15 ways to cut your iPhone roaming charges

20th Jul 2010 | 15:10

15 ways to cut your iPhone roaming charges

The best ways to reduce roaming charges when abroad

How to cut your iPhone roaming charges: 1-8

Many people have gone abroad with their iPhone for their holiday or on business, only to come back to a shock – their phone bill.

Although always being in touch and having Internet access can be very useful, voice and data roaming rates can be expensive and it all adds up: depending on your network, you'll usually pay at least 35p a minute to make a call, 17p a minute to receive one, while 1MB is roughly 50 emails without attachments or five web pages and will cost you at least £3.

However, with a bit of prudence, you can cut your iPhone roaming costs drastically.

1. Get an international calls package
Investigate your network's tariffs to find out if they do deals on international calls. O2, for example, has My Europe Extra and Chosen Country Spain, while Vodafone has Vodafone Passport.

iPhone roaming charges

2. Get a travel data bundle
Many network providers offer discounts on international roaming charges, such as Orange's Travel Bundles. Check at least 24 hours before you go to see if you can get cheaper rates.

iPhone roaming charges

3. Turn off voicemail divert before you go
If you don't answer or are on another call when you get a call, you will be charged for a UK to roaming call and a roaming call if it's diverted to voicemail. If your network supports it, switch off voicemail divert to avoid these charges.

4. Use Wi-Fi for data
With Wi-Fi, you can download as much as you want at far higher speeds than with 3G. You'll find free or cheap Wi-Fi in most countries, particularly in bars, holiday destinations and anywhere with a Starbucks or a MacDonalds. Switching "Ask to Join Networks" on in your Wi-Fi settings will alert you when a network is nearby.

iPhone roaming charges

5. Use VoIP for voice calls
If you use a voice-over-IP package like Skype or Truphone, you can use it on WiFi to make voice calls at a far cheaper rate. Don't use it for 3G calls though!

iPhone roaming charges

6. Keep Airplane Mode on
Switching Airplane Mode on will prevent any 3G data from being downloaded and prevent incoming calls. You can still use Wi-Fi with Airplane Mode on.

iPhone roaming charges

7. Pick your apps carefully
Some apps require constant Internet access, such as Maps, and with iOS4's multitasking, they can be downloading data all the time. Either avoid using them or look for alternative apps, such as oMaps, that do similar things but which can download data for use offline before you go.

iPhone roaming charges

8. Switch to Edge or GPRS
If you switch off 3G, while the amount of data downloaded will be the same for most applications, audio and video servers will realise that you have less bandwidth available and stream you lower-quality – and therefore smaller – media files.

iPhone roaming charges

How to cut your iPhone roaming charges: 9-15

9. Use "mobile friendly" web sites
Many sites, including The Guardian's, Twitter's, the BBC's and Facebook's, have alternative mobile or text-only sites that are not only better formatted for your iPhone's display, they reduce the amount of data you need to download to display them. Check your favourite sites to see if they have mobile versions and bookmark them.

iPhone roaming charges

10. Don't "push"
Some email and calendar services, such as MobileMe and Exchange accounts, "push" data to your iPhone whenever there are updates. To prevent this, switch off "push" in your Mail, Contacts, Calendars settings. Also, make sure the schedule for "Fetch" is set to "Manually" so that apps can only access the Internet when you ask them to.

iPhone roaming charges

11. Switch off Location Services
Each location request by an app downloads data. Once you've authorised an app to locate you, it can do so whenever it likes for another 24 hours. Switching off Location Services in the General settings, either for all apps or for individual apps, will stop this.

iPhone roaming charges

12. Turn off Notifications
The majority of apps that give you alerts use Apple's servers to do so – another Internet download. You can prevent this in the Notifications settings by turning them off altogether or for individual apps.

iPhone roaming charges

13. Turn off unimportant email accounts
Deactivate accounts using the Mail slider for each account using the "Mail, Contact, Calendars" settings for so that you don't download anything from them.

iPhone roaming charges

14. Reduce Mail's data usage
Using Mail, Contact, Calendars to cut down email data by setting Mail to only download the latest 25 messages, and switching off "Load Remote Images". Also, avoid storing drafts and sent messages online instead of on your iPhone.

iPhone roaming charges

15. Use online spam-filtering
When you're roaming, you'll pay to receive spam, so filter it out at the server before you get to it. Check to see if your email provider offers online spam filtering or sign up for a service, such as Bopspam.

iPhone roaming charges

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