eSIM-Only iPhone 14 for Travel to Developing World? ‘Bit Concerned’ Says Pro Photographer
Pro photographer Austin Mann again has shared a review of the latest iPhone cameras, specifically the iPhone 14 Pro. This year, he took his testing to the Scottish Highlands, hanging out in the Dunton Kilchoan Estate.
Mann is a perfect use case for Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro, as he pushes the cameras to the limit at exotic locales around the globe. What better way to showcase the newest iPhone 14 Pro?
The photographer said despite the new 48 megapixel camera on iPhone 14 Pro, he ended up leaving settings on 12 megapixel ProRAW, noting the latter is faster at capturing than the former. He also pointed out worrying about large file sizes of shooting in 48 MP (although Apple said the sizes would be the same as the 12MP shooter?) and he also said battery life seemed better at 12 MP. Shooting at 48 MP was a mode he said to use for images he would want to print, to get the most detail.
Mann praised the new Action Mode that mimics filming video with a gimbal for stabilization. The feature looks like it lives up to its promise.
Now, the part of Mann’s iPhone 14 Pro camera review that caught my attention was the part about using an eSIM-only iPhone 14 Pro while travelling internationally.
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models sold in the U.S. no longer have a physical SIM try, but instead, only have access to eSIM. Here in Canada, we’re still lucky enough to have a SIM try for our new iPhone 14 lineup smartphones.
Mann said he was “a bit concerned” about “the practicality of an eSIM-only approach for travelers with US iPhones who frequently visit the developing world.”
“My wife and I usually land for a project, get money changed, and pick up a local SIM card so it’s easy and cheap to communicate with people in-country. I keep these SIM cards in my daily bag (see image above), and for areas I’m frequently traveling I can just swap the SIM card upon landing and be ready to go,” said Mann
While trying to sign up for an eSIM line in East Africa, as he’s heading there next summer, he wasn’t able to figure out how. He said he did follow some guides on how to do it, but the process is taking longer than usual.
Apple has this support document detailing eSIM and traveling, but it doesn’t really help that much. You can store up to 8 eSIMs on your iPhone at one time, while two of them can remain active. The problem is some smaller wireless carriers in the developing world may not have adopted eSIM yet. That means one will need to still rely on a phone with a physical SIM card, for now.
There are third-party eSIM companies that support global roaming, such as Airalo. You can purchase voice and data ahead of time right from their app on your iPhone, and your plan will be ready for your arrival. But sometimes this may not be as cheap as buying a physical pre-paid SIM card on the ground at your destination, and popping it into your iPhone.
Apple says using eSIM is more secure than a physical SIM card, and that can be true. But for now, Americans may be better off using third-party eSIM services for travel, as support is usually widely available in most countries by now.