Knowledge Base

Staying on top of roaming charges when outside of the EU and selected destinations

Started ‎20-03-2012 by
Modified ‎30-07-2018 by

This guide will give you advice on how to manage your phone to save on unexpected data, call and text charges by using the settings on your phone and also from your giffgaff account.

More Information

Data charges can be very costly when you are using your mobile outside of the EU. Even if you are not using the Internet, active apps may consume data in the background.

As general advice, don't use "data hungry” applications when you are abroad such as video applications, downloading files or Apps. The best solution to prevent these charges is simply to switch OFF data roaming on your handset.

To turn OFF roaming for the more popular handsets use the advice below.

Apple iPhone (iOS 6 and below)

  • Go to "Settings" then "General" then "Network".
  • Slide "Data Roaming" to OFF as required.

Apple iPhone (iOS 7 and above)

  • Go to "Settings" then "Mobile data".
  • Slide "Data Roaming" to OFF as required.

Note: All versions of iOS require the 'mobile data' button to be toggled ON in order for the 'Data Roaming' button to appear.


  • From the home screen press the "Menu" button and select "Settings"
  • Select "Wireless and networks" then "Mobile networks"
  • Tick or untick the "Data roaming" box as required.

Other operating systems offer similar settings. You can also look at your device apps stores to find an app to fit this need.

If you want to take no risk, we can bar your data usage.

Switch OFF mobile Internet: You can contact an agent and ask to put a Mobile Internet Bar on your phone, which means your mobile Internet will stop working.

Once the bar is on, your mobile Internet won't work in the UK or abroad. You'll have to request it to be switched back on when you're ready using the link above.

Switch OFF roaming: You can contact an agent and ask to put a Roaming Bar on your phone, which will stop texts, calls and mobile Internet while you're abroad.

You'll have to request it to be switched back on when you're ready using the link above.

Please keep in mind that barring/unbarring your data access will take a few hours so this solution is not to be used if you need to reactivate your Internet access quickly.

Manage the type of calls and texts you can make/send and receive, including restricting international calls and access to premium numbers. To do this go to Call and text service settings.

  • Look for Wi-Fi hotspots: If there's a free or low cost Wi-Fi alternative use it instead of mobile data.
  • Prefer sites which have a mobile version: If you have the choice between different sites, use one with a mobile version - it will be optimised and will consume less data.
  • Make sure that your emails are not checked in real time: If you use email make sure to set your email application to look for new email only on your request - not automatically.
  • Make sure you turn off automatic app updating: Set these to manual.

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