Using your iPhone in the UK


iPhone 3GS smart phone
The iPhone is an essential tool when traveling to the UK for Americans. Google maps, travel guides, language translation, and many other apps are extremely useful. Using our United States, USA AT&T iPhone in the UK is tricky. Verizon iPhones from the USA do not work internationally. Here are some tips on using your iPhone in the UK. We also have an article on using iPhones in Hong Kongusing iPhones in Chinausing iPhones in Franceusing iPhones in the UK

Be sure to read restaurant reviews for the UK:

You can only use foreign SIM cards in an unlocked iPhone.  Jailbreaking and unlocking iPhones are not easy tasks.  (We use and Be sure to change your default SSH password.

One slip and you may have bricked your expensive smartphone. We recommend buying a pre-jailbroken/unlocked used iPhone from eBay or Craigslist.  iPhone 3G’s typically cost around $150. Make sure you carry a paper clip with you.

This article also applies to the iPhone 4 and iPad 3G, but you need to cut the SIM into a microSIM.

The main cellphone carriers in the UK are O2, . We learned from our trip that O2 is the most economical for American travelers with iPhones or other smartphones. O2 has Simplicity plans that start at £5. We got a Pay & Go plan for £10 with 100 minutes and 500MB of Internet browsing.

We bought our SIM card from a local Carphone Warehouse store or try an O2 store for free when buying £10 of calling credit and 500MB of internet.

We then added on unlimited internet browsing for a month. To OPT IN to the £7.50 O2 Web Bolt On send a free text message containing the keyword “WEB” to 21300 or call free on 2425 from your O2 mobile.  This may change and then you’ll have to top up £10 to get 500MB more data.

Have the store activate the phone and load the card.

If needed, manually set these iPhone Data settings: (Settings – General – Network – Cellular Data Network)

  • APN: (letter o not the number 0)
  • Username: vertigo
  • Password: password
  • MMS APN:
  • Username: Leave blank
  • Password: Leave blank

Turn your iPhone off and on again to get the new settings to load.

Ignore the Visual Voicemail APN box – it’s not available to Pay & Go customers or Pay Monthly customers (with a non iPhone tariff)

If you’re a Pay & Go iPhone customer, using your iPhone sim for the first time, you’ll need to top up by at least £10.

For your remaining Bolt On balance send a free text message with the keyword “BALANCE” to 20202 or call 4444 option 2 free from your O2 mobile. Call 4445 for customer support.

These instructions should work for other smartphones including Android based smartphones that support US GSM networks from AT&T and T-Mobile.

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