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iPad Mini with Sim

I have a new iPad Mini that has a spot for a SIM card. I am heading on the RS Berlin, Prague, Vienna tour in the spring. I'd like to test my iPad with a SIM on this trip so, theoretically, I can always be up and running should I want to do so. I'll buy the SIM card in Berlin, but I'm wondering which kind of card I need. It looks like Vodaphone has the best ratings, but I want to know which card to buy from them. I assume more data and less phone is the route I take. How much data? Does anyone have experience with this? I bought a SIM here in the US from AT&T a few months ago to test, but they sold me the wrong card...and I've since been told I can't get the right one to use in the USA for the USA. So has anyone had experience with the iPad with SIM in Europe?

I generally have no phone with me and only use wifi, but when one has a new toy, one plays with it...

Posted by
65 posts

I’ve never had to purchase a SIM card in Europe for phones or IPad Mini. For the IPad, I only use off a Secured WiFi; never had a problem. For phones I have Verizon plan.

Only time I ever had a problem was in some parts of Iceland. Verizon refunded that months bill upon my return to USA.

Hope that helps.

Posted by
440 posts

Opinions are all over the map but the topic is easily researched. Here is just one of about fifteen sites I found with simple google (be sure you are looking at posts and reviews from the last three or ten months. Older information is likely to be out of date):

https://www.ikream.com/9-best-sim-cards-for-international-travels-to-europe-in-2019-28567

Orange rises to the top of this site's reviewers' opinions. There seems to have been a recent change in the EU's cellular rules/laws requiring borderless data/cell systems so one card goes everywhere. I did not know that.

Posted by
2409 posts

This is for my iPad mini. I will not have a phone. I know I can use wifi, as I always do, but that is not the topic here. I'm looking for anyone who has used a SIM with their iPad mini, not their mobile phone.

Of course I google. And I know the directions are: "To use/activate a locally bought SIM card, simply remove your current SIM card, and replace it with the newly purchased card. Don’t forget to keep your old SIM in a safe place to swap out upon returning home." But I was sold a completely incorrect card even though I gave specific instructions. So, I want to know someone's personal experience, etc.

So let me rephrase, I am looking for anyone who has used their iPad mini with a SIM card in Europe. How did it work and what did you use?

Posted by
440 posts

" So let me rephrase, I am looking for anyone who has used their iPad mini with a SIM card in Europe. How did it work and what did you use?"

Ah, of course. Anecdotal experiences around here are all over the map, as are our opinions.

Ill be taking my iPhone on BOE21 this year It uses the same chip options, including the eSIM, as your iPad mini so I've done extensive research on the topic. Landed on GigSky, mostly. We'll both just have to wait to see if anyone confirms or contradicts what I've found.

Posted by
868 posts

When I bought my iPad Mini, I was told I had two options. I could purchase the cellular version or the WiFi version. The cellular version was more expensive and had a SIM card in it which allowed it to download cellular data. It also required an actual phone number.

Which version did you buy? If you only bought the WiFi version, you may not have cellular capability. Check with Apple to find out whether your device can use cellular or if you are tethered to WiFi.

Posted by
2409 posts

I did buy the cellular version of iPad. A recent Apple salesperson did explain to me that I can't buy an appropriate SIM card in the US (after I was sold one that the AT&T salesperson said would work). He told me in Europe they will give me the correct SIM card, but I'd like to know more than that to make sure I get it. So there is a difference, I just want to clarify that the right card exists based on someone's real experience or knowledge. So yeah, I do like anecdotal when the alleged 'facts' didn't line up. Besides, I enjoy other people's stories...

Posted by
575 posts

Which iPad Mini model did you buy? Did you get it at the Apple store or from a carrier?

Posted by
2409 posts

I bought it in 2019 directly from Apple. I have many Apple products. This is my first iPad Mini. It is 5th generation, with the cellular. I have op system 13.3.1 on it. I obviously can wait to find out if it works when I get there, but due to the experience here in the US, I am curious...

Posted by
1510 posts

I have an iPad mini, and we use a Vodafone sim. Works great. You may want to create a google voice account- free. Then you can select or are assigned a phone #. You can make calls (free) on google hangouts app while on cellular data. Handy fir hotels, taxis, calling home, banks, etc.

Posted by
2409 posts

Thanks Karen. That's exactly the type of information I was hoping to receive.

Posted by
5019 posts

I think you may be making this unnecessarily complicated.

I have traveled all over the world with an iPad Mini (actually, several) for many years. I've never had any issues with "the wrong kind of SIM" anywhere. Just buy a SIM that fits (easy now, since virtually all come with "pop-out" SIMs in all 3 sizes), one that works in the country/countries you will be visiting. Of course, your iPad needs to be unlocked, not restricted to a particular carrier's network, but I believe that's how all come now (but you should confirm this).

How much data you are going to use is hard to say - depends on what you do with it. If I were you I would simply confirm your device is unlocked, and then buy a SIM upon arrival. Across core EU countries any local SIM should work seamlessly.

Posted by
2409 posts

David, I think you are correct about overthinking this. I think the US one I was sold was more for talk and less for data so it might have worked one time. I don’t need it, but will try it on my upcoming trip. Thanks.

Posted by
2 posts

As a point of information on the iPad and iPad Mini in general - if you have a WiFi only version it will not have a GPS receiver in it. Only the "cellular" versions have a built in GPS receiver. So, even if you use a cached map app like Google Maps or Maps.me, it will not be able to determine your position if it is the WiFi only version. It will not work for car or pedestrian navigation. And no, the SIM does not have to be active for the GPS receiver to work on the "cellular" version of the iPad or iPad Mini as long as you use cached maps.

This issue does not occur on the iPhone, even if you don't have cellular service. The GPS receiver is always built in. Lastly, Android based WiFi only tablets tend to also have a GPS receiver built-in as well.