If you’re not sure how much data you normally use, don’t worry. There is a way to check this. On Android phones, go to Settings> Network and Internet> SIM, and you’ll see how much data you used this past month. Faucet Use of application data to see which apps use the most data, and you can also scroll through data usage from previous months. On iPhones, you can see it by going to Settings> Mobile> Mobile data. If you regularly use less than 3 GB of data per month, the Flexible Plan may be the best option for you.
All of the above prices are for a single line; they all go down slightly per line as you add more. For example, I plan to add a second line to my Unlimited Plus plan soon, which will make the two lines $ 55 each or $ 110 a month in total (plus taxes and fees).
Activate your chip
Once you’ve chosen your plan and signed up, Google will mail a SIM card. Mine took a couple of days to arrive, but I’ll gladly take advantage of it if it saves me to set foot in a physical transportation store. (If you’re using an iPhone or Google Pixel, you can set up Fi with an eSIM, which means you don’t have to wait for a physical card.)
Once your chip arrives, you’ll need to use a SIM tool to remove the SIM tray and insert the SIM card into your phone. Then download the Google Fi app (you’ll need to be connected to Wi-Fi to do this, as your chip won’t connect to the network yet) and follow the steps there. If you bring your old phone number, it may take a little longer. For me, after setting up a new number, Fi was up and running after about 5 minutes. That’s it, you’re done.
I’ve traveled and lived in rural areas for the past five years, and I’ve tried almost every phone plan and point of interest, none of which is that simple. The only thing that comes close is Red Pocket Mobile, which I still use in addition to Google Fi. (We have more recommendations in our guide to the best cheap phone plans.) There are cheaper plans, but in terms of ease of use and reliability, Fi is hard to beat.
Use Google Fi on a hot spot
You can use Google Fi as an easy way to add mobile connectivity to any device that supports a SIM card, such as a mobile access point. You’ll need to activate your Google Fi SIM card with a phone using the Google Fi app, but once activated, you can put this chip on any device you can. If you go with the Unlimited Plus plan, that means you can put your chip on an iPad, an Android tablet, or a 4G / 5G hot spot. However, you’re still subject to the 50 gigabyte data limit, so make sure you don’t go crazy with Netflix.
The easiest way to set up Google Fi on a hot spot is to request a data-only SIM. This way, you don’t have to use your phone to activate your SIM first. Otherwise, there seems to be no difference between data-only SIM cards and normal SIMs.
Your questions, answers
- Do I need a Google Account? Yes, you need a Google Account to sign in to Google Fi, but you do not need to be a member of Google to use Fi. I have an Android phone, and I use Google apps, because that’s what we use here at WIRED, but outside of work, I don’t use any non-Fi Google service, and it still works fine.
- Does Google Fi keep track of all my movements? Yes, but so is your current provider. Google Fi Terms of Service state that Google does not sell what is known as customer-owned network information, such as call location, details, and features you use, to anyone else.
- I’m traveling and I want to use Google Fi abroad. Will this work? Yes. Fi’s terms of service require you to activate your service in the US, but after that, it should work anywhere Fi has partnered with a network in the country. The only possible problem is long-term travel. The TOS says that if you “use the Fi service predominantly internationally, you may have your international capabilities suspended.” There is no official clarification on what constitutes “predominantly”, but unofficially I know several people who for years have been out of the US using Fi and have had no problems. However, as they say, your mileage may vary.
Tips and tricks
There are several features available through the Google Fi app that you may not discover at first. One of my favorites is an old Google Voice feature that lets you forward calls to any phone you want. This is also possible in Google Fi. All you have to do is add a number to the Fi Divert list, and every time you receive a call, both your cell phone and the secondary number will ring, whether it’s a home phone, a second mobile or Airbnb phone you have. you are in. This is very useful in places where the strength of your signal is uncertain; just send the call to a landline. In the same way, it’s worth enabling the Wi-Fi calling feature for times when you have access to Wi-Fi but not a mobile signal.
Another feature that is becoming increasingly useful as the number of spam calls I receive increases is call blocking. Android and iOS call apps can block calls, but this only sends the caller directly to your voicemail and you still end up receiving your voicemail. Block a call through the Google Fi app, and callers will receive a message that your number has been disconnected or is no longer in service. As far as they know, you’ve changed numbers. To set it up, open the Fi app and look below Phone settings per Spam and blocked numbers. Faucet Manage blocked numbers and then you can add any number you want to the list. If you change your mind, all you have to do is delete the list.
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