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Cell phone issue

Two years ago on my first trip to Wales , I did not take my iPhone 6 along as I was worried about accidentally incurring huge data charges ( I’m from Canada). Instead I purchased a cheap little cellphone at a strore in Chester, and service from a good provider that worked all over North Wales. If I were to do that again I’d spend 20 pounds not 10 as it was very small and had 4 letters on 1 key . I only used it to contact my relatives in Wales and England. To contact family in Canada I emailed them on my Apple ipad and took some photos on it as well which was inconvenient.

My phone needs are the same this time, only a couple of texts or phone calls a day to relatives in Wales and England. I will take my laptop to send emails and photos to family. Is there anyway I can feel safe with taking my own iPhone and not incurting hige data costs? I could also just take my camera and figure out how to download photos to my laptop. Please advise if you have experience with this .

Posted by
8 posts

Is there anyway I can feel safe with taking my own iPhone and not incurting hige data costs?

Just turn off data roaming. If you want a belt and suspenders approach, turn off all data and put it in airplane mode (if you don't want to receive or make voice calls).

I will take my laptop to send emails and photos to family.

You might consider installing Google Photos to backup your photos when traveling. Don't use it if you are already using iCloud Photo Library (not iCloud backup) as the two tools don't play well together. Using Google Photos you can easily copy images to your laptop - but honestly, why take a laptop if you can do email from your phone?

Have a good trip!

Posted by
8 posts

P.S., As with any new application. Become familiar with how it works before you leave home.

Posted by
575 posts

Lorraine, is your iPhone unlocked? If so, you could use an inexpensive sim while you’re in the UK. Here is one option from EE which has very good coverage in the UK. EE pay as you go pack

Posted by
11153 posts

I'm not clear on this, but do you still have the phone you used two years ago? If so, you should be able to use it on this trip, for the same things. The SIM card is probably expired, but you can buy a new one. If the phone is locked, you have to buy from the same provider as you used last time; if it's unlocked, you can buy from any provider.

Yes, if you're worried about phone charges on your iPhone, just turn it to Airplane mode, then turn on Wi-Fi.

Also, check with your Canadian carrier to see what their current travel plans for the UK are. These change all the time, so using your iPhone in the UK may not be nearly as expensive as it was two years ago.

Posted by
291 posts

As has been mentioned, you can turn off data roaming.

Settings (the homescreen icon that looks like a bunch of gears) > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > toggle Data Roaming to the OFF position (it will be grayed out, with no green).

At the same screen, you could even turn off Cellular Data entirely, to be extra certain. This would mean you'd have to be connected to wifi in order to perform any data functions, from checking emails and viewing webpages, or even any background data usage. Essentially, I gather you'd then be using your iPhone in a manner very similar to how you use your iPad (since you would send e-mails from it) - waiting until connected to wifi to do it.

Posted by
639 posts

Turning off data roaming is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I have been taking my iPhone to Europe twice a year for years and always turned off data roaming and all push notifications and never incurred any fees till the trip I just took in March. But apparently some app that uses GPS (photos does that, that's how your photos can tell you where they were taken) was running in the background even though I didn't use it. I had the phone with me and turned on, but never used it except for a few photos (I have an actual camera) one day. Got home to a $232 extra fees bill, they claimed the phone was 'connecting' every single day. Still confused as to why this happened this time and never on any previous trips but ATT couldn't explain that. I am switching to T-Mobile. But If you want to stick with ATT, Verizon, etc. I would make sure it is in airplane mode the whole time except the days you want to make calls. And be sure to put the $10/day international plan in place before you go. That kind of plan works if you are only going for a week or only want to use the phone a few times, but if you travel like I do, for up to 35 days per trip that becomes an outrageous amount. Buying a local SIM card for your phone works IF your phone is unlocked. But then you get a different phone number and it's a bit of a hassle to buy one and put it in. But that's what I've done in the past and would do again if for some reason T-Mobile doesn't work for you.

Posted by
3133 posts

I turn off cell data and turn on airplane mode as soon as the aircraft door closes en route across the Atlantic. While that is redundant, in case for some bizarre reason I happen to turn off the airplane mode by mistake, the cellular data is still turned off so no chance of being charged exorbitant data charges.

I make phone calls on wifi via whatsapp or Facetime.

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks so much for all of your advice. I will contact my provider. Virgin Mobile to see about UK plans. I have only Wifi no data plan so if I have my iPhone always on airplane mode except if I am actually using wifi is this safe for not incurring extra charges? I’m alright with having to rely on wifi at my relatives and B and Bs in the evening.

Posted by
291 posts

As long as you have your data roaming and your cellular data turned off, you should be ok to just use wifi. At that point, your phone is no longer really a cellular device but just a wifi access device.

Posted by
3133 posts

I have only Wifi no data plan so if I have my iPhone always on
airplane mode except if I am actually using wifi is this safe for not
incurring extra charges?

Remember to keep your iPhone on airplane mode for your entire trip; never turn it off. Airplane mode blocks cellular access only. To see for yourself, test this at home. When you're on wifi, put your phone on Airplane mode and see for yourself. :-)

As for safety, never use any app or website involving any personal data like your credit cards, debit cards, bank accounts while using someone else's wifi. Free wifi mean no security.