Wi-Fi mode for faster data transmission.
The addition is expected to prove beneficial for users in areas where 5G cellular connectivity is being rolled out. Currently, most locations with 5G are limited to bands below 6 GHz with speeds comparable to existing 4G LTE networks. Some urban areas, however, get a taste of the fast mmWave bands and will be able to take advantage of the iPhone 12’s faster hotspot.
Apple’s iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max support mmWave, but only in the U.S. To enable protocol access, home iPhones incorporate a special mmWave antenna window that resides in a cutout below the side button.