It's hard to conceive a trip without our smartphones, which have become our best travel companions. Thanks to them, we can easily communicate with people and find our way in any situation. In Iran, the Internet and mobile data is easily accessible and cheap. So here are the essential mobile applications to download for your trip to Iran.
Before coming to Iran, you need to know that several applications and websites are filtered. An easy way to bypass this issue is to download a VPN application. There are many free VPN applications to download on the Apple Store and Google Play.
For iOS users, we recommend using "Turbo VPN", "VPN Master", and "ThunderVPN". While for Android phones, we suggest "Hotspot Shield", "Psiphon", and "ExpressVPN". It's better to download at least two different applications, in case one would not work properly once in Iran.
It is a must-have for any visitors to Iran: "Snapp" and "TAPSI" are two very popular applications of ride-hailing services, such as Uber in Europe. Both can be used in English. Put your current origin location and your destination, and a driver will come to pick you up. Prices are fixed and written on the application. Moreover, they are quite fair, especially for foreigners who are not necessarily good at negotiating the rates with taxi drivers. It's by far one of the most convenient ways to travel inside the cities. "Snapp" gives service almost in every big and medium town of Iran.
Due to the restrictions of Apple, "Snapp" and "TAPSI" must be downloaded directly on their website for iPhone users. Then, you might be required to allow the app to make it work. You need to go to Settings > General > Device Management. Then click on the name of the company which provides the app and, finally, "Verify App".
Because it might be better to use the metro sometimes, don't forget to download "Tehran Metro" official application to help you find your path and check the metro map.
Maps are of course essential for any trip, both inside the cities and to organize your itinerary. One of the most popular is "Google Maps", but lots of travellers also recommend using "Maps.me", which has the advantage of providing good offline maps. You can thus mark the different spots you want to visit in advance and be able to navigate there without internet.
Once you have bought a sim card and subscribed a mobile package, it's good to be able to keep an eye on your mobile data consumption. To do so, you can download the mobile application of the operator you chose. For Irancell, download "MyIrancell" app, and for MCI (Hamrahe Aval) download "MyMCI" app. These applications support English language and thus let you know how much credit you have left on your sim card. You can also use them to charge it online, within a few minutes. However, you will need an Iranian credit card to do so, so ask your friends, hotels, or guide to help you with this.
If most applications can be found on Google Play, for those who own an iPhone, it can be trickier, as Apple's restrictions prevent most Iranian apps from being available on the Apple Store. That's why there are local markets where you can download all Iranian applications. For Android, it is called "Bazaar", while on iOS you can use "Nassab" or "SibApp".
Download SibApp here
Cafe Bazaar can be downloaded on Google Play. For the iOS local markets, go directly on the website of these applications to download them with your phone.
As for "Snapp" and "TAPSI", once downloaded, you need to configure your setting to allow the application on your phone. Go to Settings > General > Device Management. Click on the name of the company which provides the app and then "Verify App". It allows it to work on your smartphone.
Download Bazaar: Android
Maybe you know it already, but Iran calendar is based on the solar calendar. Even if the Gregorian calendar is also used, it can sometimes be useful to know the date of the solar calendar, to figure out some booking by yourself, for instance, or finding out local holidays. There are many applications you can download to provide you with the Persian calendar, such as "iPersia Cal" for iPhone, or "Persian Calendar" for Android.
Download Persian Calendar for Android
Download iPersia Cal for iOS
You're probably already a user of messaging apps, but if not, it's time to get familiar with it, as it's commonly used in Iran. "Whatsapp" and "Telegram" are the most popular. "Telegram" is filtered, which requires the use of a VPN, while it's not the case for "Whatsapp". However, "Messenger" is not commonly used in Iran. These messaging apps allow you to communicate with your friends and family in your country, but also with people inside Iran, whether they are your friends, hotels, or guides.
It's always good to know some basic sentences in the local language, that's why we have prepared for you a guide with the essential sentences and words in Farsi. Besides that, you can also try to learn a few words in Farsi before your trip, by using applications such as "Learn Persian: Language Course" on iOS, and "Learn Persian (Farsi)" on Android. And once in Iran, use "Google Translate" to be able to communicate with people even when you don't have a common language.
Download Learn Persian: Language Course: iOS
Download Learn Persian(Farsi): Android