Free International Texting on iPhone: How to Keep in Touch with iMessages or a 3rd-Party App

How to Send International Text Messages

If you travel or do business internationally, you know how costly roaming charges are. Unless your mobile carrier is T-mobile (limited to 2G data speed), you need an additional service plan for international texting. AT&T international texting costs $10 a month, as does Sprint, but don't worry; you can text free in Italy, Germany, the Philipines, or almost any other country you can think of with iMessages. With iMessage, you can text from anywhere for free, as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection and the person you're messaging also has an iPhone or Mac. If you want to be able to internationally text friends without iPhones for free, you'll need a free texting app. Let's get started learning how to avoid monstrous phone bills by sending free iMessages, or using a free text app!  

Related: 15 Top Free Apps for International Travel

The drawback of iMessage is that the person you're texting must also have an iPhone, iPad, iPod, or a Mac. If that's a deal breaker, I highly recommend using a messaging app like WhatsApp (free for your first year and only a dollar per year thereafter.)

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Some other great choices for international texting include WeChat, Viber Messenger, and KakaoTalk. If you have friends, relatives, or business associates in the country where you'll be traveling, ask them if they have recommendations for favorite free chat apps that work well in their location. You may find a new favorite app!

To text internationally via iMessage, first turn off your Cellular Data

Next, check that your iMessage app is enabled.

  • Open Settings. 
  • Scroll down and tap on Messages. 
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  • Toggle iMessage on. 
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  • Return to Settings.
  • Tap on Wi-Fi.
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  • Check that Wi-Fi is on and connected.
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Now you're ready to use iMessage from anywhere in the world!

Usinf Free Texting App

What if the person you want to contact doesn't have an iPhone though? No worries:

  • Navigate to the App Store.
  • Search for WhatsApp or another free messaging app and install it. (the steps that follow are for WhatsApp, but the set up will be similar in most other free texting apps.)
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  • After installation, open the app. It will ask permission to access contacts, tap Allow. 

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Enter your phone number. The app will confirm your number, tap Yes.


The app will send you a text message with a six-digit verification code. Once you've received the text message, find the number and enter it. 

You'll be prompted to set up your profile. You can add a photo and enter your name, or tap Use Your Facebook Info. The app will ask permission to access the information, tap Allow. Then select Done.


Next, invite your friends. 


Note: If your Cellular data is off as suggested at the beginning of the tip, WhatsApp will only work over Wi-Fi. But if you want to make sure you only use WhatsApp over Wi-Fi even when Cellular is turned on, go to Settings > Cellular and toggle Cellular data off for WhatsApp. 

Top Image Credit: lzf /

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Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.