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We recently upgraded from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4S. In general it has been a good experience, however we aren't sure how to turn off 3G and go to the EDGE network on the 4S. It doesn't appear to be an iOS 5 thing since older phones with iOS 5 still retain the ability to turn off 3G and switch to edge. Instead of turning off 3G being an option (which would kick us back to edge) we can only turn off cellular data, but calls don't revert networks.

This is very important when using the iPhone in our area since the 3G and 4G networks are loaded down and very spotty. With the 3GS I could turn off 3G and switch to EDGE and go from 1-2 bars to 5 and go from 4-10 dropped calls a day to 0. With the iPhone 4S and 4G, I still have the spotty service and dropped calls, but no easy workaround.

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The switch in the settings app is surely gone, so you can't turn off 3G like the software allows on older iPhones. – bmike Nov 24 '11 at 5:34
This sounds like an issue with iOS rather than the iPhone 4S? (I'm on a 4S as well so I can't verify) – Jannemans Nov 24 '11 at 6:22
@Jannemans I don't know that it is purely ios, since older iphones with the the latest ios can still turn off 3g. – Eric Nov 24 '11 at 13:04
I think Apple here is trying to choose for the user here by keeping 3G always on, therefore making sure Siri always (should) works, so it "just works". – abc905 Dec 11 '11 at 11:10
But it makes the battery life more shorter – user71383 Feb 25 '14 at 11:34
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You cannot at this time.

The option to disable 3G no longer exists for the 4S. No word on why Apple disabled the feature. It may be a proactive move to dump old technology as the phone still supports 2G and will switch to the slower network if 3G is not found.

There is a rather large discussion regarding this matter on Apple's forums.

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Would like to provide an update to this answer: Updating to iOS 5.1 fixes this issue (Essentially the enable 3G toggle shows up again).

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This is only true for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM/UMTS) not (CDMA) and "international" versions of the iPhone 4S. not AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. ᔥAnandtech:The iOS 5.1 update, "4G", AT&T, and the 3G Toggle – jaberg Mar 20 '12 at 16:29

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