The Difference Between the U.S. & European iPhone

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Each time a fresh line of iPhones releases, customers closely monitor the exciting new features. But once again, Europeans will pay significantly more to buy the latest model than they would in the U.S. While Americans can buy an iPhone XR for $749 in the U.S., that same model retails for $987 USD in Germany. This is the cheapest of the new iPhone X models, which go all the way up to $1,099 in the U.S. for the oversized iPhone XS Max, or $1,452 in Germany. But before iPhone connoisseurs outside the U.S. hop planes to North America to buy the latest iPhone for less money, it's important they know the difference between Europe's iPhone GSM quad band cellphone and the U.S. version of the same GSM phones.


iPhone and International Travel

At one time, international travel was tough. Many other countries were on the Global System for Mobile Communication, while the U.S. was on Code Division Multiple Access. That meant an iPhone GSM quad band cellphone would not work in America and vice versa, often requiring someone to use a special phone while traveling internationally. But in recent years, cellphone carriers have met the demand for connectivity while traveling abroad. Depending on the carrier you choose, your iPhone, including the latest iPhone X models, should work whether you're in America or traveling to another country. But that doesn't necessarily mean that if you live in Europe, you should buy the American version of the phone.


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iPhone U.S. Version

When it comes to choosing a phone that will work in either the U.S. or overseas, it's all in the model. Apple maintains a list on its website of the precise models that work in each country, going all the way back to the iPhone 7. The iPhone Xs models that work in the U.S. are models A1920 for GSM and A1920 for CDSM. The Xs Max models are A1921 for GSM and A1921 for CDMA. Unlike the iPhone EU version, these phones are set up to work on the U.S. LTE bands. Otherwise, though, you'll see the same features found on the versions of the iPhone you'd buy in other countries, including those in Europe.


iPhone EU Version

If you buy the U.S. version of the iPhone, you'll be limited to the LTE bands specific to the U.S. But the iPhone EU version is geared toward Europe's LTE bands. For the iPhone Xs, Model A2097 is compatible with the EU's LTE bands, while Model A2101 is the version to look for in the iPhone Xs Max.


iPhone Cross-Country Functionality

If you live in Europe and own an iPhone GSM quad band cellphone, or live in America and have the U.S. version of the phone, you can still travel from one place to the other. You'll need to check with your carrier beforehand to see if your plan covers you. If not, you may be able to purchase a SIM card for temporary use while traveling. This will assign you a new phone number and data plan during the time you're gone – ideal for someone who plans to be overseas for an extended period.