iPhone settings

My wife and I want to use our iPhones while in Europe, but want to only use the Wi-Fi and Skype(to avoid horrendous cost of 3g/4g overseas).. I've been to the Apple Store and got two different stories. One advisor said set the Airplane Mode to "on" and that was all that needed to be done. Another advisor said set the Wi-Fi to "on" and don't worry about the Airplane Mode. What have other iPhone users done to use the Wi-Fi capabilities of the phone to avoid using the proprietary phone signal and the accompanying $$$$.

Posted by George
Canada
834 posts

Here's what I do Airplane Mode ON -->Settings -->General -->Mobile Data Mobile Data OFF Enable 3G/4G OFF Data Roaming OFF Turn WiFi ON and you're good to go with no additional charges.

Posted by Devon
Ballwin
818 posts

Absolutely turn Airplane Mode on. You want that just in case, you don't want to risk having your phone start using data. George's instructions are perfect. Really if you turn Airplane Mode ON and Wi-Fi ON you will be fine but it's great to have extra safeguards.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Why make it so complicated? Both of our phones are on international voice plans all year. Neither have ever been on an international data plan. All you have to do is turn cellular data off at the departure gate and leave it that way until you return. Leave everything else alone, especially the stupid airplane switch.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17783 posts

Jon, The suggestions posted by George should work fine. The exact settings may depend on which model of iPhone you're using and which carrier you're with. It's not surprising that you're getting different stories from different Apple (or cell network) staff. Most of them have likely never travelled overseas with their phones, so they may not have first-hand experience. If I'm reading your questions correctly, you don't want to use the phone for voice, text or data, except with Wi-Fi service. If that's the case, it's a simple two step operation: > Activate "Airplane mode" (that will block all transceiver functions). > Turn Wi-Fi ON (but leave the phone in Airplane mode) With that configuration, nothing should operate unless you have Wi-Fi. The main concern is use of cellular data, which can be horrendously expensive. If you have a "travel pack" from your home network for voice or text, the costs should be reasonable for limited use. If you decide that you do want voice and text capability, the phone settings will be different. Happy travels!

Posted by Jeff
Vancouver, WA, USA
70 posts

If "Airplane Mode" is on, that also disables the GPS. If you have an off-line map installed, you want the GPS to be available. Should it not be enough to turn off "Cellular Data," "Enable 3G" and "Data Roaming"?

Posted by George
Canada
834 posts

Yep, Ed, it's SO complicated that it takes all of 20 seconds to do.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17783 posts

@Jeff, It is NOT a good idea to enable "data roaming", unless one has a bank balance in the seven figure range.

Posted by Jeff
Vancouver, WA, USA
70 posts

>@Jeff, >It is NOT a good idea to enable "data roaming", unless one has a bank balance in the seven figure range. My earlier post was not clear. I was saying those three items ("Cellular Data," "Enable 3G" and "Data Roaming") should all be OFF. Then "Airplane Mode" can be turned off so the GPS will work.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Turning off cellular data kills 3/4g and data roaming and does nothing to the GPS antenna or wifi. ONE SWITCH. Flip it and watch what happens. One of three modes of GPS/faux GPS is eliminated, theoretically reducing the speed and accuracy of location by some small amount. Neglecting waas/egnos, bare gps alone is accurate to within a couple meters. Cellular assistance provides no more accuracy, only slightly faster (micro-seconds) initialization, as does wifi (which can make matters worse if the router fails, or is moved slightly. Only turning cell data off also kills email, updates, location services, etc until wifi is connected, then they all appear withou more messing around with switches. What's the chance of making an error with a single off/on switch, compared to making multiple decisions and manipulations. Ex: to kill data roaming, cell data has to be on or the selection isn't available (never mind that the reason is that cell roaming is a subset of cell data, and that killing the parent kills the family) so joe-who-does-it-only-a-half-dozen-times-a-year forgets to pretend-kill roaming, can't find how to do it, switches data back on, then kills roaming, but now, forgets to kill data . . . . . Then there's the matter of messing with the airplane switch, adjusting something else, the messing with airplane agar.......huh? Us dopes kind of like simple.

Posted by George
Canada
834 posts

Of equal importance, for both home and away, is to set your Passcode Lock to ON.

Posted by Jon
Cincinnati, OH, USA
241 posts

Thanks to all who responded.
You've given me exactly what I was looking for.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Passcode has nothing to do with either data usage or the original question.

Posted by Paul
Tuscaloosa, AL
877 posts

I don't know if this is true with an iPhone, but we discovered on our Android phones that we couldn't send picture messages with data set to off. The "data" an MMS uses isn't the same type of data as web browsing and doesn't run the risk of large charges (you just pay the flat fee your carrier charges for picture messages). I forget how we got around this but still kept the "dangerous" data turned off. I need to figure it out again because we'll be traveling again in the next few months. I mention this here to help explain why your picture messages might not go should you send any.

Posted by Cindy
San Jose
39 posts

George has the best answer. Turn Airplane mode OFF to send text messages back home (around $1 each) and to make emergency phone calls.

Posted by Allen
Lafayette, LA
194 posts

In addition to turning off cellular data, I would do one additional thing, just for peace mind. Reset data tracking to zero, so you can check to ensure that you haven't sent/received data in any way other than wifi. Settings> General > Usage > Cellular Usage > Reset Statistics Do this just before turning off the device when in the plane getting ready for takeoff.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2609 posts

How to turn off a light.... turn off the switch, unplug the lamp, unscrew the lightbulb... There are a hundred ways to make things difficult or justkeep it simple...
Same as Ed... one thing to remember. I have done it dozens of times with no problems.