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Traveling overseas with iPhone 6 and Apple Watch (1 Viewer)

Nelson Au

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Guys, I just came back from Taiwan on a last minute trip for work. I went to visit a vendor my company is using and to brief them on the work we are doing that they are helping us with. It was time sensitive, so I had to go.

Because it was last minute, I didn't have time to do anything to prepare, such as international plans to use on my iPhone 6 for cell and data. I was able to borrow a company issued Moto Android phone. ( shivers with bad taste in my mouth. It was OK actually, I was able to use it for get and send company emails. ) But I brought my iPhone 6 and Apple Watch along anyway. It was able to get work emails via the hotel wifi. And my own emails.

Here's the thing, I was so unprepared, and I was also left with a scar from a friend to never trust public wifi in foreign countries from spyware and viruses. So when I got on the plane, I put the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch on airplane mode and left it on airplane mode during my whole trip. Three days. I did turn on wifi so could get my email on my iPhone in the hotel using the hotel wifi. The Apple Watch for some reason was not reconnecting to the iPhone 6 as it's still in Airplane mode, I set it to mirror the iPhone airplane setting. I just left it, it was telling me California time anyway and the iPhone was doing local time. :)

What was i pleasantly surprised by was once I came home, and I turned off airplane mode, the Apple Watch downloaded, or I think it downloaded all the motion and activity it recorded while I was overseas. Like the walk I took through Taipei 101. That's a huge shopping center, and they had an Apple Store, but it's called Studio A. Looks like an Apple Store.

So next time, I might use one of AT&T's international plans, I did check before I left as I wasn't sure I'd get a company phone. For $40 I could get a plan with some data and talk times at $1 a minute. And $60 and $100 plans gave you more data and cost less for talk time, they did advise I could make calls via wifi. I didn't need to do that, but good to know. I was mainly afraid my iPhone would connect to the local cell service which it why I left it on airplane mode. I know I probably have to do something before it connects, but I was playing it overly safe.

What do you guys do? On the plane, I saw a guy, an Amercan, on our return flight yacking on his iPhone two seats over right as we are boarding and he kept talking right up to when the engines were running and we were taxing out to the runway. So he must have some international plan. I was going to take the SIM card from the work phone and use it in mine, but they frown on that.

Despite the last minute nature of the trip, it was successful and kind of fun. I had my iPad Pro and pencil and was able to try it on the plane to sketch with. Didn't get much sketching done as we took off at 1:20am California time and I was really tired. Tried to sleep and I read a little with an iBook book. That's one of the things I really like about the iPad, the eBook usage on a plane.

By the way guys, you know I post often about my iPad Pro and somewhat about the iPhone 6. I never posted about the Apple Watch. I've had it since October of 2015. It's the Apple Watch Edition, I just got the Milanese loop for it for the trip. Looks great, so much better then with the white sport band it came with. I never talk about it here because I wasn't sure about it. Its an experiment to see what I think of it. It's pretty cool for recording my activity and I like it best as a work out tool. I do use it to remind me of meetings. But I wear a fancy Swiss watch and I will never give that up. Though I left it at home as I didn't want it damaged or lost overseas. So the Apple Watch was a nice experiment to see how I can use it overseas. It still reminded me of appointments despite not being connected to the iPhone! I like the moon phases. I like how it tells me the temperature. I like how it tells me my pulse rate. I like that it reminds me to stand or encourages me to move. And I don't mind people see me wearing two watches, as goofy as it looks, I just think of it as my Fitbit.
 

DaveF

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The Apple Watch for some reason was not reconnecting to the iPhone 6 as it's still in Airplane mode, I set it to mirror the iPhone airplane setting.
Apple watch can't connect to the iPhone if the iPhone is in airplane mode: the bluetooth was turned off.

So next time, I might use one of AT&T's international plans, I did check before I left as I wasn't sure I'd get a company phone. For $40 I could get a plan with some data and talk times at $1 a minute. And $60 and $100 plans gave you more data and cost less for talk time, they did advise I could make calls via wifi. I didn't need to do that, but good to know. I was mainly afraid my iPhone would connect to the local cell service which it why I left it on airplane mode. I know I probably have to do something before it connects, but I was playing it overly safe.

What do you guys do?
I purchased the basic AT&T international plan for month last year when I went on a cruise. I used wifi everywhere I could, sipped at data when necessary.

Now that the cell plans aren't subsidized and I own my iPhone outright and can unlock it, I'd unlock it and buy an international SIM card for 25% the cost of the AT&T plan and use that.
 

Nelson Au

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Thanks Dave, I found it odd that the iPad Pro was in Airplane mode and Bluetooth did work with the Apple Pencil. So without really trying very hard, I assumed the same on the iPhone. But I didn't try and I was ok til after the trip to figure it out.

Interesting tactic to unlock the phone and look at other plans for international plans. Have a coworker who unlocked his iPhone for much lower cost domestic plans.
 

Joseph Bolus

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Nelson,

Thanks for the insight! I've owned an Apple Watch Sport since the launch and *love* it. I replaced the band with a black steel link band I found on Amazon for about $35. It makes it look nice and stylish on my wrist. I use it for Apple Pay; monitoring my outdoor walks; text & email notifications (using the preset responses); keeping up with my appointments; remote control of my iPhone in the car; and enhanced GPS directions in the car.

The latter is especially useful if your car supports bluetooth linking to your iPhone (as almost all cars sold since 2010 do). So I hear the map directions on my car speakers via the iPhone while the map and guidance (in the form of taps on my wrist) are provided by the Watch. And all I have to do to activate all of this is just flick my wrist and say "Hey Siri! Take me Home" into the Watch. I also use the Watch to play my Apple Music playlists in the car. ("Hey Siri! Play playlist Westerns shuffled.")

The thing is, I know I'm just scratching the surface of what this device can do!
 

Nelson Au

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Hey Joseph, that's cool how you're using the watch as a remote. I haven't tried that yet. I have felt the taps when using the iPhone for driving directions. I haven't tried Hey Siri with the watch yet either, I'll try that. :). The think I find the most fun is using the exercise apps. Bike riding outdoors or indoors is great to track heart rate and distance traveled.
 

Ted Todorov

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Aug 17, 2000
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We were in Italy for the month of July, and got local SIM cards for our iPhones (6S and 5S) and one iPad. If nothing else they demonstrate that AT&Ts international plan is an utter ripoff: from Italy's TIM for the iPad a 20GB SIM cost 20€, and on the iPhone for the same price you got 3GB of data and 1000 minutes of voice. And all of them enabled the hotspot, so we could use our MacBook as well. If only we could get that cheap a service in the US, never mind for travel.
 

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