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How shall I set up an eSIM card on my iPhone?

September 11, 2023

 Any compatible iPhone, from the iPhone XR through the iPhone 14, may add an eSIM card on my iPhone by following these instructions.

Apple eliminated the actual SIM card slot with the release of the iPhone 14 in the United States. This implies that you must use an embedded SIM, or eSIM, if you want to add a second SIM, either for a different carrier or for a different country. Since the iPhone XR, eSIM support has been offered on iPhones. Therefore, by adding an eSIM to your phone, you can avoid the inconvenience of dealing with a physical SIM card, regardless of whether you have a new U.S. model iPhone 14 without a physical SIM or an older iPhone with both a physical and embedded SIM.

The drawback is that not all cellular providers or plans offer eSIM functionality. Adoption is rising, and it is hoped that Apple’s decision to release the U.S. iPhone 14 will encourage other carriers to join the movement. However, as of right now, just a few carriers provide it, many don’t, and some only with postpaid subscriptions, not prepaid ones. Consult this Apple support page to determine the country-specific support levels for your preferred carrier.

Even if your preferred carrier doesn’t support eSIM, you might be able to use the function through a third party, which is a practical choice if you’re traveling abroad and just want coverage for a few days or a week.

Recently, my wife and I traveled to London, and I wanted to use my iPhone to obtain local data service, so I added an eSIM. eSIM was supported by the default carrier, but only for postpaid plans. Instead, I looked to Airalo, an eSIM provider, who could provide the service I needed for our stay in London.

You may buy the eSIM at a physical store or online, depending on the provider, plan, and nation. I could easily sign up for Airalo, pay for access online using my phone, and then download a QR code to activate the service.

Here’s how to upgrade your iPhone to support an eSIM. This is the fundamental procedure, though the specific procedures may differ significantly from one carrier or service to another. Additionally, the procedures I outline presume you already have one primary carrier configured on your iPhone and want to add a second one via an eSIM.

What is an eSIM?

What is an eSIM?

You may connect to any operator providing eSIM services using an eSIM, which is a SIM card that is integrated into a mobile device.

Additionally, the e-SIM functions similarly to a conventional SIM card without requiring a real SIM card to utilize it. Because it is already pre-loaded on the device, the “eSIM profile” of a new operator must be installed in order to activate it.

In actuality, it is a step forward from the standard SIM card. An eSIM card is a feature that is being added to more and more smartphones, tablets, and computers.

Pros and cons of an eSIM

Pros and cons of an eSIM

It is simpler to change networks. It is significantly simpler to switch cell networks using an eSIM.You may switch networks with a phone call or online, avoiding the need to purchase a new SIM card, wait for it to arrive, and then insert it into your phone. Additionally, you won’t need to go for a SIM “ejector tool” to get the old SIM out of your phone.

You can briefly switch to a different network. One eSIM may hold up to five virtual SIM cards at once. This implies that if you find yourself in a location without a signal on your preferred network, you may rapidly switch between various networks.

Additionally, it eliminates the need to physically install a local SIM, making it simpler to switch to a local network when traveling. While traveling, using a local cell network may sometimes be far less expensive than using your UK network and incurring roaming fees. Additionally, retaining your UK SIM will lessen the chance that you’ll misplace your phone.

enables you to use several SIM cards. The most obvious benefit of using two phone numbers on one device is another feature that eSIMs share with dual-SIM smartphones that have two slots for conventional plastic SIM cards.

If you want to use one number for personal purposes and another for professional purposes but don’t want to carry around two phones, this can be useful. You may pick which SIM to use to make calls, send texts, or utilize data while you’re receiving calls and texts on both numbers.

reduces the space needed on the phone. The ultimate removal of the necessity for a physical SIM card and its tray is another benefit of eSIMs. The makers of smartphones could utilize this area to enhance the capacity of a phone’s battery or add new functions to a device. A smartphone will be better protected from water and dust with fewer holes, which will lead to fewer problems.

Additionally, in some cases, a handset size reduction is possible. However, wearables like smartwatches have a significant space advantage since people don’t want to carry a large gadget on their wrists. Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S3 smartwatches, as well as the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 4, already feature eSIMs.

However, there are a few possible drawbacks to eSIMs.

Switching between devices quickly is more difficult. To maintain your number and contact information (if your contacts are kept on the SIM), if your phone stops operating, you may simply remove the SIM and insert it into a different phone. 

Although storing data and contacts in the cloud is intended to make it simple to move data, such as contacts, from one phone to another, this will be considerably more difficult with an eSIM.

There’s nowhere to run. Additionally, eSIMs cannot be removed from a device, which may be considered a drawback if you worry about having your whereabouts recorded. However, this might also be a benefit, as it makes it harder for phone thieves to conceal the whereabouts of a stolen phone.

Do all smartphones have an eSIM?

Only a few of the newest smartphones and wearables currently on the market include an eSIM. These consist of:

  • All of Apple’s most recent iPhone models, including the iPad Pro, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR
  • The Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra from Samsung
  • The Pixel 3 and 3 XL from Google
  • The Motorola Razr (which solely uses an eSIM and lacks a conventional SIM card)
  • The Gear S2 and Gear S3 smartwatches from Samsung
  • Series 3, 4, and 5 of the Apple Watch

Do all networks support eSIM?

Although not all networks currently accept eSIMs, they will once this technology becomes widespread.

In the UK, eSIMS is now supported in some way by EE, O2, and Vodafone.

How Do You Get an eSIM card on my iPhone?

Apple has supported eSIM since the iPhone Xs and XR, but this year it is going all out and deleting the traditional SIM card slot from every version of the iPhone 14 available in the United States. Although additional country-specific models will support both physical and virtual SIM, Apple may ultimately do away with the SIM slot in other nations, depending on supply. Regional variations exist in the specific instructions. We have mostly concentrated on the U.S. market for this guide.

ESIM, an alternative to a physical SIM that is embedded into the phone’s circuitry, allows users to swiftly swap between SIM cards. It allows people to host more than two SIM cards. The iPhone 14 will support up to eight SIM cards together. How easy is it to set up a new eSIM on an iPhone? There shouldn’t be many steps involved.

This is how you do it:

  • To add a cellular plan, go to Settings > Cellular. An alternative location for this item is Settings > Mobile Data > Add eSIM.
  • A series of numbers will be shown in order to transfer the plan. A manual selection of “Transfer from Nearby iPhone” is an alternative.iOS 16 must be installed on both iPhones for this to work.
  • You can finish this step by following the instructions from the old model. On the older iPhone, enter the verification code that will be seen on the new one.
  • When you move the plan to a newer iPhone, your carrier will contact you to complete the setup.

a QR code reader

  • You may simply choose “Use QR Code” while configuring the new iPhone or utilize the camera if your carrier has provided you with one.
  • In some cases, the “Use QR Code” option can be found under Settings > Mobile Data > Add eSIM. 

Setting up an eSIM on an iPhone

Setting up an eSIM on an iPhone

An eSIM may be used in the same ways as a traditional SIM card. Although you may install several eSIMs on your iPhone, you cannot utilize more than one eSIM at once. On the same device, you can only switch to one at a time.

Additionally, your phone number stays the same whether you switch from a conventional SIM card to an eSIM. The transfer, however, makes your physical SIM card superfluous. To go back to a traditional SIM card, you might need to deactivate your eSIM or go to your network carrier’s office.

Alternatives to the eSIM

Alternatives to the eSIM

For those who want new software features or desire to check out various options, research the top eSIMS alternatives. When looking for eSIMS replacements, reliability, and usefulness are also crucial things to take into account. A list of alternatives and competitors to eSIMS that evaluators deemed to be the best overall includes ETQ Reliance QMS, Workiva, SAI360, and HSI Donesafe.


The actual SIM card slot has been removed from Apple’s iPhone 14 U.S. models, enabling customers to add an embedded SIM (eSIM) for a different carrier or nation. Since the iPhone XR, eSIM has been an option, eliminating the burden of dealing with a physical SIM card. Although eSIM’s popularity is rising, not all carriers or plans now enable it. If a chosen carrier doesn’t offer the capability, independent providers might be able to utilize it. The steps below should be used to install an eSIM on an iPhone:

1) Go shopping or shop online. 

2) Download a QR code to set up the service and register and pay for access online using your phone. 

The physical SIM card has evolved into the electronic SIM (eSIM). An eSIM card is included with smartphones, tablets, and computers.

With the use of an eSIM (electronic SIM), consumers may change mobile networks without a physical SIM card. Users may temporarily move to a different network, save up to five virtual SIM cards at once, and, while traveling, switch to a local network.

Additionally, eSIMs support multiple SIM cards, enabling customers to have two phone numbers on a single device. Additionally, they take up less actual physical space on the phone, which might allow for a bigger battery or additional functionality. As they cannot be removed from a device, eSIMs may not be as convenient for switching between devices if you are worried about someone following your whereabouts.

Only a small number of contemporary smartphones and wearables, such as Apple’s iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, the new iPhone 12 series, and the iPad Pro, currently contain an eSIM. Although not all networks currently accept eSIMs, they will once this technology becomes widespread. In the UK, eSIMS is now supported in some way by EE, O2, and Vodafone.


Can I convert my SIM to an eSIM?

Yes, you can often turn your actual SIM card into an embedded SIM (eSIM). Nevertheless, this procedure could change based on your cell carrier and the kind of device you use. To find out if your carrier supports eSIM and the precise steps needed to convert, get in touch with them.

Can we add eSIM to the iPhone? 

Yes, an iPhone that supports eSIM technology can be upgraded with an eSIM. Beginning with the iPhone XS and beyond, the majority of contemporary iPhones support eSIM. You must speak with your mobile provider and adhere to their instructions for activating the eSIM on your device in order to add an eSIM to your iPhone.

How do I enable eSIM? 

The general procedures to enable an eSIM on your iPhone are as follows:
The first step is to get in touch with your cell carrier to confirm if they support eSIM and can provide you with an eSIM activation code or QR code.
Get your activation code: The information required to enable the eSIM will be contained in either an activation code or a QR code that you will get from your carrier.
Get to the options: On your iPhone, select “Settings.”
Cellular (or Mobile Data): Click or tap “Cellular” or “Mobile Data” to view the cellular options.
Add Cellular Plan: Locate and touch on an option that says “Add Cellular Plan” or “Add Data Plan.”

Scan the QR code or fill out the information: Use the camera on your iPhone to scan any QR codes you may have. Enter the information asked for when you have an activation code.
The on-screen instructions were as follows: You may complete the activation by following the instructions on your iPhone. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.
Primary or Secondary Setting: Depending on your requirements, you can decide to establish the eSIM as the primary or secondary line for cellular data and calls after activation.

Why doesn’t my iPhone have eSIM? 

If your iPhone lacks eSIM functionality, it’s possible that you have an earlier model that was made before eSIM was widely adopted. The 2018-released iPhone XS and XR devices introduced ESIM functionality. You require a compatible iPhone and a carrier that provides eSIM services in order to utilize eSIM. It’s conceivable that your carrier doesn’t support eSIM or hasn’t made it available for your particular plan or location if you have a newer iPhone model and don’t see the eSIM option. For additional details in such circumstances, you should get in touch with your carrier.