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SIM Card and iPad

I plan to purchase and use a SIM card in Europe in May for my iPhone. [Sorry all - I read all about the eSIM here and it's too overwhelming for my brain!]. I may also bring my iPad (with no cellular service). Will I continue to receive iMessages on my iPad on my U.S. phone number for which I’ll have a roaming charge?
Can I merely use the iPad for internet while on wifi (in the hotel, etc) and not worry about any extra charges?

Posted by
9106 posts

You will still get texts from other Apple users via your Ipad, but not from Android users.
While you can operate your Ipad via Wifi you also have the option of “tethering” your Ipad to your phone via the Personal Hotspot feature on the IPhone and connect to the net via the local sim.

Posted by
48 posts

Thanks, Michael, for the response. If I “tether” the iPad to the iPhone, where do any iMessages to my U.S. phone number go? Are they saved somewhere? I'm actually thinking it might be wiser not to use the data from the local SIM card for my iPad while I’m merely surfing the internet, reading news articles, etc. while in my hotel and I can connect to wifi. Any thoughts?

Posted by
6848 posts

SEAsiaTraveler, by tethering, you are using the hotspot on your iPhone to allow your iPad to access the internet without wifi. If you are only going to keep the iPad in your hotel, then I would suggest just sticking to wifi. Most SIMs and eSIM data plans have limited data so it makes sense to conserve it when possible.

With regards to Messages, this app is provided by Apple, which is why you will only get Messages from other Apple (iPhone) users when you are connected to wifi only. If you want text messages from non iPhone users, you will need to connect to cellular data.

If you do use your iPhone's hotspot to connect your iPad to the internet, the texts/messages you receive will be saved in your phone and iPad just like they would if you were at home. Does that make sense?

Posted by
48 posts

Thanks for helping me out, Mardee.
As for “saved messages” on my iPad - will I see them from other Apple users at no roaming charge or any charge, for that matter? That’s my biggest concern. On my last trip out of the country, I was afraid of roaming charges (hadn’t done any research), got a SIM card for my phone and left my iPad on airplane mode and didn’t use it. Data was so, so inexpensive in Cartagena, Colombia that I only used that and never used the hotel WiFi. Of course, that meant I read everything on a tiny phone screen!

Posted by
642 posts

If your iPad is a WiFi only device as opposed to the WiFi + cellular version then you should not incur any charges while using free WiFi.

If you’ve set up your iPhone and iPad to automatically join network/hotspot or tether to each other then you may want to ensure that the opportunity for connecting to your eSim does not occur if such is supported. This can be done by going to settings.

My WiFi only iPad is a primary resource during international travel. Things that are saved on your iPad (notes, messages, contacts, files, photos, etc will be available.

Posted by
5687 posts

SEAsiaTraveler, the prepaid SIM you choose must allow free tethering ("Hotspot") to use it to tether your iPad to the internet. Many of them do these days, but just make sure that particular prepaid SIM plan allows free tethering/hotspot.

Posted by
6848 posts

As for “saved messages” on my iPad - will I see them from other Apple users at no roaming charge or any charge, for that matter? That’s my biggest concern.

As raymonlee said, just check your iPad when you have access to wifi and you should have any problems with opening them. If you only have your iPad connected to wifi, there is no need to worry about roaming charges, because cellular data does not apply. It's only if you use your phone's hotspot to tether the iPad that you might have problems, depending your settings. I would just open the iPad in your hotel or when you know you have wifi - you can check all your messages and emails then without worrying about extra charges.

Posted by
48 posts

Thanks for the additional info, raymonelee. Yet another question from me! My iPad is Wifi only BUT it is “synced” to my iPhone and my at home MacBook. As such, I get the same emails on all three, same iMessages, notes, etc. I don't have it set up to automatically join a network/hotspot as far as I know. You mentioned that I may want to ensure the iPad doesn't connect to eSIM (am assuming that also means a SIM card). Would you be able to explain where in Settings I can look for this and how I need to set it. I don't want it “tethered” to my iPhone with the SIM card. I tried…..unsuccessfully…..to use Google to find the answer. Thanks for your help!

Posted by
48 posts

Thanks Andrew and Mardee!
By now, you can see how easily I’m confused and why I'm planning to only use a SIM card because I have that experience down pat……and not trying to use eSIM.
Andrew - my objective is to NOT tether the two devices and to ensure that is the case.
Thanks, Mardee, for the additional explanation.
Too bad you're all not sitting physically next to me - I learn much better that way!

Posted by
5687 posts

SEAsiaTraveler, why wouldn't you want to tether your iPad to your iPhone? Wouldn't you like to use the iPad in places where there is no other WiFi e.g. on a train? Tethering doesn't mean you are always using data from the iPhone - only when you want to. I use my Android phone for tethering to my laptop all the time when I travel, but when I'm at the hotel, I put both of them on WiFi. The Android's hotspot is used only when I don't have access to other WiFi. I turn it off when I'm done using it, so as soon as I do that, the laptop loses connection.

Posted by
48 posts

Hi Andrew - the reason I don't want to connect the two is based on my last trip to Colombia, a couple weeks ago, I saw how fast we used data with my reading the N.Y. Times and my husband reading the Washington Post. Granted, we were sitting by a pool and we don't expect to be sitting around like that in Copenhagen and Holland. On the other hand, it might be nice in the hotel rooms in the mornings or evenings to use wifi to read the news, restaurant reviews, etc.

Posted by
1252 posts

Anddrew... plus keeping hotspot on for extended time also eats up your battery power.

Posted by
6848 posts

SEAsiaTraveler, I travel with an iPhone and either laptop or iPad mini and i don't bother to use my hotspot. When I'm on the train, I either use my phone or I read on my Kindle. I only use them when I'm in my hotel so I totally get how you feel.

Yet another question from me! My iPad is Wifi only BUT it is “synced” to my iPhone and my at home MacBook. As such, I get the same emails on all three, same iMessages, notes, etc. I don't have it set up to automatically join a network/hotspot as far as I know. You mentioned that I may want to ensure the iPad doesn't connect to eSIM (am assuming that also means a SIM card). Would you be able to explain where in Settings I can look for this and how I need to set it. I don't want it “tethered” to my iPhone with the SIM card. I tried…..unsuccessfully…..to use Google to find the answer.

In your settings on your iPad, go to the Wi-Fi setting (right underneath Airplane Mode). At the bottom, there will be an option that says "Auto-Join Hotspot." The default is usually "Ask to Join" but you can change it to "Never," which means you won't accidently turn it on. You can change it back at any time in case you do decide that it is convenient to tether your iPad to your phone. If that is the case, just change it back to "Ask to Join."

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you so much, Mardee! Perfect! I changed it to "Never." If I ever want to change it back, I will have forgotten and will have to contact you again :) !

Posted by
48 posts

You've been so very helpful, Mardee,........that maybe...........I will reconsider an eSIM. Not today! Enough questions and answers for one day!
Thanks to all the posters for your info and for your patience with me!

Posted by
642 posts

Great, Mardee answered your question about tethering/hotspot. When you decide that you want to tether then simply undo this step. These actions will not affect the ability of your devices to sync. Enjoy!

Posted by
5687 posts

We all have different preferences...but the Hotspot is one of the essential features for me with my laptop when I travel. Data is cheap and I much prefer typing on a laptop to a phone (or tablet), so I don't see the point of not using the Hotspot on a train or something. I don't use an iPad - maybe they are big data hogs or something. Many trains have power ports these days too, so I don't have to worry about running out of battery.