Buying an iPhone in the US, bringing back to the UK?

blizeH

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2009
277
1
Hi all,

I'm going to Florida soon, and would like a new iPhone - I was going to buy the iPhone 5 (or whatever they call it) whilst out there, either from a Walmart, Apple store or whatever the hell else I can find, something that's unlocked and usable in the UK - would there be a problem doing this?

I'm worried about mostly the network coverage, though I think the recent iPhones (iPhone 4 onwards) are fine for this... I'm also worried about the warranty, though it seems the devices have an international warranty, is that right?

Many thanks
 

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
5,239
1,254
You can buy the iPhone Factory Unlocked here in the US, but you have to go to the Apple Store. The only problem is that it comes with a US adapter, no big deal, just buy the $29 adapter when you get back to the UK from the Apple store there.


I've warrantied out phones from the US while traveling before, and Apple doesn't seem to really care. If its broken, the Genius will swap it.
 

Azzin

macrumors 601
Jun 23, 2010
4,233
1,589
London, England.
Isn't there a situation with non contract iPhones in the US, in that they're not available initially at launch and you can only get them on a contract for the first month (or two)?
 

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
5,239
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Isn't there a situation with non contract iPhones in the US, in that they're not available initially at launch and you can only get them on a contract for the first month (or two)?
AT&T versions purchased outright are also factory unlocked.
 

Azzin

macrumors 601
Jun 23, 2010
4,233
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London, England.
AT&T versions purchased outright are also factory unlocked.
Ok, I'm in the UK so not overly familiar with the US scenarios!

That still begs the question of whether unlocked/SIM Free iPhones are available at launch in the US, or do they hold them back to try and get people to sign up to contracts?
 

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
5,239
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Ok, I'm in the UK so not overly familiar with the US scenarios!

That still begs the question of whether unlocked/SIM Free iPhones are available at launch in the US, or do they hold them back to try and get people to sign up to contracts?
You can buy for full price, without having to sign a contract. $649/$749/$849
 

Azzin

macrumors 601
Jun 23, 2010
4,233
1,589
London, England.
Yes you can ;) Done it with 4S just fine.
Ok, cool-why didn't you just say that then!? :D

The thing is, there are posts all over MR, saying that the unsubsidised phones are not available[/i] at launch and that they deliberately hold them back, so that people who didn't really want a contract, sign up anyway as they're caught in the hype of the initial release (which I guess makes sense from AT&T's perspective, although maybe not Apple's!).

Either way OP, I hope you get your phone! :p
 

blizeH

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2009
277
1
Thank you all very much for the responses! Going over soon, so will hopefully get one - it's around a £95 ($150) saving for me, so even if there are warranty issues it's probably worth the risk.

Think I'll stick exclusively to Apple stores too - there are a couple near where we're staying, so will try to pick one up from those.

Thanks again:)
 

blizeH

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2009
277
1
Haven't decided on a new phone for sure yet, but if I do get an iPhone 5, is there anything in particular I should be wary of when bringing back to the UK, especially regarding LTE?
 

blizeH

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2009
277
1
Haven't decided on a new phone for sure yet, but if I do get an iPhone 5, is there anything in particular I should be wary of when bringing back to the UK, especially regarding LTE?
Quick bump :) Thank you
 

blizeH

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2009
277
1
Thank you, I don't think my network (GiffGaff/O2) will have 4G any time soon, but it's worth considering for resale value etc I guess... think I'll stick with a (super expensive) UK one ;_;
 

ct2k7

macrumors 603
Aug 29, 2008
6,008
457
London
Thank you, I don't think my network (GiffGaff/O2) will have 4G any time soon, but it's worth considering for resale value etc I guess... think I'll stick with a (super expensive) UK one ;_;
Nope, well it won't work with the iPhone LTE bands which the UK GSM version has.
 

Deako

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2010
370
0
United Kingdom
LTE won't work in the UK with the US iPhone(s).
The US GSM version of the iPhone would be useless here in the UK due to it not supporting the same LTE frequencies (if you ever wanted 4G). The CDMA version has a roaming GSM chip (and the 1800 LTE frequency), however, i believe that will not be available to buy unlocked.

The best advice i can offer is to buy the proper UK GSM unlocked version from an Apple store. Once you add on US sales tax (which isnt advertised up front, you pay it at the till??), it doesnt work out that much cheaper anyway.