The dream of all travelers looking for an easy and simple solution – how to use your iPhone with Google Fi. Well, good news as of November 2018, Google Fi Now Supports iPhone!!!!! According to Google Fi, you’ll have calls, texts, and data on T-Mobile’s network as well as international roaming, however, you won’t be able to make calls or text over WiFi, use visual voicemail, or use data hotspot outside the US. Texting will work with some additional setup, but iMessage works right away.
What’s holding you back now? Sign up for the #1 rated international phone carrier that all digital nomads and travel warriors rave about! (Note: If you join Google Fi through this link: Google Fi, we each receive $20 Fi credit.)
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Info Below for Prior to November 2018 and When iPhones were not Supported by Google Fi
Google Fi works by connecting the cellphone user to Sprint, T-Mobile, or U.S. Cellular, depending on which has the strongest signal at the time they want to make a call. It is this versatility which has driven so many tech junkies to Google Fi as it eliminates the need for committing oneself to a single network for an extended period of time.
If you’re prepared to abandon your current provider in favor of Google Fi, you should be aware Google has only made the service available on certain phones, the majority of which it has manufactured itself, such as the Pixel. A recent expansion of Google Fi means it can be accessed through a number of non-Google phones , such as the Moto G6, but it remains an official impossibility on many popular phones, most notably the ever-popular iPhone.
Now, “official” is the key word of the previous sentence. Google has not officially made Google Fi available on the iPhone, but this doesn’t mean it is completely off the table for iPhone owners. If you want to access Google Fi through your iPhone, it can be done with the right SIM and a little bit of cunning.
Tackling the Carrier Lock
If you want to access Google Fi through your iPhone, the first thing you will need to do is ensure your phone is not carrier locked. Luckily, carrier locking is much rarer in iPhones than it is in many other phones as iPhones can be purchased directly from Apple with the carrier being chosen later.
If you did indeed obtain your iPhone from an official Apple store, the chances of it being carrier locked are slim to none. However, if you purchased your iPhone through a cell phone carrier, it is almost certainly going to be locked to that carrier, which is something you’re going to have to figure out prior to being able to use your iPhone with Google Fi.
If your contract with your network provider has recently come to a close, escaping from the carrier lock is a relatively simple affair and can be done through a phone call or email to your network. When you are under contract, however, you’ll likely have to arrange a buyout, so you may be better off just riding things out and switching to Google Fi once your current contract has expired.
Obtaining a SIM
Securing a Google Fi SIM card is relatively easy; all you have to do is sign up to the service. (Note: If you join Google Fi through this link: Google Fi, we each receive $20 Fi credit.)You should, however, be prepared to stretch the truth just a little bit. When Google asks you which device you would like to bring to Google Fi, select Pixel or Nexus.
Of course, you and I know you have no intention of bringing Google Fi to a Pixel or Nexus, but Google doesn’t. Once you have successfully applied for Google Fi, you will be sent a SIM kit (no cell phone) which you can then manipulate to work with your iPhone.
Activating your SIM
The most challenging part of accessing Google Fi through your iPhone is the act of activating your Google Fi SIM card. A Google Fi SIM can only be activated through a phone which officially supports Google Fi, so once you obtain your SIM you’re going to have to find a Pixel or a Nexus on which you can activate it.
Once you have gotten your hands on a Pixel or Nexus phone, the actual process of activating the SIM card only takes a couple of minutes, so you can assure your friend or family member you’ll have their Google phone back to them sooner rather than later. During the setup process, you will be asked to connect the SIM to a Google account.
Obviously, choose your own (create a Google account if you don’t already have one). Once your SIM card has been registered, be sure to disconnect your Google account from your friend’s phone. Failure to do so will make it impossible to access Google Fi through your iPhone once you have installed the SIM.Note: If you join Google Fi through this link: Google Fi, we each receive $20 Fi credit.
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Installing Your SIM in Your iPhone
Once you have successfully activated your Google Fi SIM in your friend’s Google cellphone – and disconnected your Google account from the device – remove the SIM and place it in your iPhone before restarting it.
Once your iPhone reboots, Google Fi should be instantly available, although you won’t be able to send MMS messages to contacts who don’t use iMessage right off the bat. In order to fix this, enable the “Cellular Data” option under your phone’s cellular banner in “Settings.”
Once you are certain cellular data has been enabled, return to the “Cellular” subheading in “Settings” and manually enter the following into the appropriate sections, leaving blank those which have been deemed N/A:
MMS Proxy: [N/A]
MMS Max Message Size: 1048676
MMS UA Prof URL: https://www.apple.com/mms/uaprof.rdf
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As you can see, installing Google Fi on your iPhone can be quite tedious, but that manual labor is far from the only issue you can expect to face.
Because Google Fi was not designed with iPhone users in mind, it cannot be fully experienced on an iPhone and those who try to access the service on an Apple device should prepare themselves for a number of problems which would not be present when using the service on an official Google Fi phone.
For example, when accessed via an iPhone, Google Fi is unable to connect to all three networks offered by the service and will instead rely solely on T-Mobile, so you should ensure the T-Mobile connection in your area is strong before converting to Google Fi.
Furthermore, Google charges Google Fi users $10 per gigabyte of data per month (capped at 6GB), so if you rely on data for work or personal use you may not have the room in your budget to meet Google Fi’s rates, especially if you have just spent upwards of $800 on an iPhone. See more: How much are Google Fi Taxes and Fees?Note: If you join Google Fi through this link: Google Fi, we each receive $20 Fi credit.