Just one of the many questions we get from our clients preparing to move to London from the US. Sometimes it IS the small details that need attention, to ensure a successful and smooth relocation. We’ll we’ve done the research for you and the answer is yes! Your US iPhone 5s will work in the UK under certain conditions and circumstances and this will apply to other Apple mobile devices and other US manufactured phones and tablets.
On the Apple Support Communities, the advice is relatively universal: If you have an unlocked iPhone 5s, that is, one not tied into a specific network in the US, you’ll be able to use it in the UK.
However, it will probably only work on the GSM and not the LTE networks in the UK (though there has been progress by UK mobile networks in this regard). Think of the GSM network as 3G and the LTE network as the faster, more efficient 4G network. The US version of the iPhone 5s is a little different to the UK one and you may experience difficulties in getting repairs or services at a local London Apple store. That said, if you purchase a nano-SIM from any of the mobile network providers in the UK your phone will work just fine.
Our blog on the ins and outs of setting up your mobile phone when moving from the US to London has some great information about the actual process and some of the top mobile networks in London. You can even pre-purchase your UK SIM card and have it delivered to your home in the US before you leave.
Be sure to tell the network and SIM provider that you’re purchasing a SIM for an iPhone 5 as they are a slightly different size. If you’re in London and switching mobile phone networks, I’d get the assistant at the store to insert the SIM for you and make sure it’s working before you leave. It’s not an additional service, but part of their job! I’d also make a note of contacts that are saved to your SIM (who checks where they save phone numbers,right?) and make sure they are all saved to your phone. Inserting a new SIM is akin to getting a new phone and you don’t want to lose any important information that you had saved on your old SIM.