It has never been easier to visit Iran thanks to mass innovation in the tech space.
The Iran startup scene is booming, and with more and more tourists visiting Iran each year, the apps to help you navigate your way around are becoming more advanced.
Here’s all you need to know about getting online and using your phone during your visit to Iran.
What’s the internet access like in Iran?
You can access wi-fi in most hotels and cafes, and it’s usually free to use. Swanky coffee shops will almost definitely have wi-fi (depending on how much you spend in there!)
There are a lot of blocked websites in Iran, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the banned websites before you leave.
Internet speed varies, but most cities have ADSL connections.
You can also take advantage of the high-speed bonus packages with SIM cards.
How do I get a SIM card in Iran?
You can buy a SIM card at the Imam Khomeini Airport or one of the MTN/Irancell service centers in the cities. To activate the SIM card, you’ll need to register with your passport details.
There are four active cellphone operators in Iran:
1. HAMRAH-E-AVVAL (MCI)
2. IRANCELL (MTN)
Your SIM card will be valid for 30 days. Planning to stay longer? You can get a regular SIM card at the airport or an operator Service Center.
What are the essential apps to use in Iran?
Is there uber in Iran?
No exactly Uber, but you can use Tap30 & Snapp.
Snapp is the Uber of Iran, a ride-sharing app that operates in Tehran, Iran’s capital, and all big cities. Registering is simple using your Google account, and then you’re ready to go. Snapp is now available in English and French, too, for Android and iOS users.
Tehran, Iran’s capital, is known for its crazy traffic. you’ll be thankful when using the speedy, simple subway system. The Tehran Metro app is bilingual and gives you a guide to the underground and how to navigate. You’ll be able to find the facilities at each station, locate taxi and bus routes leading to each station and much more. You can also use the app offline – easy!
Maps and navigation:
Waze is a great app, giving you all the latest updates on traffic, construction, police, crashes, and more. If the traffic is terrible and you’re in a hurry, Waze will redirect the route to save you time. Very handy!
You’re probably familiar with this one. This is another great app to help you find the best routes through Iran (and dodging the traffic). It’s a great app for giving you an idea of distances between your destinations. Also, you can get pretty accurate travel times for different modes of transport, whether you’re traveling by car, bike or on foot.
Data and SIM card:
Social and messaging:
This is the most popular messaging app in Iran. You can have group chats with a large number of people, and it’s widely used by businesses to send daily updates to their online audience.
To use this app – you just need an internet connection. This is a great app to communicate with your friends or keep in touch with locals you meet along the way!
Calling services can be tricky in Iran, which is why Whatsapp is very popular. WhatsApp enables you to have video or audio calls as long as you’re online. Other similar apps available in Iran are; Skype, IMO, Duo, Line and Facetime.
Google Translate will make translating easy as pie.
Having a hard time understanding what someone is saying in Farsi?
Just open your Google Translate app and ask the person to speak into the microphone. The app then shows you the translation within seconds. Simple!
Foursquare is a brilliant app to help you find new cool places from restaurants and cafes to museums, galleries, and much more. You’re able to see the user recommendations in your area, mostly from the Iranian locals, so you’re guaranteed to find the best places! Swarm (Foursquare’s companion app) is also a fun way to meet up with new local friends nearby.
YouTube is blocked in Iran, but don’t worry! Download the Aparat app, and you can watch videos and other user-generated content just like you would on YouTube. Users can upload and stream videos here – so get the app and upload your travel experience for millions of users to see!
The Android-only app Date/Calendar Converter will come in very handy when you need to convert dates from Shamsi to Gregorian.
This app makes it easy for tourists to translate the Farsi names for months and days.