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How to Turn off Data Roaming on iPhone – Avoid high costs

How to Turn off Roaming on iPhone Taking a lengthy vacation abroad is an awesome experience – paying for data roaming volume, is not. While planning your trip, make sure to take data roaming charges into consideration. Typically, your cell phone plan won’t offer 3G or 4G data abroad without an extra charge. Thus we’ll show you how to avoid roaming fees while traveling.

If you turn off roaming on your iPhone, you can avoid paying the sometimes hefty fee that comes with enjoying a mobile data connection abroad. If you choose to not pay roaming fees and disable the corresponding option within iOS, uploading photos to Facebook or Twitter will require WiFi via a public hotspot or your hotel room internet connection.

What is data roaming?

Traveling abroad is a change of territory for your iPhone and results in leaving the area that is covered by your service provider. Roaming makes sure that service continues in an uninterrupted fashion and basically connects the networks of varying providers. Your phone automatically “hops” between geographically limited networks as needed.

Depending on contractual agreements and other factors, your service provider will bill you with the extra cost generated by him having to pay another provider for the usage of the network abroad.

How to turn off roaming on iPhone

Firstly, check with your service provider whether roaming data is included in your plan and your destination is accounted for within the plan. Otherwise, you might want to disable data roaming to avoid unnecessary cost. Many apps download or upload data in the background, especially social networks such as Facebook might end up being an unexpected cost factor. Here’s a guide that shows you the quickest way to avoid this common issue.

Settings app > Cellular > Data Roaming

Open up your “Settings” application on your iPhone. Find the section labeled “Cellular” and tap it, then disable the toggle labeled “Data Roaming” to globally disable any kind of download or upload activity over foreign cell networks. You will still be able to receive and make calls, or receive and send regular SMS.

how to turn off roaming on iPhone


Intermittent internet access can be accomplished by enabling the “Data Roaming” toggle temporarily. Make sure to disable it afterwards to minimize additional charges. As explained above, public WiFi hotspots are a viable alternative that is mostly offered free of charge or in ad-supported form. Your hotel may offer paid WiFi access that usually suffices for a couple of emails, web browsing and uploading the odd holiday photo.

Another option are local service providers. Buying a prepaid SIM at your destination is often inexpensive and enables you to access the mobile web to your heart’s content. Using an alternative SIM comes with two catches, however. You will not be reachable under your regular number unless you set up call forwarding. Plus, your iPhone needs to be factory unlocked to allow the usage of another SIM card.