Every day more and more people ask me about eSIM and if it brings any changes to iPhone Unlock as we knew it so far. Let’s find out what this new iPhone feature really is and if these fears are real.
What is eSIM?
Dual SIM Functionality is finally available on the latest iPhone models thanks to eSIM with a twist.
eSIM stands for nothing else than embedded SIM card and gives you the ability to use 2 Mobile Networks with your iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR at the same time as long as it is unlocked. But you won’t find 2 SIM Card slots inside the iPhone, just 1 a usual.
So, eSIM (also know as eUICC: embedded Universal Circuit Card) is an integrated chip inside the iPhone which works as the second SIM Slot or to put it better as a virtual SIM Card. As long as a Carrier supports eSIM, you will just have to give them a call or use an app to install and use their eSIM card.
This means an eSIM is stored digitally in your iPhone and you can install multiple eSIMs but you will be only able to use one at a time.
So, physical SIM cards may be completely replaced in the coming years.
How to use eSIM with iPhone XS, XS Max and XR
First of all, no matter which method you will choose in the end, you will have to update to iOS 12.1 or above.
How to set up eSIM with a QR code
- Go to Settings > Cellular
- Choose Add Cellular Plan
- Scan the QR Code with your iPhone
- Enter an Activation Code if requested
How to set up eSIM with a Mobile Network’s App
- Install the Carrier’s App on your iPhone
- Open the App and purchase an eSIM plan (just follow the app’s directions
How to set up eSIM manually
- Go to Settings > Cellular (or Mobile in some countries)
- Tap Add Cellular Plan
- Tap Enter Details Manually
- Enter the eSIM information which was provided by the Carrier
Whatever method you will choose, don’t forget to label your new eSIM plan in the end because you can customize how they will work together.
Which Mobile Networks support eSIM Technology?
eSIM is still in active development so only a few Wireless Carriers have enabled this feature. According to Apple here is the list with the Mobile Networks which support eSIM Cards.
So, only 10 countries and 15 Wireless Networks give us the ability to use an eSIM card. There is also the last 2 Worldwide service providers which work across 80 countries.
eSIM and iPhone Unlock
Many people fear that Mobile Networks will soon use eSIM Technology to make iPhone Unlock impossible. This is why the U.S. Department of Justice has announced that it is already investigating this issue.
At the moment the SIM Lock and iPhone Unlocking work exactly as before.
In order to use two different Wireless Networks or more, your iPhone must be unlocked. Moreover, if your iPhone is locked to a CDMA-based carrier like Verizon then your second SIM card will not support CDMA but only GSM networks.
So, as long as your iPhone is unlocked you can use any Cellular Network you want. After all, GSMA supports eUICC which means that you can unlock your iPhone as usual. And yes, eSIM won’t relock an unlocked iPhone.