Apple iPhone products are expensive and very desirable, so is it possible to buy a new iPhone from another country, where perhaps, it is cheaper. Will it work in my country and is it, in fact, cheaper overall?
There is good reason why Apple's iPhones are expensive - they are cutting edge technology, the world leaders in smartphone design and manufacturing.
Shoppers all over the world wait for the latest model with bated breath, they often sell out quickly, and fans queue around the block for hours waiting to get their hands on one at product launch day.
iPhone product launches are often delayed in countries outside of the USA whilst shoppers in the US can buy the iPhone when it's launched shoppers in other countries often have to wait.
With the new iPhone 8, the follow up to the successful iPhone 7, about to be launched there will be lots of people worldwide not only wondering how amazing it will be but, when and where they will be able to purchase one.
Can I buy an iPhone from the US and get it shipped?
For people living outside of North America they might ask themselves is it ok to buy an iPhone and have it shipped over?
Apple won't ship one to a different country, so to buy one you would have to use a USA shopping address and a package forwarder.
They might even think that it would be a good idea to buy a cheap iPhone from China.
iPhones in the US tend to be slightly different models than those sold in some other countries for instance in the UK there is a difference in the bands that the mobile networks use.
There were 6 different iPhone 6 models to choose from, A1549, A1586, A1589, A1522, A1524 and A1593. These models are manufactured for different wireless carriers and are compatible to specific bands only.
One of Apple’s previous models the iPhone 6 (Models A1549 and A1586) and iPhone 6 Plus (Models A1522 and A1524) both support four-band GSM, five-band CDMA2000, five-band UMTS (with HSPA+42 support), and sixteen LTE FDD bands.
In the UK Apple used to sell the A1586 iPhone 6 and the A1524 iPhone 6 Plus. Those same models were for sale in the USA for use with networks C Spire, Sprint and US Cellular.
There is no point boring you with all the technical details but suffice it to say that different models were made for different networks and different bands.
Whether this will be true for the latest model the iPhone 8 I can't say but with improvements mobile technology who's to say that there will be some technical difference between bands and networks between countries all over the world.
Until we know the specific technical details of each you model it is impossible to say whether you should by your iPhone in the US and ship it to India, Pakistan, China or wherever in the world you are.
There are numerous stories around the internet of people buying iPhones and using them in their countries for instance on Quora there are people saying that is is possible to purchase any iphone above 6, they are compatible with airtel lte. Even if you do manage to buy a phone that is compatible with your network you must remember to buy an unlocked phone or it will be tied in to the network from the US.
Other considerations are important too. For instance if you ship an iPhone to a foreign country it will not be covered under the warranty this is an important consideration should anything go wrong and you wish to have it repaired. The Apple service centre in your local country will refuse to repair if it has a warranty from the USA.
Apple international warranties
Apple International warranties are valid on other products but not the iPhone. Apple Care, which can be purchased at extra cost, can provide international support for some countries, it is not clear whether this covers repairs or not.
Apple iPhone warranties are tied to the country of purchase, so if for example, you bought your iPhone in Hong Kong and shipped it to India, the warranty would only be valid in Hong Kong.
Some people do claim that they have received repair or replacement on an international warranty.
Another consideration is the power socket on the charging cable you may need to get an adaptor local to your country.
Some apps will not be available at the past in other countries for instance FaceTime is not available in India, and VoIP is illegal in Dubai and the UAE, so many other apps will not work, although that would not be specific to Apple’s phones. This might not now be relevant for the iPhone 8 but no doubt new apps will come out that may take awhile to be fully available throughout the world.
On balance it would appear that, whilst it is possible, to buy an iPhone from a foreign country, it might not be the best option.
- It is possible to buy an iPhone cheaper internationally.
- If the model you buy matches your network it will work.
- No international warranty if things go wrong.
- More hassle buying one and having it shipped over.
- Not every model will work with every network (GSM).
- Some apps might not work, eg Facetime or Voip
The information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Newer Apple iPhone models such as the iPhone X are now available to buy. Find out more about IOS14 and online shopping.