What Should I Do To My iPhone When Traveling Internationally?

Iphones make traveling easier these days actually allowing you to simultaneously use two different SIMs. Essentially you are going to be able to have two numbers registered to the same iPhone device. This is going to make actually getting a foreign SIM a lot easier. As you are not going to have to go through the unlocking issue and risk the loss of data that tends to come with switching out regular SIM cards. There are a couple of things that you should probably keep in mind before you go ahead and buy an eSIM that you are going to be able to activate on your phone.

First of all only the newest iPhones actually have this capability. This feature is available on iPhone XR and up. Pretty much anything that was released in late 2018 and beyond is going to have this feature. If you have an earlier version of the phone then you are going to still have to go through the standard procedures to be able to actually add another SIM card or insert one. This is going to change the outlook of your options quite drastically, to be honest. For the most part, this article is going to consider Iphones that have the capability to handle two SIMs.

  • Make sure that you are buying an eSIM
  • Actually Using The Feature on iPhone While Traveling
  • Turn off your regular data
  • Unlocked phone
  • When is buying a new SIM not worth it?
  • How many SIMs can I add to my iPhone for traveling?
  • What you should be looking for in a mobile carrier

Make sure that you are buying an eSIM

If you have a newer version of the iPhone, remember iPhone XR and up you are going to need an eSIM. An eSIM is not going to be a card like the other SIMs that you would have to use. Typically these are going to be QR codes that you are going to be able to activate by scanning them with your phone. One thing that you have to keep in mind though is that you may be going somewhere where eSIMs are not yet a thing. There are places in Africa, maybe Central America, where you could have trouble finding what you need on that end.

The newer versions of the iPhone do not or will not give you the opportunity to insert a regular SIM card. Even some of the smaller cards that are made especially for iPhone. So, it is a good idea to keep that in mind when you are shopping for a SIM card wherever it is that you decide to travel.

Actually Using The Feature on iPhone While Traveling

The new feature that allows you to have two SIM cards registered to the same phone is actually not that hard to use. It really depends on the carrier that you chose to buy from. Some carriers are going to require that you install their app and buy the SIM from there. Others are going to give you a QR code as was previously mentioned. The process of getting this new SIM to work is going to be relatively easy. What you are going to need to do is go to your settings tap cellular, and then go to add cellular plan. That is where you are going to get the chance to actually scan the QR code.

What is going to happen then is that you are going to have two active numbers. Whenever you want to call or text an icon will appear that is going to allow you to change the number that you are going to want to call or text. You are going to have what is called a default phone. You can choose which one of the two you would want as your default phone. Without a doubt, this makes adding a SIM easier. The problem that you may face abroad is mistakingly leaving a certain SIM activated. If you do that you could end up with roaming charges anyway. Which, is what you wanted to avoid in the first place.

Turn off your regular data

Pretty much the same steps that you would take to activate this new SIM card are the ones that you are going to need to take to ensure that you are using the right data. Head to cellular when you have activated the second SIM card you are going to be able to see both of your carriers appear there. You can turn off the data transmission for one of your carriers. Why is this important while traveling abroad? Well, the whole idea of buying a new SIM is to not incur in roaming charges and all of those hidden fees that you could get hit with if you just used your phone abroad regularly. Even if you have to SIM cards activated you could still be charged if the line that is foreign to the country that you are in is activated.

What you can do if you want to get your messages from that phone is to only activate that particular SIM when you are using a wifi connection. For a lot of people, this could take some getting used to. You are going to have to play, a little bit of musical chairs to make sure that you are paying the best price that you can pay. Which, at the end of the day is pretty much the goal for most people.

Unlocked Phone

One would think that with this new feature you would not have to worry about having your phone unlocked. If you bought your phone from your usual carrier there is a great chance that you have a locked phone. Which, means that even though your phone supports the 2 SIM function you are not going to be able to enjoy it. You are going to have to make sure that your phone is unlocked to make sure this procedure can go through.

You could actually unlock your phone on your own. There are a lot of Youtube videos on the subject so there is no real need to go into heavy detail about this process. The best thing that you can do is make sure that all of the files that you have on your phone are properly backed up. At least the ones that you really care about. The process of unlocking a phone could result in some files being lost. The best thing to do is to make sure that you are fully aware of the dangers and prepared for them.

When is buying a new SIM not worth it?

There are instances where buying a new SIM card may not be the best thing that you could do. If you are just taking a short trip from the US to Canda or Mexico you could be better off paying the international fee. The fee is going to see you pay around 5 dollars a day. That is a bit too much when days add up. If you are going to be there two or three days though, 15 dollars could be worth saving yourself the hassle. Especially if you happen to have a locked phone. Unlocking your phone is not the hardest thing in the world. It has proven difficult for some people in the past though. What they end up doing is that they will have to get their phone unlocked at the mall or something. Having to go through those types of things could make the experience just not worth the 15 dollars.

If you are going to take a trip that is going to be at least a week-long then you really should think about buying a SIM card. Especially if you are going to be making these trips regularly. A 70 or 100 dollar extra bill is not something that seemingly anyone wants to really look at, at the end of the month. Therefore, it is important that you look into buying a new SIM. As was mentioned before though, it is important that you get the right SIM. Price is not the only thing that you should take into consideration when buying an extra SIM card. Actually making sure that you are going to have proper coverage wherever it is that you are going is more important. At times you may have to pay extra coverage, not just a couple of bucks that would see you get the cheap SIM card.

How many SIMs can I add to my iPhone for traveling?

At the time that research was done for this article, the system seemed like it was set to be able to take on multiple SIMs. Really it works great with two. There is actually a reason why it would not be a great idea to go ahead and add more than two SIM cards. You could accidentally one or more of them active and this could lead to charges that you are not expecting. It is just a lot more to keep track of. Now, if you are a person who really does need a wide variety of numbers from across the globe for whatever reason then you could look into this option or look into actually apps that provide this particular service.

With an app like Sonetel, you are going to be able to have different numbers from different places. This app is not going to help you with data. You are going to need a carrier and a SIM card for that. Yet, with this app, you are going to be able to hold multiple phone numbers from all across the globe to be able to receive and make calls. Of course, this is not exactly a solution for some of the issues that may see you in the need to have data in other places. It does solve the phone number issue though in a much easier and actually less expensive fashion to be honest.

One of the issues that we would actually like to have solved is the phone lock issue. With this feature that allows you to be able to hold many SIMs at once, it seems a bit odd that you would not be able to do unless you unlock your phone. This could be one of those long-standing battles though that Apple would have to fight with T-Mobile, Verizon, and company. It is something that they are likely not going to be willing to actually do. So, the unlock system could be in place for quite a while. Of course, this is something that you could totally bypass by buying your phone from apple in this case and making sure that it is unlocked from the get-go. If you are planning on getting a new phone and you know that you love to travel this could be the perfect way to go.

What you should be looking for in a mobile carrier

This is something that we sort of touched on in the past. It is important to make sure that you have some of the keys that you should be looking for. A lot of times people can be swayed by some of the small prices a lot of these companies offer for prepaid SIM cards. There are a couple of things that you need to watch out for though. Number one is the number of days that your original deposit is valid. A lot of companies are going to advertise 20 dollars SIMs that give you 500MB or whatnot. The problem is though the data and the minutes that this particular SIM comes with “spoil” after 5 days. Most of the super cheap offers have a short expiration date. This is not an issue of course if you are going to be going on a short trip. Still, it could be something that you would do well to watch out for.

Another thing that you need to worry about is the type of coverage that you can expect to get. Most of the large carriers actually have a map of their coverage that you can take a look at and see if you are going to be getting coverage in a particular area. This is something that is especially important when you are traveling to more remote areas and not necessarily the big cities.

When we are talking about SIM cards specifically for iPhones you have to make sure that the company carries SIM cards for iPhones. Whether that be an eSIM or one of those smaller SIM cards that are used for some of the older versions of the phone. This is not going to be an issue when traveling to all countries. Yet, some of the older phones are no longer going to be compatible with a regular SIM card either. If your plan was to go ahead and take an old phone on your trip this is something that you would do well to put a little more research into.

What should I do with my iPhone then?

So, the whole article has basically looked at some of the options that you are going to have available for you. In some of the other articles on the site, we have speculated that perhaps the best option is to actually buy a phone abroad and use it while you are there. This is especially a good idea if we are talking about a place that you are going to visit often. The thing is with this new feature where you are going to be able to have multiple SIM cards on one phone you are not going to need to buy another phone at all. In fact, there is really no great reason for you to do so. Unless you are afraid of losing your regular phone on an excursion.

This feature could actually make it a good idea to buy a SIM card even if you are only going to be traveling for a couple of days. That is why we mentioned that some of the SIM cards that expire within a couple of days could be great options for short trips. Yet, they are also something that you are going to want to be very careful with if you are looking to go on longer trips. Obviously, the easiest thing to do then is to find the type of SIM that fits your particular needs and buy that.

Of course, make sure you know that you are going to be able to get coverage where you are going. Check that out before you buy it. You can actually order a SIM card online and test it out before you get on a plane. So that, by the time that you actually arrive at your destination you are all set up and you can literally use your phone abroad as if you were at home. Without the fear of actually coming back home to a very expensive phone bill. Which, is what we are all trying to avoid at the end of the day.