Unlocking Your Phone: How to get more out of your Smartphone

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If you’re a Canadian or US smartphone user looking for an international roaming solution, chances are you’ve encountered the problem of locked phones.

A locked phone is the term used to describe what cellular service providers do to ensure the phone they sell you can only be used on their network. They instruct the cell phone manufacturers to lock the phone with software before the device leaves the factory, so it arrives in stores tied to a specific network.

A user with a locked phone would not be able to swap SIMs, switch networks, or use KnowRoaming, because their phone will only operate with the original cellular provider.  If you want to use your phone with other SIMs or networks, you’ll need to unlock your phone.

We know unlocking can still seem confusing, so KnowRoaming is here to help.

 

3 Common Myths About Unlocking Your Phone

 

1. It’s illegal

It’s a common misconception that unlocking your phone is illegal. Unsurprisingly, mobile phone companies haven’t been quick to bust this myth. But rest assured, unlocking your phone is completely legal in the US and Canada. Under the CRTC’s new Wireless Code in Canada, you can unlock a subsidized phone 90 days after purchase, and if you’ve paid the full cost of your phone upfront, you can unlock it immediately. For Americans, the Consumer Code for Wireless Services dictated that carriers must unlock phones upon request, or they must provide customers the info to have the phone unlocked elsewhere.

 

2. It “breaks” your phone or changes the operating system

This one persists because the terms “unlocking” and “jailbreaking” are often confused. Unlocking refers to removing the network restrictions so that the phone can be used with a SIM card from a different network. Phone unlocking is not the same thing as “jailbreaking.” Unlocking simply allows for you to use a different mobile network with your phone. Jailbreaking refers to removing the standard operating system restrictions on iOS devices, allowing you to download non-standard or unofficial software.

 

3. It’s technically difficult and complicated

It’s actually easier than ever. You can unlock your cell phone with UnlockBase. UnlockBase has provided phone-unlocking services for over 10 years for a wide range of popular devices.

 

Unlocking your phone means you have more options. You can use your smartphone when you travel, or choose the carrier that is right for you. For more information about the rules and regulations around unlocking, US consumers can visit the CTIA, and Canadians can read the full code at the CRTC’s site. For more info on unlocking, visit UnlockBase.

 

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Tell us: Where should we lower our rates?

At KnowRoaming, we’re constantly improving our pay-as-you-go data and calling rates. Now we’re asking you: where would you most like to see a rate drop?

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We know how roaming charges can stack up for frequent travellers, and lead to hefty phone bills when you return home. When KnowRoaming began, we wanted to provide a convenient, transparent way to roam all over the world, and our affordable pay-as-you-go-rates are a big part of that. We’re always working to secure better and better rates for our customers, and this summer we hope to make it even more affordable to stay connected while traveling the world with your smartphone.

Traveling to Costa Rica this summer? Looking to do a lot of business in Taipei? Tells us where a decrease in roaming rates would make the biggest difference. Leave a comment, visit our Facebook page, or tweet us @KnowRoaming with #roamingsummer

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Become a KnowRoaming Athlete

Today KnowRoaming kicks off KnowRoaming Athletes, a roaming sponsorship and referral program for athletes who travel.

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KnowRoaming Athletes is a sponsorship and referral program where chosen athletes will partner with KnowRoaming to save big on international data, voice, and text usage when they travel.

“We want to support athletes who are busy training and competing away from home–by making roaming easy and affordable” said KnowRoaming CEO Gregory Gundelfinger. “KnowRoaming’s SIM Sticker is a seamless way to do that. It drastically reduces international roaming fees, and will allow athletes to stay focused on what’s important: excelling in their sport.”

Submissions are now open for all athletes until May 30, 2015. The selected KnowRoaming Athletes will receive a free KnowRoaming SIM Sticker, free roaming on their next international trip, and further collaborations, including our referral and sponsorship programs, to help these athletes stay connected as they travel the world to achieve their goals.

Learn more and apply at knowroaming.com/athletes 

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My KnowRoaming Story

Amazing travel stories from our KnowRoaming customers as they explore the globe and stay connected with the KnowRoaming SIM Sticker

Peter and Laura from Ontario, Canada, share a breathtaking hot air balloon ride down the Cappadocia region of central Turkey.

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“Fear of falling is a pretty basic human response, but so is trying to get the best view you can. On our last trip to Turkey we had the chance visit Cappadocia, home to some of the greatest views, as well as the largest number of hot air balloons, in the world. Our desire to take in the famous landscape won out over our survival instincts, and one early autumn morning we took to the skies.

Up up and away

We arrive at the take-off point just before 6 AM. The darkness is lit by the many balloons heating up and before you can change your mind you’re helped into the basket with about 20 other passengers and of course, your pilot.

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Other than some “oohs” and “aahs” from your fellow balloonists, and the sporadic sound of the gas burners, it is truly a soundless voyage. The winds are very light and change direction every 50 metres or so. It gives our pilot quite a measure of control as we criss-cross over the landscape in a sea of about 60 or 70 other balloons.

For an hour or so you just drift back and forth and up and down. Hard to tell for sure, we may have reached 300 meters, but most of the time we were between 100 and 200 meters above the ground. Filled with ridges and gullies and mountain outcrops, the height varied very quickly.

 
Roaming in the air

KnowRoaming had been great for us this holiday and it only got better. This was the ace in the hole: even in a hot air balloon over the caves of Cappadocia I was able to take photos on my phone and send it to everyone right away. The other passengers were totally amazed that I was able to do this. They all were talking of putting pictures on Facebook when they got back to the hotel. We didn’t have to wait for the hotel Wi-Fi to share our amazing experience. Just like throughout our tour of Turkey, we were able to stay connected even while floating 200 meters in the air.

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Alas, the hour passed very quickly and we descend to our landing site. Upon the instruction from our trusty pilot we take our landing positions and await impact. It was all somewhat anti-climactic, as he puts the balloon down right on the trailer bed of our chase vehicle.

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All that’s left is a glass of champagne, congrats all round, and posing for pics with the pilot and our fellow balloonists!”

  • Have your own KnowRoaming story? Send it our way! Follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook to learn more.
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A Foodie’s Guide to Travel

For a lot of world travellers memorable meals and unique dining experiences are a key part to any great trip. Next time you travel, avoid tourist trap restaurants and disappointing food by following these helpful foodie hints.

Eating Well Before Your Flight

Here’s something to keep in mind on your next layover; Condé Nast Traveler has compiled a list of the best airport restaurants in the world. Brisket in Dallas’ Fort Worth, Oysters in San Francisco SFO, and chili crabs in Singapore Changii—these  meals almost make the security line worth it.

Eating before you get on a flight can also maximize your sleep time. Instead of waiting for middling in-flight meals on transatlantic flights, start your journey full and avoid deplaning tired, bloated, and a little hung-over from the complimentary wine.

Plan Your Trip Around The World’s Best Restaurants

Every year, The Diners Club® brings together 900 “trusted and well-traveled gourmets” to pick the world’s 50 best restaurants. This year’s winner is the Danish Noma; Revolutionaries in Nordic cuisine, who, per their website, “look to our landscape and delve into our ingredients and culture, hoping to rediscover our history and shape our future.”

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*via Wikimedia Commons

Having spent the last 9 years in the top tier of the Best list, Noma is renowned for their innovative, flavourful cuisine mined from every aspect of the Scandinavian Landscape. Dishes are noted to be varied and memorable – such as a dish of beef tartar and ants – and stands as a destination in itself.

 See the full list of winners here, and start planning your next foodie vacation

 

Eat Like Locals

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*via Wikimedia Commons

You can still enjoy incredible food in any city without splurging on Michelin-starred restaurants. Just do as the locals do. Street food, both trendy and delicious, is a great way to get a taste of the flavours unique to any city. Travel + Leisure has a great guide to safely enjoy local cuisine from Bangkok to Bogotá.

But if you really want to get a sense of the city, take a tip from foodie traveler superstar Anthony Bourdain, and visit the city’s markets:

“When I’m in a city that’s new to me, I try to go to the central market very early in my trip. I’ll go at 6 a.m., when people are shopping for businesses. You get to see what people buy and really eat.” Read the full interview here.

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Know Your Apps

 Take advantage of your KnowRoaming data, and pull up these apps to find your next great meal.

Yelp is invaluable in North American cities. Using the GPS and “open now” functions can prevent disappointing meals in a strange city when you’re desperate to get fed, even before you find your hotel. Often the key to kicking jet lag is a good meal, and a solid sleep.

While Yelp has a wealth of user reviews and profiles in North America, TripAdvisor is essential for an English-speaking traveler in Europe. It’s easy to search by cuisine and prices, and the large community of users can steer you in the right culinary direction.

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Have more great foodie travel tips? Share them in the comments, or tweet us at @knowroaming

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New Multi-day Unlimited Data Packages Now Available

You asked and we delivered. We’re happy to announce that we’ve just expanded our offering of Unlimited Data Packages. Customers can now purchase unlimited data packages for 1, 3, or 7 days.  Available in over 55 countries, multi-day data packages can be purchased through the app and activated when you need them.  Stop counting megabytes and start traveling worry-free.

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Just like the 24 hour package, the 3 day and 7 day packages cannot be stopped or put on hold once activated, so once you’ve activated the package, you’ll enjoy unlimited data until their time runs out.

3 Day and 7 Day Unlimited Data packages are now available on the iPhone, Android and Web KnowRoaming Apps.

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Unlocking Your Phone Through a Carrier Officially Just Got Easier

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Thanks to a law signed by President Obama last August, deeming it legal for mobile users in the US to unlock their phone, the Cellular Telephone Industries Association’s new standards for unlocking phones goes into effect today. The five major US carriers will now allow customers to unlock their phones at no extra charge.

When applied to an unlocked phone, the KnowRoaming SIM Sticker turns your regular phone into an intelligent dual-SIM device, letting you switch from your home SIM to the KnowRoaming global SIM whenever you travel. It’s now even easier to save up to 85% on international roaming.

Ready to get unlocked? You can look up each carriers’ unlocking policies below:

AT&T

Sprint

T-Mobile

US Cellular

Verizon

Via. The Next Web.

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How To Make The Most Of Your Data While Roaming

Looking to keep your data usage in check when you travel the world? Want to make sure that those megabytes are for your Instagram posts and not spent accidentally downloading a week’s worth of emails?

At KnowRoaming, we know how important data is to travelers. Whether you are keeping in touch with business back home, or enjoying the latest from your Twitter feed, making the most out of your data, and saving money while you roam, is easy if you follow these tips.

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*image via Wikipedia Commons

 

Tip 1: Set your apps to automatically update only over Wi-Fi.

Apps are constantly updated by their developers to ensure the best possible user experience; efficient for customers, but possibly murderous to your data rates. In some cases these updates could be costing you upwards of 100mb in precious data.

Avoid balance drain by setting your apps to update only over Wi-Fi, and try and take advantage of hotspots or hotel Wi-Fi. Here are a 10 cities that offer the best free Wi-Fi in the world.

Android users go into Google Play Store > Select Google Play Store Settings > Select Auto-update apps > Select Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only.

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iPhone users go into iPhone settings > Select iTunes & App Store > Disable Use Cellular Data. Also, Music, Apps, Books, and Updates can be disabled under Automatic Downloads.

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Tip 2: Narrow down apps that absolutely need cellular data

Not all apps are created equal, at least not while you’re traveling. It’s likely you’ll use messaging, e-mail, maps, and social media apps, but take a moment before you leave to limit some of the less-essential background apps, and instruct them not to use cellular data when they are open.

Take a look at some of the best new travel apps, from packing, to private planes, these apps accommodate even the most eccentric traveler – just be sure to check your settings.

Android users go into Settings > Select Data Usage > Click on the app that you want to instruct not to use cellular data > Check the box that says “Restrict background data.”

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For iPhone users this can be done by going to your iPhone Settings > Click on Cellular > Scroll down to “Use Cellular Data For:” > Disable the appropriate apps.

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Tip 3: Close apps running in the background.

Many smartphone users are unaware that merely pressing the Home button on your phone does not close the app properly. Apps will run in the background of your phone’s operating system the same way that minimizing your Internet browser while running a YouTube video won’t stop the video. The “background apps” may pull data so that they are up to date when you re-open them. In order to ensure you are closing your apps correctly, and preventing unwanted “background apps” from using data, follow these steps:

Android users hold Home button for more than 1 second. All your opened apps will be displayed. You can choose specific apps by swiping the app to the right or you can close all the apps by clicking on the ‘x’ button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

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iPhone users double click the Home button. All the “background apps” will appear. Swipe left and right across the screen to view all the apps, and swipe up over the specific app to close it.

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Tip 4: Manually check your e-mails.

E-mails can use a lot of data if they contain files with big attachments. Usually, your e-mail settings are set to automatically check for, and download, new e-mails. If you want to change these settings so that you can check e-mails at a time that’s best for you, maybe in a hotspot or Wi-Fi enabled area, for example, all you have to do is set your e-mail settings to “check manually”.

Android users – every email client is a little different when it comes to manual versus automatic syncing of your emails. Look in the settings of your email for an option to disable push notifications, switch to manual syncing or manual updating, or for a switch to turn off auto-syncing or auto-updating.

iPhone users go to iPhone Settings > Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Under Accounts select Fetch New Data > Disable Push > Scroll down to “Fetch” > Select Manually. Then click on your email accounts that you want to be checked manually.

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Tip 5: Take advantage of KnowRoaming’s unlimited plan.

Don’t want to worry about running up a data tab while traveling? Check out KnowRoaming Unlimited; an unlimited data package that provides KnowRoaming customers with unlimited data in 55 countries for $7.99 a day.

For more great travel tips, explore the video page for helpful tutorials; follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook to learn more.

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KnowRoaming At CES 2015

KnowRoaming_CES2015_TeamThe KnowRoaming team had such an amazing time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Old customers and new made it to our booth in Eureka Park and it was so awesome getting to see our SIM Stickers in action!

@waynesworld@a_moudryYou can see us next at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and get your own KnowRoaming SIM Sticker before you travel!

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KnowRoaming Rings in the #YearOfRoaming With Free Unlimited Data on NYE

2015 is the year of no more waiting for a WiFi connection to use your phone, no more bill-shock from exorbitant roaming fees and no more time wasted searching for local SIM cards. KnowRoaming allows you to travel smarter this year – and this is a New Year’s resolution that will actually stick!

To kick-off the #YearOfRoaming with a bang, we surprised our customers traveling and using KnowRoaming on New Year’s Eve with 24 hours of free Unlimited Data!

Our Customers were traveling in locations across the globe, celebrating the New Year and using their free Unlimited Data to stay connected.  In total, our customers used over 24 gigabytes of data!

Blogger Jay Strut was blown away by our New Year’s gift, using 700 megabytes of data in just 24 hours and tweeting his excitement to his followers.

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While in Thailand, South Africa, Spain, Mexico, and more incredible destinations, KnowRoaming Customers used their free Unlimited Data to share photos of how they rang in 2015 along with their KnowRoaming sticker.

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The #YearOfRoaming has just begun. Stay tuned for more surprises and giveaways, coming soon!

The KnowRoaming Team will be at Consumer Electronics Show 2015 (CES), at booth 75525 in Eureka Park from Jan. 6 – 9. Come meet the team and try a KnowRoaming SIM Sticker!

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