Since 2018, Apple has launched eSIM technology on its iPhones and iPads. In this guide, we’ll tell you how you can configure and set up your iPhone XR, XS, or iPad Pro to enable an eSIM. But let’s begin by explaining what an eSIM is.
What is an eSIM?
An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to activate a cellular data plan from your operator without having to use a traditional chip card.
It relies on a tiny chip inside your Apple device, which is activated once you add a plan.
What is a Dual SIM card
iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max offer a dual SIM, which means that you can use a nano SIM (the classic) and an eSIM (virtual card) on their devices. The same goes for the iPads.
How to set up an eSIM on iPhone (XR, XS, 11, 12, 13)
What do I need?
- An iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR with an iOS12.1 or later installed.
- A QR code or app from an eSIM-compatible carrier.
What do I need to do?
There are four ways to set up and activate your eSIM. Some devices use dual SIM, meaning that you can set up an eSIM as the second SIM associated with your phone.
Let’s take a look at the four different ways you can set up your eSIM on an iPhone or iPad.
Time needed: 2 minutes.
- Scan a QR code (provided by the network operator)
Go to settings, then to Mobile/Cellular data, Add mobile/cellular data plan, scan the QR code, provided by the cellular operator eSIM:
– Open your Camera app and scan your QR code.
– When the Cellular Plan Detected notification appears, tap it.
– Tap Continue.
- Add a cellular data plan from your phone’s Settings
Go to settings, then to Mobile/Cellular data, Add mobile/cellular data plan, scan the QR code, provided by the cellular operator eSIM.
If you are asked for a confirmation code to activate the eSIM, use the one provided by the network operator. If not, please contact their customer support team.
- Use an operator’s app
Go to your operator’s App Store, download it and use it to purchase a cellular data plan.
- Do it manually
Click Enter Manual Details at the bottom of the iPhone screen.
- Using the Double SIM: If you want to use the dual SIM feature, i.e. use two different numbers on the same device, you have to make sure you have an unlocked iPhone (not tied to one network provider) so you can use two numbers from different providers.
- Use multiple eSIMs: you cannot use multiple eSIMs at a time. To change from eSIM you must go to Settings, Mobile/Cellular data, then choose the plan you want to use, click on Activate this line.
- Rename eSIMs: you can rename each eSIM to differentiate them from each other. To change the name, you can go to Settings, Mobile/Cellular data, click on the eSIM, then on the Data plan label and select a new name.
- Delete your eSIM: Just go to Settings, Mobile/Cellular data, click on the plan you want to delete, click on Delete your data plan. Deleting the eSIM from your phone does not necessarily mean that your data plan will be cancelled, so we recommend contacting the data provider first.
You can find more information about Using Dual SIM with an eSIM on Apple’s support page.
How to set up an eSIM on iPad
You must have an iPad that supports eSIM: either an iPad Pro from 2018 onwards or an iPad Air 2019. Your device must be able to use cellular data, not just WiFi.
What do I need?
- An iPad Pro 2018 or later or an iPad Air (always in its WiFi + Cellular options) with an iOS12.1 or later installed.
- A QR code or an app from an eSIM compatible phone operator.
What do I need to do?
Just like with an iPhone, you can just scan a QR code from your carrier, use your carrier’s app on the iPad to set up your eSIM, or do it manually.
Scan a QR code (provided by the operator)
Go to Settings, Mobile/Cellular Data, Add Mobile/Cellular Data Plan, use the iPad to scan the QR code. Here you might also be asked for a confirmation code to activate the eSIM – ask your provider for this information.
Use an operator’s app
Download your provider’s app and use it to buy a data plan.
Do it manually
Go to Settings, Mobile/Cellular Data, and Set Up Mobile/Cellular Data if you are adding a plan for the first time. If you’re adding another plan, go to Settings, Mobile/Cellular data, and Add a new plan.
The next step is to select an operator, if you don’t find the one you want, contact them via their customer service channels. Choose the plan and create an account or add the iPad to an existing plan, then confirm. That’s it!
What you need to know:
- Transfer your plan from one iPad to another: You can move your eSIM plan between iPads by going to Settings, Mobile/Cellular Data, Set Up Mobile/Cellular Data and click the Transfer button and the provider you want to you.
You can find more information about eSIMs and dual SIMs on Apple’s help portal.