By: James McAllister


If you’re planning on traveling overseas or you want to stay in touch with someone who is, you may be concerned about the costs.

We know that international costs and texts can add up to substantial amounts of money – but what about Apple’s iMessage?

Does iMessage cost money if you use it internationally, or can it still be used for free?

In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know!

Is iMessage Free Internationally?

Person Sending Text Message Or iMessage On iPhone

Yes, iMessage is completely free to use internationally. This is because iMessage operates over the internet, rather than using your cellular network. As long as both you and the recipient have an internet connection, you will be able to send iMessages back and forth to each other without incurring any additional fees.

You can verify that you’re using iMessage, because the chat bubbles will be blue rather than green. If the chat bubbles are green, this means that the message is being sent via SMS, and may result in additional fees depending on the plan you have with your carrier.

For example, Verizon and AT&T charge between 20 and 25 cents per text sent / received, and 50 cents for each picture / video message.

This can very quickly add up if you aren’t paying attention to it!

How To Tell If A Text Will Be Sent Via iMessage, Before Sending It

Thankfully, there is a way to know whether or not a message will be sent via iMessage before you actually send it! This can prevent you from incurring fees without realizing it.

Quite simply, it comes down to the color of the arrow that the send button uses.

If you are going to be sending an iMessage, the arrow will be blue, like this:

iMessage Send Button Example

But if you’re going to be sending a text message, the arrow will instead be green, like this:

SMS Test Send Message Example

So, this is something to keep in mind. Of course, if the person you’ve talked to previously has used iMessage before, it’s likely they’ll still be using iMessage later on even if they’re in a different country. If they have any cell service at all and are able to receive text messages, they’re usually going to have an internet connection that can receive iMessages as well.

Regardless, as long as the send button appears blue, Apple will attempt to send the text via iMessage first. If it doesn’t go through, you’ll receive a notification stating that the sending failed, and asking you if you’d like to try resending it as an SMS text message instead.

So, it shouldn’t start sending texts by mistake – you will have the option to choose whether or not it will be sent as a text if the iMessage fails.

Is It Free To Send Pictures / Video Via iMessage Internationally?

Yes. Just like regular iMessages, it is free to send picture and video messages via iMessage as well.

In fact, any other type of iMessage (such as games or stickers) are also free when they are sent via iMessage.

This is because all of these will be sent over the internet, using your phone’s Wi-Fi or carrier’s internet network.

That being said, some carriers charge fees when using internet internationally. So, if you’re texting someone in another country, it may be a good idea to ask them if they have Wi-Fi before sending them large photos or videos. While you shouldn’t get any fees if you’re sending it while located within your own country, the person who is traveling may have data fees associated with the message.

iMessage Alternatives

If you believe that you or the recipient of your messages may incur additional fees, you may also consider using an alternate messaging platform to text each other.

This will guarantee that no international messages are sent over your cellular network, so it may be considered a safer option.

That being said, each of these alternatives still uses the internet to send messages, so there may be additional charges if either of you has to pay for data used.

So, what alternatives do we recommend?

Perhaps the easiest one to use is WhatsApp. It ties directly to your phone number, and doesn’t require you to really do anything to set it up except to download the app.

Alternatively, if you have each other added on a platform such as Facebook, this can also be a good alternative way to communicate. Using Messenger, everything is free – even video or audio calls should you wish to do one.

The key is to choose a service that operates over the internet, rather than using your cell network. Just about every third-party app you install on your phone fits this criteria, so there is really no shortage of options!


Thankfully, iMessage doesn’t ever cost anything to use – even if you send messages internationally.

This is true regardless of the type of message that you sent – even pictures and videos are free!

That being said, if you or the receiver are being charged for internet data used, this can still result in fees for the message.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about iMessage, please ask them using the comment form below.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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