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Guide To Travelling With Your iPhone/iPad/iPad mini

Article ID = 69
Article Title = Guide To Travelling With Your iPhone/iPad/iPad mini
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 8th February 2012
Article Last Updated = 7th April 2023
Article URL = https://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?69

Article Brief Description:
Information on travelling with your iPad or iPhone

Travelling with your iPhone/iPad/iPad mini

NOTE: Using Data Roaming outside of the your own country can be very expensive. So just checking emails and downloading/viewing one large attachment could cost a lot! Therefore, whenever possible it is much better to find a Wi-Fi hotspot and use Wi-Fi instead of data roaming.
NOTE: European Union (EU) data roaming charges are to be abolished on 15th June 2017 and charges will be dramatically reduced from April 2016 - see BBC News story. This will only apply if you have a SIM from a European Union country and travel within the European Union.

Before You Travel

  • Check you have set up any required VPN configurations and/or email accounts.
  • Check that the area/cities/towns you are visiting have mobile network coverage by your carrier especially the 3G/4G service if you are going to use the internet/data heavily. You can usually find a map of this on your carrier's website.
  • Don't forget to take your charger and charging/USB cable.
  • Get a protective case for your iPad like Apple's Smart Cover.
  • Get a protective case for your iPhone.
  • Check your (travel) insurance policy carefully to make sure your device is covered for accidental damage and/or theft.
  • Set a passcode (Settings > General > Passcode Lock).
  • Enable Apple's find my device service via iCloud (includes tracking/remote wipe facilities).

If You Are Travelling Abroad/Outside Of Your Country

Before You Travel

  • Don't forget to take your charger and charging/USB cable
  • Make sure you have the correct adaptor/plug for the electrical sockets used in the foreign country you are visiting.
  • Make sure your iPhone/iPad model supports the mobile frequencies used by the mobile provider(s)/carrier(s) in the foreign country you are visiting.
  • Check that the countries/cities/towns you are visiting have mobile network coverage especially the 3G service if you are going to use the internet/data heavily. You can usually find a coverage map on the carrier's website.
Data Roaming
  • Make sure "roaming" is enabled on your account/SIM/carrier contract, what the costs are and what if any data "caps" may be in place – contact your carrier/mobile provider.
  • If your home country/carrier is in the European Union there are strict rules on roaming and data caps. If you intend to use a lot of data you may need to select a different cut-off limit if offered by your carrier or opt out of the bill shock safeguard entirely.
  • Reset your cellular data usage statistics - go to Settings > General > Usage > Cellular Usage and tap "Reset Statistics".
Using A Local SIM
  • If you want to use your iPhone/iPad on a network with a local SIM your device must be unlocked.
    • All iPads are unlocked.
    • Apple sells unlocked iPhones only in some countries e.g. Apple UK SIM-free.
    • If you bought your iPhone from an Apple approved carrier you could try checking this official Apple chart of carriers to see if your iPhone is locked or unlocked.
    • If you are still not sure whether your iPhone is unlocked or locked try getting a free pay-as-you-go (PAYG) SIM from a different carrier in your own country and trying it in your iPhone. If it works your iPhone is likely to be unlocked. If it doesn't work (No service message in the top left) then your iPhone is probably locked.
    • If your iPhone is locked you can usually use a SIM from the same network provider in a different country e.g. if your phone is locked to O2 in the UK you may be able to use a Czech Republic O2 SIM.
    • If your iPhone is locked you might be able to get your carrier to unlock it for you - check the "Carrier offers authorized unlocking" column on this official Apple chart of carriers. If you are in the United Kingdom and have a UK iPhone you may be able to get it unlocked (albeit in some cases with a small fee):
  • If your need to get a local SIM check what local carriers are available on Apple's official chart of carriers for the countries that you are going to visit.
  • When using a local SIM with an iPad some local providers may only accept payment using a credit card registered in that country. You should check whether this is the case with the local provider before obtaining the SIM.

When You Are There

  • If you are going to roam using cellular data/a mobile network
    • Check your cellular/mobile data settings - go to Settings > Mobile Data > You can…
      • Assign which (e)SIM is used for your primary Mobile Data
      • Assign which (e)SIM is used for your Default Voice Line
      • Get and reset mobile data/roaming statistics - if you reset it before leaving regularly check your mobile data usage to see how much you are using against the costs for the service
      • Set which apps can use mobile data
    • Your iPhone/iPad uses the cellular network for various types of connectivity not just when you are browsing the web or checking email so if you don't need/use the following services you might want to consider turning them off while you are abroad:
      • iCloud = Settings > iCloud account (at the top of the list) > adjust individual options as required e.g. you want "Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod" but not other features
      • Date & Time (automated setting) = Settings > General > Date & Time > turn OFF "Set Automatically" (obviously this will turn this feature off but will save network data)
      • Siri = Settings > Siri & Search > turn OFF "Siri" (obviously this will turn this feature off but will save network data)
      • Location Services = Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > turn OFF "Location Services" (or adjust individual application options as required e.g. you might want Maps but not other apps to use it)
      • Automatic Downloads = Settings > App Store > turn OFF "Mobile Data" or configure "AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS" as required
      • Mail = Settings > Mail > turn OFF "Mobile Data" or configure the push settings for your email accounts
      • Voice Memos = Settings > Voice Memos > turn OFF "Mobile Data"
      • News = Settings > News > turn OFF "Mobile Data"
      • Stocks = Settings > Stocks > turn OFF "Mobile Data"
      • Weather = Settings > Weather > turn OFF "Mobile Data" (although you might want to keep this on if you are travelling!)
      • Translate = Settings > Weather > turn OFF "Mobile Data" (although you might want to keep this on if you are travelling!)
      • Maps = Settings > Weather > turn OFF "Mobile Data" (although you might want to keep this on if you are travelling!)
      • Music = Settings > Music > turn OFF "Mobile Data"
      • TV = Settings > TV > turn OFF "Mobile Data"
      • Books = Settings > Books > turn OFF "Mobile Data"
      • Podcasts = Settings > Podcasts > turn OFF "Mobile Data"
      • ~third party apps~ = Settings > ~third party app~ > turn OFF "Mobile Data"

Using an iPhone/iPad Country/City Guides

VPN Services

Check for iOS and country compatibility before signing up/subscribing: --> Below is a list of recommended VPN providers in no particular order:
  • CyberGhost - Super-fast, zero logs, 6100+ servers, easy to use apps and friendly 24/7 customer support
  • SurfShark - Protect unlimited devices with one account, military grade IP encryption, super cheap VPN
  • NordVPN - Outstanding speeds, zero logs, unblock Netflix, custom VPN app for macOS, 24/7 support
  • Ivacy - Great pick for streaming and P2P file sharing, superb VPN speeds and user friendly
  • Private VPN - Superb privacy features, exceptional speeds and no usage logs, a truly Private VPN
  • ZenMate VPN - Excellent VPN app for streaming and P2P file sharing, 100% private, cheap VPN
  • ExpressVPN - The biggest name in the VPN industry, huge server base, blazing fast speeds, no logs
  • HMA - Exceptional VPN speeds, impressive server network, unblock geo-restricted content
  • Private Internet Access - Highly secure VPN with huge server network, protect 10 devices, advanced privacy
  • Hotspot Shield - Fast and large server network, unblock your favourite content, complete IP encryption
  • IPVanish - Hide your IP address, unblock restricted content, one of the fastest VPNs available
  • Hide.Me - A great pick for advanced security, zero logs and great speeds, Hide your IP address
  • Norton Secure VPN - Biggest name in cyber security, ideal for protecting yourself on public Wi-Fi
  • Fastest VPN - Very fast VPN speeds, unblock all popular streaming, great server network
  • PureVPN - Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer etc, multiple VPN protocols, 2000+ VPN servers
  • SaferVPN - Ideal for privacy conscious users, unblock geo-restricted content, zero usage logs
  • StrongVPN - Bypass government censorship, protect 12 devices, 24/7 customer support
  • Avast SecureLine VPN - Trustworthy VPN supplier, you can try for free for 30 days, unblocks Netflix
  • Trust.Zone - Free 3 day VPN trial, unblocks Netflix and other popular content, zero logs
  • ibVPN - Lots of security features, choice of VPN protocols, works on all popular devices


Some VPN service comparison sites include:

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This article is © MacStrategy » a trading name of Burning Helix. As an Amazon Associate, employees of MacStrategy's holding company (Burning Helix sro) may earn from qualifying purchases. Apple, the Apple logo, and Mac are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.


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