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eSIM transfer between iPhone and Android: what you need to know

Switching from one phone to another requires us to migrate our data. Learn what you need and how to transfer eSIM between Android and iPhone

Leoneska R.

October 3, 2023

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More and more devices are compatible with virtual SIM cards, and it is only a matter of time before this technology becomes the new normal. This is why it is essential to know how to transfer our service between iPhone and Android whenever necessary. Unlike traditional SIM cards, these do not require physical installation, so we must consider compatibility to make eSIM transfer between operating systems

We will explain what you need to know before transferring, how to move between iPhone and Android, troubleshooting common problems, and additional information. Virtual SIM cards are here to stay; with this guide, you will have no issues switching phones!

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How do I know if I can transfer my eSIM between iPhone and Android?

Before transferring, you must confirm the new phone has digital SIM card support. For this, you can use Holafly’s list of supported devices and confirm it in your phone’s settings. If the new phone is an iPhone, then go to:

Settings > General > About and look for the “eSIM” line. If you see this line, then your iPhone supports this technology. 

esim iphone 13
eSIM transfer between phones. Source: Freepik.

On the other hand, when your new phone is Android, it can vary a bit between brands due to customization layers. A general idea in this case is to go to:

Settings > Network & internet > Mobile network and look for the “Add mobile plan” option.

If you see this option, then your Android phone supports this technology.

After that, you should also confirm if your eSIM provider allows the service transfer. In some cases, the installation must be done by them. It also happens that the installation QR can only be used once. In any of the cases, to avoid problems, use the customer service channels and check if the transfer can be done.

What do I need to transfer my eSIM between iPhone and Android?

To make the transfer, you must consider and confirm some requirements. We have advanced some of them, but to have the complete vision, we leave you a list to review before doing it

  • Both phones must support virtual SIM cards.
  • Your carrier must support digital SIM card transfer.
  • You may need to contact your carrier for an eSIM QR code or transfer code.
  • You will need to have a Wi-Fi connection on both phones

Steps to transfer an eSIM from iPhone to Android

No direct application or similar function allows us to transfer the service between iPhone and Android devices. For this reason, our alternative is to remove the embedded SIM card and install it on the new phone. Always check with your operator if the process can be done by yourself if they must do it, or if it is unavailable. In any case, to do it yourself, you must follow these steps.

  1. Deactivate the virtual SIM card on your iPhone. Go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Plans and tap the red minus button beside your eSIM plan.
  2. Contact your carrier to get an eSIM QR code. You can do this online, with an App, or by calling customer service.
  3. Scan the eSIM QR code on your Android phone. Go to Settings > Network & internet > Mobile network > Advanced > Add eSIM and select “Scan QR code.”
  4. Activate the virtual SIM on your Android phone. Follow the on-screen instructions to activate your eSIM plan.

Steps to transfer an eSIM from Android to iPhone

The same happens if we want to do it from Android to iPhone. There is no application or direct function for this. If you confirm the requirements, you can perform this process to transfer it, which, in summary, are the above steps but in reverse.

  1. Deactivate the embedded SIM on your Android phone. Go to Settings > Network & internet > Mobile network > Advanced > eSIM and tap Deactivate, delete, or similar. 
  2. Contact your carrier to get an eSIM QR or transfer code. You can do this online, with an App, or by calling customer service.
  3. Go to Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plan on your iPhone.
  4. Enter the eSIM QR or transfer code from your carrier.
  5. Wait for the eSIM to activate on your iPhone.

Troubleshooting common digital SIM card transfer problems

If you have any of these problems when transferring your service, don’t worry, the solution is almost always simple. Sometimes, you will need to ask your eSIM provider for help. There are always customer support channels available.  Some common problems we may encounter are

I can’t scan the eSIM QR code Make sure that the QR code is displayed clearly and that the camera on your phone is clean. You can also try using a different QR code scanner app.

I get an error message when I try to activate the eSIM – Make sure that you have entered the correct eSIM QR code or transfer code. You can also try restarting both phones. If you are still having problems, contact your carrier customer support.

I can’t make or receive calls or text messages after transferring the eSIM – Ensure that the eSIM has been activated on your new phone. Also, confirm that you have selected the eSIM as primary in case you have an additional SIM card. You can also try restarting your phone. If you are still having problems, contact your carrier customer support.

>You might want to know how to transfer your eSIM between Android devices<

Additional information about virtual SIM card transfers 

In addition to the eSIM transfer between devices and some of the problems you may encounter, we would like to provide you with additional important information. It is expected that virtual SIM cards will continue to develop and that there will be more straightforward options for transferring your service. This technology is more versatile and will undoubtedly have more benefits.

  • When you lose your eSIM, you can contact your carrier to get a replacement.
  • You can manage multiple eSIMs on your phone by going to your phone’s settings and looking for the eSIM section.
  • eSIM technology is still in its early stages, but it is becoming increasingly popular. As more and more carriers and phone manufacturers adopt eSIM, transferring your eSIM to a new phone will become even more accessible and convenient.

FAQ about eSIM transfer between iPhone and Android

Can I transfer a physical SIM to an eSIM?

You should check with your carrier or provider to see if you can transfer your data plan from a physical SIM to an eSIM. Many offer this transfer option, and you can even do it remotely from a website or App. Also, in some cases, you must go to a physical location to have the carrier’s staff do it. You may have to pay a fee for the transfer, but this depends on the provider.

Can I transfer an eSIM to a new phone if I don’t have the old phone?

In the first instance, it is not possible. You must remove the eSIM on your old phone before transferring it to the new one. Some operators allow you to remove the plan remotely, but it is usually troublesome. In this case, purchasing a new virtual SIM card is best.

Can I transfer an eSIM without the QR code?

Yes, you can do a manual installation by entering the detailed eSIM information you can request from the carrier. This usually requires having the SM-DP + Address and entering the correct format and information. If it is inaccurate, the eSIM may not install, and you must repeat the process.

How can I transfer my eSIM if the operator does not support this?

In this case, you will not be able to transfer the eSIM. Some operators and providers allow you to install the service on a single device. The alternative is to buy a new service. You can use the Holafly online store that offers eSIM for more than 160 destinations worldwide.