If you’re wondering “Can I use UK iPhone in USA?” then check out our entire guide for the latest details.
iPhones are probably the cream of the crop when it comes to smartphones. They offer the best performance, displays, and cameras. All this makes them extremely popular all around the world. But the best reason to own an iPhone is its longevity, both in terms of software and hardware.
iPhones’ longevity is why people stick with it for more than 3-4 years easily and hold on to it like it’s their dear life.
This applies when traveling to or shifting to a new country, they don’t want to part with their iPhone. I have faced this dilemma before too, but I was lucky as I could give my iPhone to a family member who needed one.
For people who can’t afford a new one and have a UK iPhone already in hand, read this article on Can I use a UK iPhone in the USA?
The answer is yes, but it is not so straightforward. Also, why is this even a question, like what are the differences between a UK iPhone and US iPhone, and what do you need to know if you want to use a UK iPhone in the USA? This article will cover it all.
After having reviewed all information on how to use a UK iPhone in the US based on Apple’s official documents and various sources. We found that;
Yes, you can use a UK iPhone in the USA.
To do so, you will need an unlocked iPhone and ensure that the connectivity bands of the UK iPhone are compatible with the bands used in the USA.
If your iPhone is officially unlocked by the carrier or purchased directly from Apple unlocked, it should function on any GSM network.
However, certain features like LTE data access may not work due to differences in hardware between models sold in different countries.
Nevertheless, a GSM iPhone that has been unlocked should accept any GSM carrier’s nano-SIM and provide basic voice and text services, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity.
If you meet these requirements, you can use a UK iPhone in the USA by obtaining a SIM card from a US carrier, and if your iPhone supports dual SIM, you can even add another SIM for added convenience.
Can I use UK iPhone in USA?
Yes, you can use a UK iPhone in the USA. You can use pretty much any country’s iPhone in the USA or anywhere in the world for that matter. Here’s out “Can I use UK iPhone in USA?” guide.
Yet there are still some things you need to know/do before if you want to use a UK iPhone in the USA. You will need an unlocked iPhone and you need to make sure the connectivity bands of the UK are compatible with USA bands.
Your iPhone should function on any GSM network, wherever, if it has been officially unlocked by the carrier it is currently locked to (or purchased directly from Apple unlocked).
Some features, such as LTE data access, might not function since models sold in different countries have different hardware (or, for example, visual voice mail, which is a carrier supported feature, so some may not offer it).
However, a GSM iPhone that has been unlocked should accept any GSM carrier’s nano-SIM and offer basic voice and text service (and of course, wifi is wifi no matter where you are).
I will talk more about all this below. But for now, let’s see why someone would want to use a UK iPhone in the USA.
Reasons to use a UK iPhone in the USA
There are only a few reasons to want to use a UK iPhone in the USA.
One is if you are on a personal trip to the USA from the UK and want to use your iPhone there too. The other is probably if you are on a business trip yet you want to use your iPhone for your personal needs over a business iPhone provided by your company.
One other very unlikely reason would be that you were on a trip to the UK from the USA and found an excellent deal on an iPhone and wanted to buy one as a gift for someone who is in the USA.
No matter the reason, it is mostly a measure to save costs. And remember that this article works the other way round too. You can use a USA iPhone in the UK too, and most of what I say in the article would apply in that situation too.
Now that you have a reason and you have to use a UK iPhone in the USA, let’s see how you can do this.
How to use a UK iPhone in the USA
Using a UK iPhone in the USA will be a straightforward affair if it checks a few boxes.
Firstly, the UK iPhone should be unlocked, this means that you can use the SIM of any carrier into your UK iPhone and it will work. The reason smartphones like iPhones are locked to a carrier is because they can offer good deals and later profit from you using the phone.
But a locked iPhone can only use one carrier, which means that USA carriers won’t work on a UK iPhone. So make sure your UK iPhone is unlocked and free from carrier restrictions.
Then you need to know which bands your smartphone and carrier support. Cellular bands are frequency ranges on which a carrier’s service works.
When LTE (4G) started rolling out first, most carriers did not support all the available bands. This applies to smartphones too, new 4G phones back then didn’t support the available frequency bands, which meant they wouldn’t support 4G the way it was meant to be.
Now, you can take any recently unlocked UK iPhone to the USA and it will support LTE seamlessly.
But the same can’t be said for 5G because the technology is still in the early stages of development and adoption.
Most new 5G phones including iPhones don’t support all the frequency bands, thus there is a good chance 5G won’t work for you when you take your new UK iPhone 12 to the USA.
Once you are sure that your UK iPhone is unlocked and supports all the frequency bands used in the USA, then you can use your UK iPhone in the USA.
It will work seamlessly, just be sure to get a SIM card from a USA carrier. And if your iPhone has dual SIM support then you are in luck as you can easily add another SIM to your iPhone and start using it.
Here is a table comparing the network bands in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK):
|United States (US)
|United Kingdom (UK)
|GSM 850, GSM 1900
|GSM 900, GSM 1800
|UMTS 850, UMTS 1900, UMTS 1700, UMTS 2100
|UMTS 900, UMTS 2100
|LTE 700 (12, 13, 17), LTE 1700 (4, 66), LTE 1900 (2, 25), LTE WCS 2300 (30)
|LTE 800 (20), LTE 1800 (3), LTE 2100 (1), LTE 2300 (40), LTE 2600 (7, 38)
|5G 2500 (41), 5G 39 (260), 5G 28 (260), 5G 600 (71)
|5G 3400 (42), 5G 3500 (78)
Disadvantages of using a UK iPhone in the USA
If you are on a trip to the USA from the UK then you probably won’t have to face many disadvantages when it comes to using an iPhone there.
And even if you do come across problems, then they will be temporary problem since you are only on a trip.
But in case you buy a UK iPhone and are planning to gift it to someone in the USA or if you are relocating to the USA permanently and want to use the same iPhone for the future then, there are some pitfalls you need to know about.
Your UK iPhone might not support the bands available in the USA, if that’s the case then you won’t have good connectivity, signal, or data performance.
This will be especially true for the new 5G iPhone, that is iPhone 12. 4G and almost all of its bands are widely adopted now, so your iPhone 12 will work fine with 4G in the USA, but if you want to use 5G then that might be a problem.
Another big disadvantage is claiming a warranty for your UK iPhone in the USA. Apple products like the iPhone don’t offer an international warranty, so this means if something happens to your UK iPhone in the USA then you will be looking at costly repairs.
Also, If you have a carrier-locked UK iPhone then you have to sell it in the UK because it won’t work in the USA.
Different User Warranties
Apple has declared that it will provide a one-year guarantee for unlocked overseas (non-US) phones. Since iPhones in the US are locked by the carrier, this does not apply to phones there.
The iPhone in the US and the UK varied significantly in this regard as well. Given that you receive an unlocked phone with a one-year international warranty, the UK iPhone’s premium price is justified.
A subscription to Apple Care, which would cost extra money in addition to the phone’s purchase price, would be the alternative to a warranty. After purchasing Apple Care, the warranty is global.
Apple has announced that for international (outside the US) phones that are unlocked, it will give a one-year warranty. However, this is not applicable to phones in the US since iPhones in the US are locked by the carrier.
This is another major difference between the US and UK iPhones. The higher price of the UK iPhone is worth it considering you get an unlocked phone that comes with a one-year international warranty.
The alternative to a warranty would be to subscribe to apple care which would cost additional money apart from buying the phone. Once you purchase apple care the warranty becomes international.
Apple used to provide a one-year warranty for its other product lines, but it has since expanded the warranty to include its iPhones. The iPhone X series of phones marked the beginning of this.
Can I use UK iPhone in USA – Takeaway
The takeaway is that you can use a UK iPhone in the USA, but you have to be sure of a few things. Make sure that your iPhone is unlocked. If you are stuck with a locked iPhone, you can only survive on Wi-Fi and all your cellular connection won’t work.
Then if you want the best connectivity, and internet speeds, your iPhone needs to support all the popular frequency bands. For example, 5G connectivity on the iPhone 12 will work perfectly only if there is support for all frequency bands.
And finally, there is the issue of warranty. You can’t use the warranty of your iPhone in the USA. If you are willing to live with these compromises, then you can use a UK iPhone in the USA. Check out our Here’s out “Can I use UK iPhone in USA?” guide for all the details.
Can I use UK iPhone in USA – FAQs
Can I use European iPhone in the USA? Can I use an international iPhone in the USA?
Yes, you can use a European iPhone in the USAA and you can use an international iPhone in the USA.
The only requirements are that the iPhone should be unlocked and it should support the frequency bands of the USA to work properly.
What is the difference between the USA and UK iPhones?
There isn’t much difference between the USA and a UK iPhone, apart from the fact that some iPhones can be locked to a certain carrier.
And whenever an iPhone with new cellular technology like 4G or 5G launches, there is a good chance the technology won’t work in other countries because of slow adoption.
One more difference between the USA and a UK iPhone would be the warranty policies, they can differ depending on laws and Apple’s policies for each country.
Apple also doesn’t offer international warranties for iPhones, so you can’t claim for warranty for a USA iPhone in the UK and vice versa. Check out our “Can I use UK iPhone in USA?” guide for all the details.
Why are iPhones cheaper in America?
iPhones are cheaper in America compared to most countries because they are designed and developed by Apple, which is an American company.
This means that there are no import duty charges imposed on iPhones and this makes them cheaper.
Other countries like the UK, India, Germany, and more have to pay for import duties, significantly increasing the cost of each iPhone in such regions.
Government can play a part too with how taxes are handled for electronic products.
And finally, Apple has a part to play in all this too, as they can charge whatever they want for an iPhone because it is their product, and they tend to charge more in other markets.
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