View or change cellular data settings on iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular models)

View or change cellular data settings on iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular models)

If you have a Wi-Fi + Cellular model, you can activate cellular data service on iPad, turn cellular use on or off, and set which apps and services use cellular data. With some carriers, you can also change your data plan.

iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation) and iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation) can connect to 5G networks. See the Apple Support article Use 5G with your iPad.

Note: For help with cellular network services and billing, contact your wireless service provider.

If iPad is connected to the internet via the cellular data network, an icon identifying the cellular network appears in the status bar.

If Cellular Data is off, all data services—including email, web browsing, and push notifications—use Wi-Fi only. If Cellular Data is on, carrier charges may be incurred. For example, using certain features and services that transfer data, such as Messages, could result in charges to your data plan.

Note: Wi-Fi + Cellular models don’t support cellular phone service—they support cellular data transmission only. To make phone calls on iPad, use Wi-Fi Calling and an iPhone.

Add a cellular plan to your iPad

If you previously set up a cellular plan, go to Settings  > Cellular, tap Add a New Plan, then follow the onscreen instructions.

If you haven’t set up a plan, see Set up cellular service on iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular models).

View or change your cellular data account

Go to Settings  > Cellular Data, then tap Manage [account name] or Carrier Services.

Choose cellular data options for data usage, performance, battery life, and more

To turn Cellular Data on or off, go to Settings  > Cellular.

To set options when Cellular Data is turned on, go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options, then do any of the following:

  • Reduce cellular usage: Turn on Low Data Mode, or tap Data Mode, then choose Low Data Mode (depending on your iPad model). This mode pauses automatic updates and background tasks when iPad is not connected to Wi-Fi.

  • Turn Data Roaming on or off: Data Roaming permits internet access over a cellular data network when you’re in a region not covered by your carrier’s network. When you’re traveling, you can turn off Data Roaming to avoid roaming charges.

Depending on your iPad model, carrier, and region, the following option may be available:

  • Turn LTE on or off: Turning on LTE loads data faster.

On iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation) (Wi-Fi + Cellular) and iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation) (Wi-Fi + Cellular), you can do the following:

  • Enable Smart Data mode to optimize battery life: Tap Voice & Data, then choose 5G Auto. In this mode, your iPad automatically switches to LTE when 5G speeds don’t provide noticeably better performance.

  • Use higher-quality video and FaceTime HD on 5G networks: Tap Data Mode, then choose Allow More Data on 5G.

Set up Personal Hotspot to begin sharing the cellular internet connection from iPad

  1. Go to Settings  > Cellular, then turn on Cellular Data.

  2. Tap Set up Personal Hotspot, then follow the instructions in Share your internet connection from iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular).

Set cellular data use for apps and services

Go to Settings  > Cellular Data, then turn Cellular Data on or off for any app (such as Maps) or service (such as Wi-Fi Assist) that can use cellular data.

If a setting is off, iPad uses only Wi-Fi for that service.

Note: Wi-Fi Assist is on by default. If Wi-Fi connectivity is poor, Wi-Fi Assist automatically switches to cellular data to boost the signal. Because you stay connected to the internet over cellular when you have a poor Wi-Fi connection, you might use more cellular data, which may incur additional charges depending on your data plan. See the Apple Support article About Wi-Fi Assist.

Lock your SIM card

If your device uses a SIM card for cellular data, you can lock the card with a personal identification number (PIN) to prevent others from using the card. Then, every time you restart your device or remove the SIM card, your card locks automatically, and you’re required to enter your PIN. See Use a SIM PIN for your iPhone or iPad.

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