iPhone 14 Handsets In US To Use eSIM: What Is An eSIM? How Does It Differ From Regular SIM Cards?

iPhone 14 Handsets In US To Use eSIM: What Is An eSIM? How Does It Differ From Regular SIM Cards?

Apple announced at the tech giant’s “Far Out” event on Wednesday that the iPhone 14 series will be available without physical SIM trays, but only in the United States. This is because Apple is fully embracing virtually embedded SIM cards, also known as eSIMs, for the US models. The iPhone 14 lineup includes iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. 

However, for the rest of the world, the iPhone series will be equipped with physical SIM trays. This means that they can get new iPhones with a physical SIM tray as well as an eSIM facility. 

People who wish to use two or more SIM cards or connections will have to get multiple eSIMs activated on their devices belonging to the iPhone 14 lineup. 

Gred Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said at the “Far Out” event that both iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have advanced connectivity capabilities with 5G and eSIM. 

Apple wrote in a blog post that “eSIM allows users to easily connect or quickly transfer their existing plans digitally, is a more secure alternative to a physical SIM card, and allows for multiple cellular plans on a singular device.” 

According to Apple, iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus remove the SIM tray for US models. This will enable users to more quickly and easily set up their devices. 

Joswiak said during the event that all the groundbreaking new technologies, tightly integrated with iOS 16, make the iPhone more essential than ever. After upgrading to iOS 16, one can transfer their eSIM between their iPhones via bluetooth. 

In September 2017, tech giant first introduced eSIM on Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular). The GPS + Cellular model allows the user to stay connected to the people and information they care about with just their Apple Watch. 

In September 2018, Apple introduced eSIM support in the tech giant’s iPhone models with the launch of iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. However, these models supported one eSIM and one physical SIM.

Last year’s iPhone 13 series allowed people to use multiple eSIMs on the same device. 

In October 2018, Apple introduced eSIM support on iPad Pro 11-inch (first generation), and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (third generation).

Here is everything one should know about eSIMs in an iPhone:

An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows one to conveniently and securely activate cellular service from their carrier without having to use a physical SIM, according to the official website of Apple. One can install eight or more eSIMs on an iPhone and use two phone numbers at the same time.

Since an eSIM is stored digitally on the iPhone, the risk of physical damage, loss, or theft of the SIM is reduced.  

eSIMs are available only for users of iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, or later devices. People who wish to avail the eSIM service should contact wireless carriers in their country or region that offer cellular plans on an eSIM. These plans could be activated by eSIM Carrier Activation, eSIM Quick Transfer, or other activation methods. 

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Moreover, one needs to connect their new iPhone to a Wi-Fi network. iPhone 14 models that are eSIM only can activate their eSIM support without a Wi-Fi network. This means that for people using US models of the iPhone 14 series, it is not necessary to connect the phone to a Wi-Fi network. 

However, eSIM on the iPhone is not offered in mainland China. Some iPhone models in Hong Kong and Macao feature eSIM support. 

How Is An eSIM Different From A Physical SIM Card?

An eSIM performs a similar role to the traditional SIM card, and controls the authentication and service access for mobile devices.

Unlike a physical SIM card, an eSIM is remotely programmable, and is embedded into the phone’s motherboard.

While a physical SIM card is physically installed into the phone with a carrier’s plan, an eSIM is built-in to the phone and downloads the carrier’s plan indirectly. 

An eSIM is smaller than a physical SIM card, allows extra room for other components, a larger battery, and enables manufacturers to rearrange the internal layout of their devices. 

A regular physical SIM card holds one profile for each customer. Meanwhile, an eSIM holds multiple profiles for the customer. 

eSIMs are rewritable, unlike physical SIM cards. This means that a phone with an eSIM can connect to multiple different carriers, an extremely useful feature for frequent travellers. 

An advantage of an eSIM over a physical SIM card is that the network provider can push an update directly to the phone, when the network adds a new feature. In the past, users may have had to order a new SIM card to avail the feature.

How Can One Set Up An eSIM On Their iPhone?

People can easily set up an eSIM on their new iPhone. If one’s carrier supports eSIM Carrier Activation or eSIM Quick Transfer, they can activate eSIM on their iPhone while setting up the phone. 

eSIM Carrier Activation allows the carrier to assign an eSIM to the iPhone when one purchases the device. Using eSIM Quick Transfer, one can transfer the SIM from their previous iPhone to their new iPhone without contacting the carrier. 

With either method, one must activate the eSIM during setup, turn on their iPhone, and follow certain instructions. 

People can use eSIM Carrier Activation or eSIM Quick Transfer later to add or transfer an eSIM. If the options of eSIM Carrier Activation and eSIM Quick Transfer are not available, one must contact their carrier to activate the eSIM using a QR code or their carrier’s iPhone app.

For people purchasing an iPhone 14 model in the US, the iPhone activates with an eSIM. They can activate the eSIM using eSIM Carrier Activation, eSIM Quick Transfer, or another activation method.

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How To Activate eSIM Using eSIM Carrier Activation

According to Apple, some carriers can assign a new eSIM to one’s iPhone. This makes the set-up easy. 

If one purchases a carrier-connected iPhone from Apple in the US, or buys a carrier-connected iPhone from a carrier and provides their cellular-plan details, the carrier can assign a new eSIM to the iPhone. 

If an eSIM was assigned to one’s iPhone when they bought it, they can turn on their iPhone and follow certain instructions to activate their eSIM.

People switching to iPhone from an Android device, for instance, should contact their carrier to transfer their phone number to the iPhone through eSIM Carrier Activation or by scanning a QR code from their carrier.

If one contacts their carrier for an eSIM after setting up the iPhone, and the carrier sets up eSIM Carrier Activation, the person should follow the following steps:

When a notification appears that says ‘Carrier Cellular Plan Ready to Be Installed’, the person should tap it. One must tap ‘Carrier Cellular Plan Ready to Be Installed’ in the Settings app. Next , the person should tap ‘Continue’ at the bottom of the screen. One should make a call on their iPhone to check its cellular connectivity. If one can’t make a call, they should contact their carrier.  If the plan one activated replaces the plan on their physical SIM, they should remove their physical SIM. Then, they should restart the iPhone.

How To Activate eSIM Using eSIM Quick Transfer

According to Apple, some carriers support SIM transfers from one’s previous iPhone to their new iPhone without needing to contact the carrier. One can also convert their current physical SIM card to an eSIM.

If one does not have access to their current iPhone, they should contact their carrier to transfer the eSIM.

If one is asked to transfer their SIM while setting up their iPhone, they should follow certain instructions to transfer their physical SIM or eSIM. If one needs to transfer more than one SIM to their new iPhone, they should transfer their additional SIMs by following some steps.

Here are the steps one should follow to transfer a physical SIM or eSIM on their previous iPhone to an eSIM on their new iPhone after setup.

On the new iPhone, one should go to Settings. Then, they must tap ‘Circular’. After this, they should choose ‘Add Circular Plan’.  The person must choose a cellular plan to transfer from another device. If one does not see a list of numbers, they should tap ‘Transfer From Another Device’. This can be done if both the devices have iOS 16. In order to confirm the transfer, one should check for instructions from their previous iPhone. To confirm, they should tap ‘Transfer’. If asked for a verification code, they should enter the code that is displayed on the new iPhone.  One should wait for the cellular plan to activate on their new iPhone. A person’s previous SIM card is deactivated when the cellular plan on the new iPhone activates.  If a banner appears on the new iPhone that says ‘Finish Setting Up Your Carrier’s Cellular Plan’, the person must tap it. After this, the person will be redirected to the carrier’s webpage to transfer the eSIM. 

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How To Convert A Physical SIM To An eSIM On The Same iPhone

One can convert a physical SIM to an eSIM on the same iPhone, if their carrier supports it.

Firstly, one must go to Settings, and then tap ‘Cellular’. Then, they should tap ‘Convert to eSIM’. 

If one does not see ‘Convert to eSIM’, it means their carrier does not support the option. They should contact their carrier to move the phone number from the physical SIM card to an eSIM using eSIM Carrier Activation or by scanning a QR code. 

After clicking on ‘Convert to eSIM’, the person should tap ‘Convert Cellular Plan’.

Next, they should click on ‘Convert to eSIM’ and wait for their eSIM to activate. One’s previous SIM card is deactivated when the cellular plan on their iPhone activates. 

How To Scan QR Code From A Carrier To Activate eSIM

If one’s carrier does not support eSIM Quick Transfer, they can scan a QR code from their carrier instead. 

To activate an eSIM while setting up the iPhone, one must get to the ‘Set Up’ Cellular screen. Then, they should tap ‘Use QR Code’. 

One must follow the on-screen instructions. 

If one intends to activate the eSIM after setting up the iPhone, they should contact their carrier to get a QR code. The person should open the Camera app and scan the QR code. When the ‘Cellular Plan Detected’ notification appears, they should tap it. 

After this, the person should tap ‘Continue’ at the bottom of the screen. 

Next, the person should tap ‘Add Cellular Plan’.

If one is asked to enter a confirmation code to activate the eSIM, they should enter the number that their carrier provided. If one’s carrier supports activating eSIM using an app, they should download their carrier’s app from the App Store and follow the necessary instructions. 

How To Enter eSIM Information Manually If Necessary

In order to enter eSIM information manually, one must contact their carrier to get the eSIM details they need to enter. Then, they should go to Settings.

After this, they should tap either ‘Cellular’ or ‘Mobile Data’, followed by ‘Add Cellular Plan’. 

As a result, one will see the option ‘Enter Details Manually’ at the bottom of the iPhone screen. The person should tap that option to manually enter the eSIM information.