Window on the side of the iPhone 12 lineup is a mmWave 5G antenna

iPhone 12 mmWave 5G antenna

Wondering what that little window near the bottom of the right side of the new iPhone 12 models is? Now we’ve got an answer.

The window on the right side of the iPhone 12 is the millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G antenna, reports TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzarino. Apple likely did this because mmWave 5G is not great at penetrating things that get in its way, so putting the mmWave antenna on the side can help it get a better signal and makes it easier for you to avoid blocking it with your hand.

What’s more, only the US versions of the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max have this mmWave 5G antenna window. That’s because the US versions of Apple’s new iPhones are the only ones in the world that support mmWave.

On Apple’s list of iPhone models¬†and their cellular bands, only the US versions of the iPhone 12 lineup support n260 and n261, which are the mmWave 5G bands. You can also see in the image comparison below that the US versions of the iPhone 12 have the mmWave 5G antenna window (left) while the UK versions do not (right).

iPhone 12 mmWave 5G antenna comparison

All three US carriers use mmWave in their 5G networks, but the amount of mmWave 5G coverage they have varies. Verizon has the most mmWave 5G coverage, with today’s expansion bringing it to a total of 55 markets. And before Verizon’s launch of its low-band Nationwide 5G network, mmWave was the only 5G that Verizon had.

Meanwhile, AT&T offers mmWave 5G in 35 markets and T-Mobile has it in 6 markets. They both also use low-band spectrum for their nationwide 5G networks.

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