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iPhone in France

I would like to use my iPhone 5s as a gps in France for a few days. Is there a SIM card I can buy that will enable me to do that without running up my data?

Posted by
30970 posts


Whether you'll be able to use a local SIM card will depend on whether your iPhone is "unlocked". You could also check with your home cell network to determine the costs of their international roaming plans. Most of those provide some data capability and if you use it sparingly, the costs shouldn't be excessive.

Posted by
112 posts

Last year we spent a month in Spain and used a locally purchased SIM card for each of our unlocked iPhones (6Plus). The plan included 1 GB of data as well as unlimited text and calls for about €20 for each of us. We used our iPhones daily for Google Maps to navigate on foot, in the car and when hiking in the Alpujarras , looking up restaurants etc., checking email and posting pictures to Instagram etc. We never came close to using our allotted data. At night we used WiFi when we were in our apartment but mostly we used our data plan when we were out and about. Using Google Maps as a GPS uses surprisingly little data as far as I can tell and you shouldn't worry about using it. We constantly whipped out our phones to check where we were and how to find the nearest..... And, had we needed to, we could have simply added another 1GB for €20. Our GPS experience with "Googalina, Our Lady of the Dashboard" as we dubbed her, was stellar - she was always accurate even in the tiny narrow streets of the Albaicin in Granada which was some of the hairiest driving we did. If you want to make sure before you go, use your phone at home for Google Maps as a GPS and check your usage in the Settings of your phone.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks all. I will check with my provider (Verizon) about unlocking the phone. Whenever I buy a package it seems to cost a fortune and even then I'm afraid to open the phone for fear of being barraged with unwanted data. Yes, I am worse than a 3-year-old. I have heard that buying a SIM card for France is unsatisfactory. Any suggestions for brands?

Posted by
5436 posts

I'm tempted to suggest that spending an inordinate amount of time in Leclerc supermarkets simply to access wifi is perhaps not the best use of one's expensive and short vacation time . . .

Posted by
2518 posts

There are a multitude of cards and plans available. In the past I've used Lebara and it was fine tho I had to reup once to get more data. Inexpensive and it worked!

Posted by
4 posts

All Verizon iphones from the 5 onward (and possibly the 4s) are unlocked. Every one. They will work with local SIMs without locking issues.

This includes iPhones purchased on a subsidized contract.

Depending on the areas in which you intend to travel, you can download a good amount of map data for offline use in Google Maps. You'll have maps, but not routing/directions.

Posted by
269 posts

5S will work. Get local sim at airport. Done. Total cost: about $30-45.