6 things you can’t do on your iPhone that users in other countries can

You may think that your iPhone has all the features you could possibly need or want, but that may change once you discover the features and services you are missing out on while residing in the US.

To sell iPhone models in other countries, Apple must comply with each country’s local laws and regulations, and the results of some of these regional guidelines may make you jealous. Apple also has to adapt to the wants and needs of the country’s consumers, which yields some useful features you can’t get (or get anymore) in the US. As you’ll see, some of these things are features of Apple’s software or hardware, while others follow the same rules that other smartphone makers and service providers have to abide by.

1. See Congestion/Green Zones in Apple Maps

Many large cities around the world contain densely populated city centers that would block traffic without local regulations in place to curb heavy traffic in the area. For example, London has a congestion charge zone that restricts daytime driving hours to only those who pay the daily rate or have valid exemptions.

Cities looking to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality in congested areas have low-emission zones. For example, Paris has permanent low-emission zones where only approved vehicles are allowed to enter during certain hours based on their emission level, from cleanest to dirtiest, and many older cars are permanently banned.

To help overcome these boundaries, Apple has included congestion zones and green zones in Apple Maps since iOS 14. When times are in effect, Maps can help you get a route around the area to avoid heavy traffic and potential fines. On iOS 16, the following countries have cities where this feature works (those marked with an asterisk

  • are available in older versions of iOS):
  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Belgium *
  • Chile
  • France *
  • Germany *
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • Italy *
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Holland *
  • Norway *
  • Portugal *
  • Romania
  • Spain *
  • Sweden *
  • Swiss
6 things you can’t do on your iPhone that users in other countries can

Pictures via Apple

2. Use a physical SIM card

When Apple released the iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, it omitted the physical SIM card tray across the entire lineup in the US, requiring US users to subscribe to eSIM-only plans. Many customers were not happy with this decision as there are still Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that offer cheap prepaid plans only on nano SIM cards (for example, Page Plus).

Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico and the UK all have nano-SIM and eSIM support, to name a few. Hong Kong doesn’t even have an eSIM.

3. Use two physical SIM cards

  • While iPhone models in most countries support one nano-SIM card, many iPhone models in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau support two nano-SIM cards without the option of eSIM plans. These are the models with two physical nano-SIM card slots in those countries:
  • iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max iphonex St Maximum,x
6 things you can’t do on your iPhone that users in other countries can

Image via Apple

As with nano-SIM plus eSIM models, dual nano-SIM lets you have two different phone lines and/or data plans, but you can only have one plan if your iPhone is carrier locked. Plus, you can’t even have two CDMA network plans. And only one cellular network can be used at a time. Due to government regulations, models in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau require two physical nano-SIM card slots. However, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation), and iPhonex St

6 things you can’t do on your iPhone that users in other countries can

Image from ben’s gadget reviews/YouTube

4. Get two to six year warranties

When you buy an iPhone in the US, it comes with a one-year limited warranty to protect you from manufacturing issues. But some countries have strict consumer protection laws that require a minimum two-year warranty on all electronic devices, including iPhones.

For example, all products purchased from Apple in Belgium will have a two-year warranty period, while only Apple and Beats-branded products in Italy do. Apple still provides a one-year limited warranty for iPhone sales in other countries, but regional consumer laws extend that duration by at least one year. However, the exact conditions of the legal or lack of conformity guarantee vary from country to country.

Under each country’s consumer protection laws, Apple provides:

5. Buy iPhones with SIM unlocked by default

  • Unfortunately, SIM-locking iPhones by wireless carriers is still legal in the US, and most do. Below is a small list of carriers and their SIM lock/unlock policies. You’ll notice that only one sells unlocked-only devices.
  • AT&T will, upon request, unlock smartphones as long as they have been paid for in full and have been on its network for at least 60 days.
  • Cricket Wireless requires at least six months of paid service on its network before you can request your iPhone’s SIM unlock.
  • T-Mobile’s Metro requires a minimum of 180 days of activating the device on its network before it automatically unlocks the smartphone.
  • T-Mobile will, upon request, unlock any smartphone on a postpaid plan as long as it has been fully paid for and on its network for at least 40 days. That’s 365 days for phones with prepaid plans unless you got more than $100 in top-ups in the year.
  • UScellular unlocks the iPhone models it sells 120 days after activating the device on its network, provided you’ve paid for it in full.
  • US Mobile only sells unlocked devices.
  • Verizon Wireless maintains a SIM lock on all smartphones for 60 days after activation before automatically unlocking them.

Visible from Verizon policy is pretty much the same as Verizon.

6 things you can’t do on your iPhone that users in other countries can

6. National roaming at no extra cost

The European Union (EU) has a rule that people like to call “roam-like-at-home”, which states that you have to pay the normal rates for domestic calls, SMS and data usage from carriers in the EU whenever you are roaming EU countries outside the one where you reside. It also applies to all incoming calls and messages when roaming in EU countries. Every time you enter another EU country, you even get a text message reminding you of this fair use policy. This applies to many iPhone users in the EU, but there are some fine print.

The elimination of roaming charges within the EU has revolutionized the way people use their mobile data while travelling, bringing convenience and savings benefits to millions of users. The regulation, which was originally due to expire in 2022, was extended for another 10 years, providing long-term guarantees to users of this benefit.

This is not a luxury afforded to iPhone users in the US. You will be charged extra when roaming internationally. More importantly, it also happens when traveling anywhere in the US and US territories. Each carrier charges different roaming rates, so check the prices before signing up for any wireless plan. However, with widespread LTE and the expansion of 5G networks, roaming is becoming less of a problem nationwide.

Do you get power adapters with new iPhones?

In most markets, you won’t find an included power adapter when you buy a new iPhone model. Since the iPhone 12 series, only USB-C to Lightning cables are shipped with the smartphone. Apple encourages customers to use the new cable with UCB-C power adapters and computer ports, or to reuse old USB-A to Lightning cables and chargers.

Apple has cited environmental reasons for this omission, with a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. It can ship more products per pallet by omitting power adapters with iPhone purchases, dramatically reducing its carbon footprint. Also avoid over-mining of copper, tin ore, and zinc.

However, Brazil has asked Apple to include power adapters with its iPhone sales in the country to comply with Brazilian consumer protection laws against “tied sales” that require consumers to buy a second product for the first to work. Since early March 2021, Apple has already been fined $2 million, $2.3 million and $19 million in separate judgments over the issue, and has even seized iPhone models from local couriers and Apple Store resellers as well. if a judge allowed Apple to continue selling iPhone models in the country until a final ruling in one of the lawsuits.

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