Cellular Data and Roaming Explained: Here’s what you need to do

Over the last couple of days, you have been messing with your brand new iPhone. While looking through the Settings app, you notice “Cellular”. Needless to say, but you start to panic when you notice that both Cellular Data and Roaming Data are both turned on. After the high bills from roaming charges in 1999, it is no wonder that you would next months bill. But in 2016, it is time that we get up-to-date information on what roaming actually means. Here I will explain how cellular data works, what data roaming means, and share some general tips that will help you avoid data overage charges.


What is Cellular Data on my iPhone?

Cellular data will connect your iPhone to the internet when you are not around a Wi-Fi connection. When you turn off cellular data your phone will be unable to access the internet, while you are out and about.


Where Do I Find Cellular Data?

To get to your cellular data, you will need to go to

  1. Settings
  2. Cellular
  3. Cellular Data

From here you can turn it on and off. When the switch is green the data is turned on, but it turns gray when it is off.
When the data is on you will see LTE in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is the fastest data connection around.

If the data is turned off you will only see the signal bars in the left-hand corner.
For most people, it is a good idea to leave the cellular data on. This will allow you always access to your email, social networks, and the internet when you are out.

It is okay to turn off the data if you have a small data plan or you choose that you do not need the internet when you are out. By doing this you will only be able to use your iPhone to make phone calls and send text messages. This does not include iMessages since this uses data.

Enable LTE

Let’s get a closer look at LTE. In many cases it faster than many Wi-Fi connections. To find out if your iPhone uses LTE to

  1. Settings
  2. Cellular
  3. Enable LTE.


This setting will turn off the LTE access which will mean having a slower data connection. If you have a small data plan it is probably a good idea to turn LTE off.

Voice & Data

Data connections work with just about everything we do with our iPhones. This means that even your phone calls can use LTE to make your voice crystal-clear.

Data Only

This option will allow your iPhone to connect to emails, the internet, and other apps. It will not enable LTE for voice calls. You should only choose this option if you are having issues making phone calls.

Do LTE Voice Calls Use My Data Plan?

Currently, they do not. Verizon and AT&T are the only carriers that use LTE for phone calls. But neither of them counts LTE voice as being a part of your data plan. T-Mobile is currently, working to add voice over LTE to its lineup.

HD Voice and Advanced Calling

HD Voice from AT&T and Verizon’s Advanced Calling are just fancy names for what iPhones call Voice LTE. There is a big difference between LTE voice and regular phone calls.
Currently, HD Voice and Advanced Calling have yet to be released to everyone because it is still a new option. For LTE Voice to work both callers need to have phones that are able to support voice calls over LTE. You can learn about this by visiting the Verizon and AT&T webpages.

Data Roaming on iPhone

It is no surprise that roaming still strikes fear in the hearts of many people. Due to the large phone bill that it could generate.

What is Roaming on My iPhone?

When you are roaming your phone is connecting to a tower that is not owned or operated by your specific wireless carrier. To find Data Roaming on your phone go to:

  1. Settings
  2. Cellular Data
  3. Data Roaming

When roaming is on the switch will be green.


Do not worry, data roaming does not have any effect on your phone bill when you are in the United States. The important thing is that roaming charges will start to get high when you are traveling abroad. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint will charge you a lot of money if you use data while you traveling around.

Remember that your phone will continually check your email, and other things by using data even when you are not using your phone.

The best thing to do is to have your Cellular Data turned off while you are traveling overseas. You will still be able to use your iPhone if you are connected to a Wi-Fi connection.

The Conclusion

We covered a wide amount of things in this article. I hope that it has cleared up some of your misunderstanding about cellular data and data roaming.

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