The term eSIM stands for embedded SIM, which is a small chip that is integrated into the device’s hardware. Instead of using a physical SIM card, the eSIM can be programmed remotely with carrier information to provide cellular service.

On iPhone, the eSIM function works alongside with the traditional physical SIM card, allowing users to have two active phone numbers on their device. This means that you can use your eSIM as your primary number but still keep your physical SIM card as a backup or for secondary usage.

What is an eSIM and how does it work on iPhone?

Which iPhone models support eSIM?

Starting from iPhone XS, all iPhone models released after this version come with eSIM capabilities. Specifically, here are the supported iPhone models:

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14 mini
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max

How to activate eSIM on iPhone?

To activate eSIM on iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Check with your carrier if they support eSIM activation.
  2. Purchase an eSIM plan or request one from your carrier.
  3. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plan.
  4. Use your iPhone’s camera to scan the QR code provided by your carrier or enter the details manually.
  5. Follow the instructions to set up the eSIM plan.

Once the eSIM is activated, your iPhone will show two separate lines in the Cellular settings menu, one for the eSIM and another for the physical SIM card.

Can I use eSIM and physical SIM simultaneously on iPhone?

Yes, iPhone models that support eSIM can use both eSIM and physical SIM simultaneously. This allows you to have two active phone numbers on your device, which can be useful when traveling abroad or for business purposes. You can choose to make calls or send texts from either line, and you can switch between them as needed.

What are the benefits of using eSIM on iPhone?

There are several benefits to using eSIM on iPhone:

  • Convenience: With eSIM, you don’t need to physically swap out SIM cards when changing carriers or plans. All you need is to activate a new eSIM plan and you’re good to go.
  • Dual lines: As mentioned earlier, you can have two active phone numbers on one device, which can be especially useful for people who travel frequently or have business-related needs.
  • More space: Since eSIM is embedded in the device’s hardware, it frees up space inside the phone for other components or features, such as bigger batteries or larger screens.
  • Security: eSIM profiles can be encrypted, making them more secure than physical SIM cards that can be easily swapped or stolen.
  • Environmental friendliness: eSIM eliminates the need for plastic SIM cards that contribute to electronic waste.

How to add or remove an eSIM plan on iPhone?

To add or remove an eSIM plan on iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Cellular.
  2. Tap on the desired line (eSIM or physical SIM) that you want to manage.
  3. Under Cellular Plans, tap Add a New Plan to add a new eSIM plan or Remove Plan to delete an existing one.

Is eSIM available in all countries and regions?

While eSIM technology is becoming more popular around the world, not all countries and regions support it yet. However, many major carriers in North America, Europe, and Asia offer eSIM plans, so check with your carrier to see if eSIM is available in your area.

What are the differences between eSIM and physical SIM?

Here are some key differences between eSIM and physical SIM:

  • Physical SIM cards can be removed and swapped, while eSIM is embedded in the device’s hardware and cannot be physically removed.
  • eSIM can store multiple carrier profiles, while a physical SIM card can only store one.
  • Activation of eSIM can be done remotely, while physical SIM cards require manual swapping or activation.
  • eSIM profiles can be encrypted for added security, while physical SIM cards can be easily swapped or stolen.

How to troubleshoot eSIM issues on iPhone?

If you’re experiencing issues with your eSIM on iPhone, try these troubleshooting steps:

  • Check if your carrier supports eSIM activation and if the eSIM plan is properly activated.
  • Restart your iPhone and try again to add or remove the eSIM plan.
  • Reset the network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
  • Update your iPhone to the latest software version by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Remove the eSIM profile and set it up again.

If none of these steps work, contact your carrier for further assistance or visit an Apple store for help.

What types of eSIM plans are available for iPhone users?

The type of eSIM plans available to iPhone users depends on the carrier and region. However, most carriers offer the same types of plans for both eSIM and physical SIM cards, including:

  • Prepaid plans: These plans allow users to pay for a certain amount of data, talk, and text messages upfront and use them until they run out.
  • Postpaid plans: These plans require users to sign up for a contract and pay a monthly fee for a certain amount of data, talk, and text messages.
  • International roaming plans: These plans allow users to use their phones while traveling abroad without incurring high international roaming charges.

Some carriers also offer specialized eSIM plans, such as data-only plans for tablets or smartwatches, or IoT (Internet of Things) plans for smart home devices.


In conclusion, eSIM is an innovative technology that allows iPhone users to activate cellular service remotely without the need for a physical SIM card. Not only does it provide convenience and flexibility, but it also offers added security and environmental friendliness. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily activate, manage, and troubleshoot your eSIM plan on iPhone. With more carriers around the world adopting eSIM technology, we can expect to see even more benefits and features in the future.