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How to activate an eSIM for iPhone

How to activate an eSIM for iPhone
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An embedded SIM is an industry-backed digital version of the physical SIM card needed to connect a mobile device to a network provider.

The technology can currently be found in many flagship smartphones, including all iPhones since 2018, and is expected to expand rapidly in the coming decade.

In this article, we look at how to activate an eSIM for iPhone.

Why eSIMs have gained strength on iPhone

An eSIM chip is a fraction of the size of a physical SIM card, yet is capable of storing multiple cellphone plans, offers improved security and can be easily installed and activated by end users.

Apple debuted eSIM technology in 2017's Watch Series 3, and included both a physical nano-SIM and eSIM in the following year's iPhone XS, XS Max and XR handsets. That dual-SIM formula was repeated for subsequent iPhone releases until this year's iPhone 14 models in the US.

How eSIM works on an iPhone

An eSIM is embedded directly into a device's hardware and, unlike a nano-SIM, there's no risk of physical damage, loss or theft. Information stored on an eSIM is backed up to the cloud. And users no longer have to wait for cards to be mailed out when switching networks.

At least eight eSIM cellphone plans can be installed on all iPhones launched since 2018, meaning the technology is particularly useful for travelers abroad – with international eSIMs from Holafly, you can have reliable and fast data in more than 164 countries.

And how should you activate your eSIM in iPhone?

To set up an eSIM for iPhone, you'll need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network. If your carrier has a mobile app for activating an eSIM, you'll need to install it and follow the onscreen instructions.

Otherwise, go to Settings, tap on Cellular or Mobile Data and select Add Cellular/Mobile Data Plan. You can then manually enter information provided by a carrier at the bottom of the screen.

An international eSIM from Holafly makes things even easier. Upon purchase you'll be sent an email containing a QR code, which is scanned using the iPhone's camera from the Add Cellular/Mobile Data Plan screen.

Holafly Tutorial: How can I install and activate the eSIM on my iPhone?

What's new with the iPhone 14?

With the launch of the iPhone 14 models in September, Apple opted to allow users to more quickly and easily set up their devices by making nano-SIM installation a thing of the past and removing the card tray altogether in US models.

Which iPhones are compatible with eSIM?

  • iPhone XS, XS Max, XR
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd editions)
  • iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro, 14 Pro Max

So, is this the end of SIM cards?

The move by Apple to remove physical SIMs from the latest iPhones in the US could speed up more widespread eSIM adoption, particularly as users discover how quick and easy it is to install and activate cellphone plans both at home and abroad. Join the new wave.