Charging the iPhone 4S from a power outlet in The United Kingdom

Using a USB 30 pin cable and a Type G USB charger to power the iPhone 4S from a UK power outlet.

UK power outlet

If organizing a trip it is helpful to know in advance if you'll be able to power any common gadgets when you get there. However, without knowing which wall socket is being used in The United Kingdom you could end up either having to bring too many adaptors or pack the wrong power adaptor, therefore needing to purchase a potentially expensive power adaptor on arrival. Various combinations of voltages and standards can often be daunting when planning to travel to a new country if you've never visited before. This page has been written to prevent you worrying if you'll be able to charge the iPhone 4S when you're in staying in The United Kingdom.The following instructions shows you how to charge your iPhone 4S when staying in The United Kingdom using a standard 230 volt 50Hz G Type UK plug outlet, the British will use a BS 1363 13 amp plug for power outlets. If visiting The United Kingdom from a different country please make sure your iPhone 4S can be charged using a 240v supply. If your iPhone 4S was purchased from a country which uses a lower voltage (for example 110v) ensure that your device is dual voltage (indicated by 100-240 volts) else you may need to use an additional power converter to stop the device from overloading during charging. If you intend on travelling to destinations like London or Aberdeen we recommend referring to the The United Kingdom country wikipedia page [1] for more details on visiting the location. These instructions assume that you have installed Apple iOS 7 or greater on the iPhone 4S.

Charging the iPhone 4S in The United Kingdom

Can the iPhone 4S be used in The United Kingdom?

Yes, you can connect the iPhone 4S to a UK power outlet by using a power adaptor.

What is the best power adapter for the iPhone 4S in The United Kingdom?

If you are travelling to multiple countries or bringing more than just your iPhone 4S then the best international travel adapter for The United Kingdom to buy is a multiple USB adapter which includes swappable plugs like a 4 port USB travel charger [6].

Because these chargers come with interchangeable pins and handle from 100 - 240 volts it makes them ideal for over 100 countries around the world just by changing the heads over. If your type of iPhone 4S supports Fast Charge (not all USB devices can) then you'll benefit from quicker recharging times with one of these USB power chargers, plus additional compatibility with certain power hungry devices like tablets. Having a four port adapter means you can power more than one device at once without needing to buy multiple power chargers on your trip. By only needing a single lightweight travel charger will also keep the weight down, making it ideal to store in hand luggage. Because of their space saving flexibility these types of travel chargers can be used when back at home as well as abroad so when you're not on holiday they can sit overnight charging multiple smartphones and tablets using only a single power outlet.

We recommend searching for this type of flexible travel adapter at an electronics retailer. The travel charger illustrated here is the iKits 4 Port USB Wall Charger [6] which has been tested successfully for powering multiple USB devices in numerous countries around the world.

Alternative travel adapter for The United Kingdom

The 4 port USB travel charger [6] is the most compact option for travellers from any country who only have USB devices such as the iPhone 4S, but for those also wishing to use their domestic plugs these power adapters provide larger but more versatile solutions. All three power strips offer surge protection which can be useful for travellers to counties with unstable power grids. These power converters come supplied with interchangeable type C, I and G plugs covering both The United Kingdom and over 150 destinations:

  • BESTEK Portable International Travel Voltage Converter - The BESTEK international travel adaptor has 4 USB charging ports with 3 AC power outlets and is the most popular compact option for travellers originating from America visiting The United Kingdom using type B plug sockets.
  • ORICO Traveling Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip - Likewise having 4 USB ports but only 2 AC power outlets the Orico is also aimed at travellers from America using type B plugs and is a much cheaper alternative to the BESTEK with only 1 less AC outlet for almost half the price.
  • BESTEK International USB Travel Power Strip - This power strip has 2 AC outlets but offers a generous 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 The United Kingdom.
What is the best power adapter for the iPhone 4S in The United Kingdom?

Charging the iPhone 4S from a UK power outlet by using a 3 pinned Type G USB adapter

Using a USB 30 pin cable and a Type G USB charger to power the iPhone 4S from a UK power outlet.

  1. In order to supply power to your iPhone 4S from a UK power outlet you'll need to buy a Type G USB power adapter [4] and a USB to Apple 30 pin cable [5] (the cable is normally already included with your iPhone 4S).
  2. First you'll need to insert the Type G USB power adapter into the power outlet. The power supply, technically called a Type G power outlet [3], can be identified by the 3 vertical rectangular slots forming a triangle configuration.
  3. Then connect one end of the USB to Apple 30 pin cable into the USB mains adapter and the other end into the dock connector on the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S dock connector can be found at bottom of the iPhone 4S.
  4. Turn on the UK power outlet.
  5. The battery icon which appears in the top right corner of your iPhone 4S screen will display a charging icon to indicate that the iPhone 4S is powering up which typically takes between 1 to 4 hours to recharge to full capacity.
Charging the iPhone 4S from a UK power outlet by using a 3 pinned Type G USB adapter

SIM cards in the UK

What is the best free SIM plan for your iPhone 4S in the United Kingdom?

If you are travelling and need to use the iPhone 4S abroad then you should consider using a free local SIM in the UK to avoid paying excessive roaming costs from your own network.

The 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 use is light.

There are 15 local mobile network providers in the UK which offer free SIM only deals online, this list of 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 4S 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 4S 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.

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.

Please 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.

Best free SIM only contracts for the iPhone 4S for the UK

For extended trips to the UK there are 4 providers which won´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.

Using a free SIM with a locked iPhone 4S

If you do change network carriers you will need to ensure you´re using an unlocked iPhone 4S prior to inserting another SIM. If your iPhone 4S was locked when purchased you should be able to request to your existing cell phone carrier to unlock it for a small charge, use a high street mobile phone unlocking service or look for instructions online on how to unlock the iPhone 4S yourself. Note that the cost of unlocking the phone is likely to be significantly cheaper than using paying roaming charges.

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom - The United Kingdom country wikipedia page
  2. https://manuals.info.apple.com/MANUALS/1000/MA1565/en_US/iphone_user_guide.pdf - Official iPhone 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