Having an iPhone available to you while traveling can be very useful. When traveling abroad you do not want to worry about data charges that might be imposed on you by your cell phone carrier. Here are the steps needed to use your iPhone in another country and how to control the amount of data you are using.
Please note the Settings navigation listed are correct as of iPhone software update iOS 7.1
Get an international data plan
Prior to your trip contact your existing cell phone data provider and add an international data plan package to your cell phone account. Select the amount of data you feel will best suit your travel needs and find out how much added data may cost if you need more during your trip. If you plan on making calls on your phone also ask your cell phone provider about telephone rates.
Enable your iPhone to work internationally
Upon arriving in another country you will need to turn data roaming on to allow your iPhone to pick up signals from international carriers. This allows you to access data, as well as receive calls and texts.
Step 1: Open the Settings application and tap Cellular.
Step 2: Turn Data Roaming on.
If you plan on making calls on your phone you will need to make sure that the iPhone adds the correct country prefix when dialing.
Step 1: Open the Settings application and tap Phone.
Step 2: Turn Dial Assist on.
With dial assist on you can make phone calls to people in your contacts list without needing to add the prefix for your country code.
Decrease data usage: E-Mail, Notifications, and Locations
A lot of data can be used when your phone automatically pulls new e-mails into your in-box. You will want to turn this feature off.
Step 1: Open the Settings application and tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
Step 2: Tap Fetch New Data and switch Push to off.
Step 3: Under Push tap each e-mail account individually and under Select Schedule select Manual.
After turning this feature off to get e-mails refresh your in-boxes within the Mail application itself.
Turn off all of your notifications except essential alerts such as texts and phone calls. Also keep on notifications for calendars and reminders if you use them for travel plan alerts.
Step 1: Open the Settings application and tap Notification Center.
Step 2: For each application listed switch Alert Style to none and turn off all the following: Badge App Icon, Sounds, Show in Notification Center, Show on Lock Screen
You will be using location-based services while traveling, such as Maps and any transportation or dining applications. However, you will need to turn off applications that use location-based services but are not required for your trip.
Step 1: Open the Settings application and tap Privacy
Step 2: Tap Location Services and turn off the applications you will not need during your trip.
Keep track of your data
If you purchase an international data package from your carrier and you go over the allotted amount of data you will have to pay additional fees. By setting your cell usage counter to zero once you land in the other country you will be able to track how much data you are using.
Step 1: Open the Settings application and tap Cellular
Step 2: Tap Reset Statistics and select Reset Statistics.
During your trip open the Cellular screen for statistics on how much data you have used.
Use Wi-Fi when possible
When using Wi-Fi log into secure Wi-Fi zones. Many restaurant chains abroad (including Starbucks) allow for customers to use their Wi-Fi. Your hotel may offer Wi-Fi service either in your room or in the lobby. Get the information you need using Wi-Fi and then you can use cell data for times when Wi-Fi is not accessible. If you will not be purchasing an international data plan, you can keep your iPhone set to airplane mode. When Wi-Fi is available turn it on within airplane mode to access the data you need.