Traveling OVERSEAS with iPhone?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by GeneticFreak84, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. macrumors regular

    I'll be going to the Philippines for about 1.5 weeks. I want to bring my iPhone 3G with me to listen to music, take pictures, etc. How do I avoid insane overseas charges? Do I just put it in "Airplane Mode" and go about using it that way? Will that take care of it? Or should I remove the SIM and leave it at home the U.S.? :eek:
  2. macrumors 6502a

    You can put it in airplane mode, which will turn all the radios off. Alternatively, you can turn off data roaming, which would still let it operate for voice and let you use its GPS if you wanted to.

    I ran my phone in Europe with data roaming turned off recently. No data charges that way. But I was still available by voice for emergencies.

    Either way, there is no need to remove the SIM. Airplane mode will kill all the services, but you will be able to turn Wi-Fi back on.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    simply just turn off data roaming.

    Go to:


    Underneath it, it says:

    "Turn data roaming off when abroad to avoid substantial roaming charges when using email, web browsing, and other data services."

    Or you could go the extra mile and turn on airplane mode. It's your call.

    Enjoy the trip to the Philippines, and bring your iPhone with you! It's a pretty long flight without the help of an iPhone :rolleyes:

  4. macrumors regular

    Thanks guys! Appreciate all the help :)
  5. macrumors member

    When I travel to Manila on biz I take my SIM out and buy the ones with minutes on them over there. However since you don't seem to be looking to make calls do what pelicanflip said.
  6. macrumors regular

    Can I do this if my iPhone is NOT unlocked?

    Also, what if I turn off the data roaming feature, but someone from the U.S. calls/texts me? Won't I still be charged alot?
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Nope, you can't.
    You will be charged for international roaming for calls. I don't know about text rates, but I'm sure you would be charged. You can look up the rates for various countries on the AT&T web site. Most of the places I was recently calls cost $1.99 per minute. But in Russia it is $4.99 per minute. :eek: Those rates are discounted somewhat if you sign up for an international roaming add-on with AT&T, but whether that pays will depend on how much you use the phone.
  8. macrumors member

    Nope as iFerd stated already

    I would take out my SIM before you leave, international rates are insane! Buy Skype credit if you're going to be somewhere with Wifi and download the app if you don't already have it. That's what I do when I want to call back home. I buy the SIM to make calls locally in Manila while on the go and so people can call me while I'm there.
  9. macrumors member


    It's not enough to put it into airplane mode or turn off data roaming. You will still incur (possibly significant) charges. You need to either remove the SIM card (easiest) or put a password on your SIM card.

    If you want to use your iPhone there (and use a purchased a SIM card there), you will need to jailbreak and then unlock your iPhone before you go. I have jailbroken my iPhone in preparation for my next trip to Africa.

    Here's AT&T's page on travel tips
  10. macrumors regular

    Thanks. How do I put a password on my SIM card?
  11. macrumors member


    Settings > Phone > SIM PIN

    Once you've set it, your sim card will not be active and you won't get charges from edge/phone/data. When you are in an area with Wifi, you will be able to use that to get your email or use the internet.
  12. macrumors regular

    Perfect! So I can toggle the SIM on and off without having to remove it? That works great since I'd like to have the SIM on me in case of emergency. Thanks!
  13. macrumors 68020

    don't turn on the phone

    All I can say is, if you don't want to be hit with a lot of charges, KEEP the phone in PLANE MODE.

    Even if you don't answer or make calls, AT&T will charge you to KNOW that there is a VM, and it is basically a round turn, meaning two call charges, usually at 1.19$ a minute or more.

    When I go international, I DO use my iphone, but I turn it to Airplane mode when I get ON the plan

    Then, when I land, I will turn ON WIFI, but not the phone side, so KEEP it in airplane mode. You can then connect to WIFI hotspots (they are really everywhere) and get email, use applications, download stuff, etc. you can even use SKYPE and other apps to make calls back home for free or for like .02$ cpm. this is really great. People can even REACH you as long as you have a skype out number and leave the app on.

    I also use the skype product to CALL MY VOICEMAIL to hear them and delete them, and then you can be fairly safe to turn on the phone side as long as you are comfortable with the pricing in the country you are visiting.

    But, I pretty much just use the WIFI side for email, texting, tweeting, apps, internet, etc.
  14. macrumors regular

    Interesting. So you can keep the phone in "AIRPLANE MODE" but turn WiFi on? Is that what you're saying? Should I still toggle my SIM off?
  15. macrumors 68020


    yes, you can have the PHONE off and the WIFI on. Apple makes this possible, for this example and in the case that one might actually be ON A PLANE with wifi, but needs to keep the PHONE side off.

    I don't know what toggle my SIM means, you CAN take it out if you like, I think the phone will still allow for WIFI connections, but it might not. If the phone is in AIRPLANE mode, you don't have to worry about data or phone charges, you also won't get SMS messages.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    I spent almost three weeks in Europe in June and early July. I had data roaming off, but otherwise I left my phone on. I was charged only for the voice use I made of it while gone. There were no additional significant charges. I am not much of a text user, but that might be a problem if you are, but just turning data roaming off was enough to kill all data charges.

    Would setting a SIM password prevent incoming traffic via SMS? I wouldn't think so.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    I spent almost three weeks in Europe in June and early July. I had data roaming off, but otherwise I left my phone on. I was charged only for the voice use I made of it while gone. There were no additional significant charges. I am not much of a text user, but that might be a problem if you are, but just turning data roaming off was enough to kill all data charges.

    Would setting a SIM password prevent incoming traffic via SMS? I wouldn't think so. Removing the SIM would preclude use for voice and SMS. And you would get identical results with respect to data and voice by just turning on airplane mode. No GPS then, though.
  18. macrumors 68020

    airplane mode

    putting the device in airplane mode will preclude any voice use possible. Just leave that ON, with the little airplane up in the top menu bar where carrier info and tower status would be and you will have NO CHARGES at all from your carrier.
  19. macrumors 68020


    I hadn't caught this quote when I posted earlier in the week.

    The above quote is not accurate. If you have the phone in airplane mode, there will be NO CHARGES possible from your carrier. If you turn off data roaming, then you might and indeed could be charged for VM alerts, incoming calls, etc. That is why I leave it off, or airplane mode ON when I am abroad and just use skype.
  20. macrumors newbie

    iphone roaming in a gist!

    Thanks folks, for sharing your thoughts. I am shortly travelling to France for a week. After reading through your posts, am I right in thinking that keeping the phone switched on to make and receive calls/text is a really bad idea? I don't mind paying the roaming charges for made/received calls, but the risk of all the other unscrupulous data charges by the provider discourages me from using my phone at all. Please correct me if I have got this wrong. Thanks!
  21. macrumors 6502a


    I travel to at least ten countries a year WITH my iPhone. :D

    I turn off data roaming and that's that. :cool:

    I use skype to make calls in WiFi and I do my Twittering etc.. in WiFi as well. :)

    You are NUTS to put it in airplane mode. :eek:

    Why cut out the ability to receive a call? That's cuuuuuraaazy. It costs nothing to leave the phone on. Worst case scenario, you see the caller ID, ignore the call, then ring them via landline, Skype etc.. But airplane mode? :confused:
  22. macrumors 68020

    you'll pay

    But, if you don't answer, and it goes to VM, just to GET the VM alert will cost you 2x the per minute call charge. That really urks me, so either answer it, since you are going to pay anyway, or turn OFF your VM, which is difficult to do, or leave it off

    But, if you you turn it back on for example, and there are five new VM, you will pay something like 5x the per minute charges. this is one of the things I HATE about AT&T.
  23. macrumors newbie

    Worst thing

    Ok friends, after reading all this let's say I just turn the data roaming OFF and leave the Airplane mode ON when I visit France for a week.

    What's the worst case scenario in this situation ?

  24. macrumors 68020


    you'll miss a call from ed Mcmahan that you won the publishers clearing house sweepstakes!

    zero, zero worst case scenario.
  25. macrumors regular

    It depends on whether the call would then automatically divert to voice mail if unanswered. If so, your carrier may well charge you for the cost of the call to the Philippines and then back to your voice mail while the caller leaves a message. Not good! That has happened to me in the past so I now set all calls to divert to voice mail before leaving for countries outside the EU (inside the EU I receive all calls for free). I get notified by txt (which costs nothing to receive anywhere) of any voice mail and I can then use Skype or my SIP VoIP to call my voice mail box if there are any messages.

Share This Page