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Uploading walking tours to phone

Leaving for Germany soon (work) then back to Paris and Rome for fun. I uploaded the Rick Steves App and chose many of the walking tours. I am of the impression that these talking walking tours will be accesed thorough the App. I am turning off my Apps so that I do not have a huge phone bill. I purchased the International Travel plan from ATT, but was told the time I have to use apps is very small, so can only use apps when on Wi-Fi. Can I put the tours directly to my phone like my music? I am 65 so am not terribly IT savey, but can muddle through.

Thanks for any help.

Posted by
27431 posts

You have been told (or heard) slightly incorrectly.

Some apps use internet data and some don't.

What kind of phone do you have, out of curiosity?

If your app wants data there are basically two ways it can get it depending on how your settings have been set.

It can get the data by wifi or by what is called "Cellular Data" by Apple. It is the cellular data, the data from cell phone (mobile) masts which will send you to the poorhouse. Wifi data will cost you only what you have to pay the hotel or coffee bar for the wifi - mostly in Europe now that is free.

With an iPhone the main settings screen offers you as the first option next to the orange icon with the while plane on it the chance to enter "Airplane Mode". That turns off all the phones radios and will prevent you receiving or making any calls, and using any cellular data or any wifi.

If you turn on airplane mode you can still tap the next button down and turn on wifi and log in.

Be careful because if you reset your phone or turn it all the way off it will switch everything back on when you restart the phone.

You should use airplane mode when on a plane to comply with the law in most countries.

You can also switch off airplane mode to restore the phone to normal and tap the 4th button down in the settings "Cellular" and then switch off Cellular Data. That will leave everything else, including phone calls, in the normal mode.


So... to cut to the chase, it is apps which use Cellular Data which you need to be careful about, wifi is no problem, and instead of disabling apps you can cut out cellular use or cellular data use depending on your needs and the plan you have.

The chance is that the person you spoke to has never traveled out of the country and is trying to get it right but just missing the target.


And best news of all - the Rick Steves App uses no data at all once you have downloaded the walks you want, which you have already done. It just works like an mp3 player and plays the files already on the phone.

If you have a different operating system - such as Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone, etc., the settings will be slightly different, and the iPhone Rick Steves app is miles ahead of the Android one. The iPhone one has just been upgraded, those changes have not yet happened on the Android app.

That's why I asked you to share the type of phone you have, and if you can what release of the operating system is on it.

I'm sure you'll be fine..... we'll give you everything you need to know.

Posted by
2004 posts

Nigel, as someone who is also not so tech savvy, I very much appreciate your easy-to understand-explanation of how that works! Thanks!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for your reply. I have a Samsung 5 Android phone. I know I can use the phone with Wi-Fi. My concern, possibly incorrect, is that in order to access the audio tours I have to open the Rick Steves App I have on my phone. I don't know where else to go on my phone to access to audio as it is when I click on the RS app that the audios show up. If I disable my Apps (so I don't go to the poor house) I will not be able to listen to the audio tours as I will be walking around not accessible to wi-fi.

Thank you so much for the tip about turning off my phone and then turning it back on again. I probably won't do that, but if so, will know to turn my apps off again.

I will have to re-read your helpful dialogue as it takes me a bit to understand techy stuff. Ha, took me a bit to even figure out how to reply to your reply! Never to old to learn new stuff!

Posted by
11280 posts

Here's the most important part of Nigel's post:

You do NOT have to disable the Rick Steves app when you are in Europe. It only uses data when you are actively downloading tours. Once the tours are downloaded, you can play them without any data connection at all (just like your downloaded music, as you say).

If you doubt this, put your phone in Airplane mode, then play a tour; you'll see it works fine. Airplane mode disables all connections (Wi-Fi, data, calls, texts). To get Airplane mode quickly on the Samsung Galaxy S5 (which happens to be the same model I have), press and hold the button on the right that shuts off the screen, and it will come up as an option. Testing an app in Airplane mode is a sure way to see if it needs a data connection to work.

To download a tour, you do need a data connection. So, download all the tours while you are at home, or if you need one abroad, only when you are on Wi-Fi .

One very important thing to make sure of is that you have set your apps to auto-update over WiFi only. To do this, open the Play Store, then press the 3 horizontal lines on the top left. Near the bottom, choose Settings. The first category is "Auto-update apps"; make sure it says either "Auto-update over Wi-Fi only" or "Do not auto-update apps." If it says "Auto-update apps at any time," change it to one of the other two options.