How to Turn Off 4G on an iPad

Limit background-app consumption of your quota by deactivating cell data

iPad Cellular Data Settings
Daniel Nations

Turning off 3G and 4G wireless internet access when you are not using it on your iPad can be a good idea. This precaution helps prevent your iPad from using your cellular data inadvertently when you walk out of Wi-Fi range, which is important if your wireless data plan is limited and you'd like to conserve its allotment for streaming movies, music or TV shows. Turning off 3G and 4G is also a great way to conserve battery power on your iPad.

These instructions govern all currently supported versions of iOS.

How to Turn Off Cellular Data on an iPad

iPad settings screen

Open Settings and select the Cellular Data option. The right pane of the screen reveals Cellular Data settings. Tap the switch at the top of the screen to enable or disable cellular data.

This procedure will not cancel your 4G/3G account. To cancel your account, go into the View Account settings and cancel it from there.

Alternatively, configure the Control Center to offer a one-touch button if you think you'll use this feature often.

What Are 3G and 4G, anyway?

3G and 4G refer to wireless data technologies. The "G" stands for generation; thus, you can tell how current the technology is by the number preceding it. 1G and 2G ran on analog and digital phones, respectively; 3G burst on the U.S. scene in 2003, with much faster speeds than its predecessors. Likewise, 4G (sometimes called 4G LTE) — which was introduced in the U.S. in 2009 — is about 10 times faster than 3G. As of 2018, most areas in the U.S. have 4G access, and major U.S. carriers plan to roll out still-faster 5G access over 2019 and 2020.