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How to activate 4G LTE on your Android smartphone

Ensure your phone is running on the most accessible 4G LTE networks.
By
October 6, 2023

Most phones rely on 4G LTE for the bulk of their service these days. Even 5G devices spend a good chunk of time on the older, more reliable network. What happens if 4G LTE isn’t working on your phone? Is there an easy way to fix the problem? Yes, here’s how to activate 4G LTE on your phone.

While 4G LTE should automatically activate on its own, in some cases, it doesn’t. Because some smartphones may have different ways to activate 4G, we are breaking down the specifics on accessing the faster network speeds for a few more popular phone makers.

What is 4G, anyway?

4G is the fourth generation of cellular data technology. It came to replace 3G and started gaining adoption in late 2009. Since then, 4G has become the standard in most markets. While it’s getting replaced by the newer 5G technology, 4G is still the backbone of many networks worldwide.

There are two main types of 4G: LTE and HSPA+. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is the best 4G solution, with theoretical data speeds of up to 300Mbps. In comparison, HSPA+ speeds usually top off at around 100Mbps. That said, 100Mbps can be more than good enough for most casual users and is known for being much more battery efficient.

QUICK ANSWER

Activate 4G LTE on stock Android 13 devices by going to Settings > Network & internet > SIMs > Preferred network type, and select LTE (or 5G, which also activates 4G).


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Turn on 4G LTE on Google phones

google pixel 8 pro rear bay blue 2 - How to activate 4G LTE
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

You enjoy the simplest, cleanest Android UI experience if you have a Google Pixel phone. Doing anything is simple, and so is turning 4G LTE on.

How to activate 4G LTE on Google phones:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Network & internet.
  3. Select your primary SIM in SIMs.
  4. Tap on Preferred network type.
  5. Pick LTE (or 5G, which also activates 4G).

Note: We used a Google Pixel 7 running Android 13 to come up with these steps. Some steps may differ depending on your specific device and software version.

Turn on 4G LTE on Samsung phones

Samsung Galaxy S22 rear panel angled oni book - How to activate 4G LTE
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung is one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers globally, so we know plenty of you will need help activating 4G LTE on Samsung phones.

How to activate 4G LTE on Samsung phones:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Connections.
  3. Select Mobile networks.
  4. Tap on Network mode.
  5. Select at least LTE/3G/2G. You can also turn on the 5G option.

Note: We used a Samsung Galaxy S23 running Android 13 to come up with these steps. Some steps may differ depending on your specific device and software version.

Turn on 4G LTE on Sony phones

Sony Xperia 1 V back angled - How to activate 4G LTE
Harley Maranan / Android Authority

Have you got yourself a Sony phone? These are very powerful phones, and usually very expensive, so let’s make the most of them with faster data speeds.

How to activate 4G LTE on Sony phones:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Network & internet.
  3. Select SIM / Mobile network.
  4. Tap on Preferred network type.
  5. Select at least 4G/3G/2G.

Note: We used a Sony Xperia 1 IV running Android 13 to come up with these steps. Some steps may differ depending on your specific device and software version.

Turn on 4G LTE on ASUS phones

ASUS ROG Phone 7 back standing Tetris lights
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

ASUS is the king of gaming phones and offers some great value handsets. It would be best if you had good data speeds to match the great hardware.

How to activate 4G LTE on ASUS phones:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Network & internet.
  3. Tap on Internet.
  4. Tap on the Settings gear icon next to the SIM
  5. Tap on Preferred network type.
  6. Select at least 4G/3G/2G.

Note: We used an ASUS Zenfone 9 running Android 13 to come up with these steps. Some steps may differ depending on your specific device and software version.

Turn on 4G LTE on OnePlus phones

oneplus 11 back glass standing
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
OnePlus 11 back

Let’s cover OnePlus devices, too!

How to activate 4G LTE on OnePlus phones:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Mobile network.
  3. Choose your SIM.
  4. Tap on Preferred network type.
  5. Pick at least 4G/3G/2G (Auto).

Note: We used a OnePlus Nord N200 running Android 12 to come up with these steps. Some steps may differ depending on your specific device and software version.

Turn on 4G LTE on other phones

Best Smartphones 1 End of Year 2021 - How to activate 4G
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

If you didn’t see your specific phone manufacturer mentioned here, don’t fret. Chances are the methods used on those phones are pretty similar to the ones we have mentioned in this article. Your best bet is likely to follow the same steps you see in the Google Pixel section.

How to turn on 4G LTE on iPhones

This post is all about turning on 4G LTE on Android devices, but we know many of you are wondering how to do it on your iPhones. Let’s quickly show you how this is done.

How to activate 4G LTE on Apple phones:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Cellular.
  3. Tap on Cellular Data Options.
  4. Select Voice & Data.
  5. Tap on LTE.

Note: We used an Apple iPhone 12 Mini running iOS 17 to come up with these steps. Some steps may differ depending on your specific device and software version.


FAQs

As a standard, LTE can reach 100Mbps download speeds and 50Mbps upload speeds. LTE Advanced brings these numbers up to 1,000Mbps and 500Mbps, respectively. That said, manufacturers rarely offer these speeds. 4G LTE speeds usually don’t exceed 50Mbps, with some exceptions.

5G speeds are significantly faster, but the technology is not quite ready for prime time in most of the USA. You might experience spotty 5G reception unless you live in a main city. If you feel like your phone struggles too much to keep a 5G connection, it might be best to turn it off. 5G tends to use more battery anyways. City dwellers might enjoy the faster speeds, though.

3G uses significantly less battery than 4G LTE and 5G, but it’s also considerably slower. 3G networks top off at about 7.2Mbps downloads and 2Mbps uploads. It’s not impressive at all, but some people might be able to live with that for casual usage. Not to mention, all major US carriers have shut down their 3G networks by now. You may not even be able to use 3G.

Your phone switching between 4G and LTE is likely a signal availability occurrence. There may not be a strong LTE signal (if there is one at all) in your area, in which case a phone will move to 4G, which usually refers to HSPA+.

Are you trying to get the best data speeds possible? You should take a look at our list of the best 5G phones and the best 5G plans available in the USA.