Charging the iPhone when planning a trip to The United Kingdom

How to connect a UK power outlet to the iPhone

UK power outlet

When packing for a holiday it is useful to know if you can use any common electrical devices such as mobile phones or tablets at your hotel. But by not knowing which wall socket is being used in The United Kingdom you may pack the wrong power charger, thereby leaving you needing to buy a suitable power adaptor on arrival that might be incompatible and cause damage to your iPhone. Various combinations of region codes and sockets can often be confusing when planning on staying in another country especially if you've never been there before. These instructions have been specifically written to prevent you having to worry if you'll be able to charge the iPhone abroad.The following instructions tells you how to supply power to the iPhone when you're visiting The United Kingdom using the 230 volt 50Hz Type G wall outlet, the British will use a BS 1363 13 amp plug for power outlets. If you are travelling to The United Kingdom from a different region please double check the iPhone can be used with a 240 volt supply. If your iPhone was purchased from a country which uses a lower voltage (for example 110 volts) make sure your iPhone is dual-voltage (marked with a 100-240 volt notation) else you may need to use an additional power converter to stop the device from over-heating whilst powering it up.

This page details the iPhone first generation, the original iPhone is missing some features which have since been introduced to more recent iPhones. Visit the Apple category page for the full range of Apple iPhones. These instructions assume you are running Apple iOS 3 or greater on the iPhone.

Charging the iPhone in The United Kingdom

Can you use the iPhone in The United Kingdom?

You can use the iPhone in The United Kingdom by using a power adaptor.

What is the best travel charger for recharging the iPhone in The United Kingdom?

If you are travelling to multiple countries and bringing along more than your iPhone then the best travel power adapter for The United Kingdom is a multiple USB port charger which includes compatible plugs like a 4 port USB travel charger [6].

Because these types of chargers are supplied with interchangeable pins and can handle 100 volts - 240 volts it makes them ideal for over 100 countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Africa just by switching the supplied plugs over. If your type of iPhone is compatible with Fast Charge then you'll benefit from much quicker recharging times with one of these types of travel adapters along with compatibility with certain power hungry devices.

Unlike other chargers this will allow you to charge multiple devices at the same time without needing to pack multiple power adapters. By only packing a single lightweight USB travel charger will help keep the overall weight down, making it ideal to fold up and store in hand baggage as well as being suitable for charging your iPhone at the airport or on your flight. Due to their space saving versatility these types of chargers can be used when back at home so when you're not travelling they can sit overnight charging multiple tablets, phones and e-readers using just a single power outlet.

For those travelling to The United Kingdom we suggest searching for an adaptable travel charger of this nature at your preferred electronics retailer - the travel charger illustrated below is the iKits 4 Port USB Wall Charger [6] which has been successfully tested for powering multiple USB devices in numerous different countries.

Alternative travel adapter for The United Kingdom

The 4 port USB travel charger [6] is the most compact option for travellers from any country who only have USB devices such as the iPhone, but for those also wishing to use their domestic plugs these power adapters provide larger but more versatile solutions. All three power adapters offer surge protection which is necessary for travellers to counties with unreliable power grids to prevent damage to any connected appliances. These travel adapters are supplied with interchangeable type C, I and G plugs covering both The United Kingdom and over 150 destinations:

  • BESTEK Portable International Travel Voltage Converter - The BESTEK travel converter has 4 USB charging ports with 3 AC power outlets and is the best selling compact option for travellers originating from America visiting The United Kingdom.
  • ORICO Traveling Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip - Similarly having 4 USB ports but only 2 AC power outlets the Orico is also aimed at travellers from North America using type B plugs and is a cheaper alternative to the BESTEK with only one less AC outlet for almost half the price.
  • BESTEK International USB Travel Power Strip - This power strip has just 2 AC outlets but offers a more flexible 5 USB charging ports. This versatile power strip is compatible with both American plugs and popular plug types A, D,E/F, G, H, I, L and N making it perfect for most travellers from around the world visiting The United Kingdom.
What is the best travel charger for recharging the iPhone in The United Kingdom?

How to use a Type G power charger for charging your iPhone from a UK power outlet

Using the USB 30-pin Apple cable and a 3 pin Type G power adapter to recharge your iPhone with a UK power outlet.

  1. If you want to power the iPhone from a UK power outlet you'll need a Type G USB power adapter [4] and a USB to Apple 30 pin cable [5] - this USB cable is typically supplied with your iPhone.
  2. Start by inserting the Type G USB power adapter into the wall supply. The power supply, technically called the Type G power outlet [3], can be identified by the 3 vertical slots with plastic shutters in a triangular configuration for live, neutral and earth.
  3. Connect one end of the power cable into the bottom of the USB mains charger and the other end into the dock connector on the iPhone. The iPhone dock connector is found at bottom of the iPhone.
  4. Turn on the UK power outlet.
  5. The battery icon that you'll find in the top right hand corner of your iPhone screen will display a charging icon to indicate that the mobile is charging taking around 1-4 hours to recharge.
How to use a Type G power charger for charging your iPhone from a UK power outlet

SIM cards in the UK

What is the best local SIM pay as you go card suitable for the iPhone if travelling to England?

If you are travelling and need to use the iPhone abroad then we recommend using a free local SIM in the UK to avoid paying excessive roaming costs from your own country.

Data charges incurred with uncapped international roaming can inadvertently add hundreds to a cell phone bill unless data roaming is switched off, Wi-Fi is used or data is capped. Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK cost an average of £5 per session, therefore ordering a SIM card pre-loaded with £5 credit provides better value which can last for the duration of trip to the UK providing that data usage is light.

There are 15 local mobile network providers in the United Kingdom which offer free SIM only deals online, this list of mobile providers in the UK highlights their best value deals and links directly to their SIM card ordering page:

  • FreedomPop is a UK mobile provider offering one of the best SIM only deals for the iPhone in the UK with 4G data, text and talk time. Their basic service includes a SIM card with free 200mb of data with 200 minutes and text messages every month; users can then opt to pay for additional data or switch to a paid plan as their demands grow. FreedomPop also offers a premium free SIM only card for the iPhone and are offering a one month of free trial of 1GB of data, 1000 minutes and text messages before paying an £8.95 monthly top-up with no contract or cancellation fees.
  • O2 will send free pay and go SIM cards with prepaid £10 top ups.
  • LycaMobile can either send a free SIM without credit or the option to pay for a preloaded SIM which includes additional free credit. LycaMobile also offers £15 of free credit when transferring an existing number.
  • Vodafone offer free SIM deals with plans from only £10 per month.
  • Asda Mobile will send you a standard, micro and nano SIM card for free and offer bundles from £5 per month.
  • BT Mobile have contracts from £5 per month for their 4G data including access to their national BT WiFi, choose between a free full sized, micro or nano SIM.
  • giffgaff start with preloaded SIM cards from just £5 along with PAYG plans and also offer free calls and text between other giffgaff customers.
  • Three Mobile free SIM cards are suitable for using 4G without committing to a monthly contract.
  • Virgin Mobile Pay As You Go SIM cards offer two simple pay as you go tariffs aimed towards either heavy calls or heavy data and text usage.
  • Talkmobile offer three different sizes of free SIM cards with the option to include top up amounts as well as longer 30 day and 12 month SIM only plans.
  • Tesco Mobile send up to 4 SIM cards per UK address and offer to triple credit when ordering.
  • The Peoples Operator allow you to nominate a charity to contribute to when you purchase top up your SIM card.
  • Lebara Mobile will supply a free SIM card, order online and credit with a minimum of £5 top up.
  • Pebble Mobile free SIM cards are the only consumer network with national roaming and inclusive EU roaming plans.

Be aware that some providers may only ship SIM cards to UK residential or business addresses, therefore if you are staying in a hotel in the UK we suggest that your free SIM is delivered to a work, family or friends postal address.

You can also purchase prepaid Pay As You Go SIM cards at most UK newsagents and supermarkets, however you won´t be able to take advantage of the heavily discounted online offers. Most towns and cities in the UK have high street mobile phone stores which sell SIM cards promoting their own network at a much higher cost and will also encourage shoppers to take out a long term monthly contract.

Be aware if you are flying to a UK airport some arrival halls will sell preloaded SIM cards at highly inflated prices. Instead we recommend taking advantage of any available free airport WiFi until a suitable SIM card can be obtained once outside the airport.

SIM only contracts for the iPhone in the UK

For longer trips to the UK there are 4 providers which won´t ship free PAYG cards but will still offer monthly SIM plans online:

  • iD Mobile have capped SIM only contracts from just £4 per month and offer data rollover with all GoTo contracts.
  • TalkTalk have SIM plans starting from less than £4 per month.
  • Truphone will send prepaid SIM cards with auto top-up and the ability to add local US and Australian numbers alongside a local UK number.
  • EE are a newly formed mobile network in the UK formally comprised of T-Mobile and Orange.

Using a free SIM with a locked iPhone

If you do change network carriers you will need to ensure you´re using an unlocked iPhone prior to using a different SIM. If your iPhone was locked at the time of purchase you should be able to request to your current mobile carrier to unlock it, use a high street mobile phone unlocking service or look for instructions online on how to unlock the iPhone yourself. Be aware that the cost of unlocking your phone is likely to be cheaper than using paying excessive roaming costs.

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom - The United Kingdom Wikipedia page
  2. https://manuals.info.apple.com/MANUALS/0/MA616/en_US/iPhone_iOS3.1_User_Guide.pdf - The original iPhone product manual
  3. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeG.htm - Type G power outlet
  4. Type G USB power adapter - Provides power from a type G mains power supply
  5. USB to Apple 30 pin cable - This connects compatible iPhones, iPods and iPads to a USB port for charging, syncing and playing music
  6. IKits 4 Port USB Wall Charger - A universal USB charger capable of charging up to 4 USB devices with swappable international adapters