How to charge your iPhone 3G from a power outlet in UK

How to connect a UK power outlet to the iPhone 3G

UK power outlet

If organizing a holiday to The United Kingdom it can be useful to know in advance if you can power all your common devices such as mobile phones or laptop computers at your destination. Without knowing which wall socket to expect you are more likely to bring the wrong power adaptor, leaving you needing to purchase a suitable charger when you're there. Varying different combinations of region codes and plug types can all be daunting when planning to travel to a different country especially for the first time traveller. With only a handful of different types of common standards used throughout the world this article tells you exactly what you'll need in advance to power the iPhone 3G in The United Kingdom. These guidelines were written to stop visitors worrying if they can power their iPhone 3G when they are travelling to The United Kingdom.If you are visiting The United Kingdom this page contains instructions showing you how to supply power to your iPhone 3G using a standard 230 volt 50Hz Type G UK wall outlet, with the British using BS 1363 13 amp plugs for wall outlets. When you are travelling to The United Kingdom from another region please ensure that the iPhone 3G can accept a 240v supply. If it was purchased in a country which uses a lower voltage (for example 110 volts) ensure the iPhone 3G is dual voltage (marked with 100-240 volts) else you may need to use an additional transformer to stop the device from overloading whilst powering it. These instructions assume that you have installed Apple iOS 4 or greater on the iPhone 3G.

Charging the iPhone 3G in UK

Can the iPhone 3G be used in UK?

You can connect the iPhone 3G to a UK power outlet.

What is the best power charger for the iPhone 3G in The United Kingdom?

When you are travelling with more than just your iPhone 3G then the best international travel charger for The United Kingdom is a multiple USB charger which includes compatible plugs such as a 4 port USB travel charger [6].

As these types of chargers are supplied with interchangeable pins and handle 100 volts to 240 volts will mean that you can travel to over 100 countries around the world simply by switching the included heads over. If your model of iPhone 3G supports Fast Charge (not all USB devices will) then you'll benefit from much faster recharging times by using one of these power chargers, along with additional compatibility with more power demanding devices. Having a 4 port charger means you can charge more than one device at the same time without needing to bring individual power chargers for your trip. Because you are only packing a single lightweight USB travel charger will also keep the overall size down, making it perfect to store in hand baggage whilst travelling and suitable for recharging your iPhone 3G at an airport or on a flight. Because of their space saving versatility these types of travel adapters can be used when back at home so when you're not on holiday they can sit under your bedside table charging multiple tablets and smartphones and using just a single plug socket.

For those travelling often we recommend searching for this type of versatile power charger online. The power charger illustrated here is the iKits 4 Port USB Wall Charger [6] which has been tested successfully for recharging multiple USB devices in numerous different countries.

Alternative travel adapter for UK

The 4 port USB travel charger [6] is the most compact option for travellers from around the world who only have USB devices such as the iPhone 3G, but for visitors also wanting to use their domestic plugs these power converters provide larger but more versatile solutions. All 3 power adapters offer surge protection which can be necessary for visitors of regions with unstable power grids to prevent damage to any connected devices from voltage spikes. These power adapters come with interchangeable type C, I and G plugs covering both UK and over 150 destinations:

  • BESTEK Portable International Travel Voltage Converter - The BESTEK international travel converter has 4 USB charging ports with 3 AC power outlets and is the most popular portable power converter for travellers originating from America visiting UK using 3 pinned type B US plug sockets.
  • ORICO Traveling Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip - Likewise having 4 USB ports but only 2 AC power outlets the travel adapter from Orico is also aimed at travellers from America using type B plugs. This is a more cost effective alternative to the BESTEK with one less AC outlet at almost half the price.
  • BESTEK International USB Travel Power Strip - This power strip has 2 AC outlets but offers 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 UK.
What is the best power charger for the iPhone 3G in The United Kingdom?

Powering the iPhone 3G with a UK power outlet by using a 3 pinned Type G USB adapter

Instructions showing how to charge the iPhone 3G with a UK power outlet with an Apple 30-pin connector and a three pin Type G USB adapter.

  1. In order to power your iPhone 3G using a UK power outlet you will need to buy a Type G USB power adapter [4] and a USB to Apple 30 pin cable [5] (Apple will usually supply this cable with your iPhone 3G).
  2. Start the process by inserting the Type G USB power adapter in the power supply. You can recognise the plug outlet by 3 holes with plastic shutters forming a triangle configuration for live, neutral and ground.
  3. Then connect one end of the USB to Apple 30 pin cable into the power charger and the other end into the dock connector on the iPhone 3G. The iPhone 3G dock connector can be found at bottom of the iPhone 3G.
  4. Turn on the UK power outlet.
  5. The battery icon which appears in the top right hand corner of the iPhone 3G will display a charge icon to indicate that the phone is powering up, typically taking roughly 60-240 minutes to completely recharge to 100% capacity.
Powering the iPhone 3G with a UK power outlet by using a 3 pinned Type G USB adapter

SIM cards in the UK

What are the best SIM pay as you go cards suitable for the iPhone 3G when travelling to Britain?

If you are travelling and need to use the iPhone 3G abroad then we recommend using a free SIM card in the UK to avoid paying high roaming costs from your own country.

Data charges incurred with 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 prepaid SIM card 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 UK which offer free SIM only deals online, this list of UK 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 3G 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 3G 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 free SIM cards to UK residential or business addresses, so 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.

The best free SIM only contracts for the iPhone 3G for the UK

For longer trips to the UK there are 4 providers which don´t ship free PAYG cards but 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.

Can you use a free SIM with a locked iPhone 3G?

If you intend to swap network carriers you will need to ensure you´re using an unlocked iPhone 3G prior to using a different SIM card. If your iPhone 3G wasn´t unlocked at the time of purchase you should be able to request to your current cell phone carrier to unlock it, use an online mobile phone unlocking service or look for instructions online on how to unlock the iPhone 3G yourself. Please note that the cost of unlocking your iPhone 3G is likely to be significantly cheaper than using paying 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 - Official iPhone 3G user guide
  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