Disadvantages of owning a US iPhone in the UK

Droooooj

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 19, 2009
104
5
London, UK
I have the opportunity of buying a new iPhone SE whilst on a trip to the US soon, which will obviously come with a great saving.

But what are the disadvantages of doing this? Are there any settings that cannot be changed?

Eg, my friend says she was unable to get device insurance with people like protectmybubble.com, and that her maps always defaulted to the US before determining location.

Anything else?
 

mlody

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2012
1,054
687
Windy City
Most of these things you mentioned are just software configurations etc. The exception of course if the warranty which I believe does not provide an international coverage. Could be a different story if you put your purchase on a credit card that offers warranty - your best bet is to do a comprehensive research on that matter.

One thing to keep an eye on is the actual model of the iPhone SE. I believe Apple makes at least two distinctive models. I know when it comes to 6s/6s+ there is barely any different - I believe band 30 is missing on one of the models, but it might not be the same with other models, so I would recommend to verify the LTE bands with your carrier and then confirm that they are support on the model you are intending to buy.

good luck
 

Jay43

macrumors member
Sep 16, 2015
56
10
I do think the main disadvantage of getting an iPhone in the US is that the warranty will not work in Europe.
My iPhone 5 was also defaulted to the US before determining location although it was bought in Europe, however it was set up as new in the US at the time. That might be the reason but I am really not sure about that.

As far as the LTE bands are concerned, for the iPhone SE, you would need to buy the Sprint version, it is the same as the one sold in Europe. The details of the different versions of the iPhone are available here http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/#iphone-se

If you want to get it unlocked you have to buy it full price at an Apple store and without subscribing to any Sprint service.
 
Last edited:

ilikewhey

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2014
1,581
1,704
nyc upper east
i'm not sure if the warranty is accurate, when my macbook broke in paris i took it to applestore there and they took care of it, dunno if this applies to cellphone as well.
 

Godzirra

macrumors 6502
You shouldn't have any problems with making claims under the warranty. We've had plenty of devices purchased in other countries come through our place and they've all been covered by Apple, when it was a problem covered within the warranty. This has been with all iDevices, as well as portables and desktops.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rekhyt

ElysiumY2K

macrumors member
Nov 20, 2010
89
40
London
I do think the main disadvantage of getting an iPhone in the US is that the warranty will not work in Europe.
My iPhone 5 was also defaulted to the US before determining location although it was bought in Europe, however it was set up as new in the US at the time. That might be the reason but I am really not sure about that.

As far as the LTE bands are concerned, for the iPhone SE, you would need to buy the Sprint version, it is the same as the one sold in Europe. The details of the different versions of the iPhone are available here http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/#iphone-se

If you want to get it unlocked you have to buy it full price at an Apple store and without subscribing to any Sprint service.
Warranty should work worldwide.

I remember purchasing one of the iPods in the UK and it broke while I'll was on holiday in Hong Kong. It got replace there and then.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Godzirra and rekhyt

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
an advantage is that you wont have those ugly C E and Trash Icons on the back of the iPhone (i think) and no EU restricted sound volume warning pop up thing ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Godzirra

SuperKerem

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2012
861
252
The phone itself will be the same, as long as you get it sim-free unlocked (GSM). It will work fine on UK networks.

The only drawback would indeed be the warranty, or lack thereof.
 

Jetro

macrumors regular
Jan 12, 2016
119
45
Get the sprint one and buy it direct from Apple like someone else said. It will be factory unlocked out of the box. The sprint version is the most compatible one with all carriers worldwide when unlocked. Don't buy any service for it from sprint either like already stated or I think they lock it to their network until you pay for 6 months worth of service.
 

mKizzo

macrumors member
Oct 17, 2008
92
61
Buy 4 in the US. Sell 2 in the UK. Then you've paid for a backup. Keep it sealed. If you don't need it when you upgrade. Sell that one too. boom
 

SuperKerem

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2012
861
252
Buy 4 in the US. Sell 2 in the UK. Then you've paid for a backup. Keep it sealed. If you don't need it when you upgrade. Sell that one too. boom
This is a really bad idea. The price difference in the US really isn't that much. Selling 2 phones would require quite a bit of effort, and you're not going to sell it for the retail price either way. By the time you upgrade, the third phone will have lost most of its value.
Not a good idea.
 

Jay43

macrumors member
Sep 16, 2015
56
10
The phone itself will be the same, as long as you get it sim-free unlocked (GSM). It will work fine on UK networks.

The only drawback would indeed be the warranty, or lack thereof.
That's incorrect. The American sim-free version is not the same as the European sim-free version.

The American sim-free iphone se is model A1662 whereas the European model is A1723 which is sold as the Sprint version here in the US. The 2 models support different LTE bands
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,996
3,932
Most of these things you mentioned are just software configurations etc. The exception of course if the warranty which I believe does not provide an international coverage. Could be a different story if you put your purchase on a credit card that offers warranty - your best bet is to do a comprehensive research on that matter.
Apple's one year warranty is valid world wide for portable devices. You don't get UK consumer protection rights obviously if you buy in the USA. Your charger has a US plug, but will accept 230 Volt with a cheap adapter.

However, some models are over the limit for duty free import (limit is £390 UK price). So if you want the 64GB model, you'd either have to illegally smuggle the phone into the UK to avoid the import duty, or you pay import duty and it actually ends up more expensive than in the UK due to the current exchange rate.
 

Mlrollin91

macrumors G5
Nov 20, 2008
13,535
9,080
Ventura County
i'm not sure if the warranty is accurate, when my macbook broke in paris i took it to applestore there and they took care of it, dunno if this applies to cellphone as well.
You shouldn't have any problems with making claims under the warranty. We've had plenty of devices purchased in other countries come through our place and they've all been covered by Apple, when it was a problem covered within the warranty. This has been with all iDevices, as well as portables and desktops.
Warranty should work worldwide.

I remember purchasing one of the iPods in the UK and it broke while I'll was on holiday in Hong Kong. It got replace there and then.
An iPhone's warranty is only good in the country in which you purchased it. This applies to iPads as well. Macs and iPods are different.

Buy it in the US, but be sure to add AppleCare. You'll be covered worldwide.
Incorrect. Adding AppleCare does not make it an international warranty. All this does is extend the limited warranty.
 

SuperKerem

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2012
861
252
That's incorrect. The American sim-free version is not the same as the European sim-free version.

The American sim-free iphone se is model A1662 whereas the European model is A1723 which is sold as the Sprint version here in the US. The 2 models support different LTE bands
Any unlocked US GSM iPhone will work in the UK. They both work identically, and are essentially the same.
 

Jay43

macrumors member
Sep 16, 2015
56
10
I understand that, but the missing bands don't matter since the bands that ARE used in the UK are supported by any unlocked US GSM phone.
Ok my bad, maybe I should have said that the American version of the sim-free iPhone SE will not get an optimal LTE signal in the UK.

The A1662 model misses band 7 which is actually used in the UK
 

SuperKerem

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2012
861
252
Ok my bad, maybe I should have said that the American version of the sim-free iPhone SE will not get an optimal LTE signal in the UK.

The A1662 model misses band 7 which is actually used in the UK
I've used two US iPhones in the UK before, and they both worked flawlessly.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.