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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to set up eSIM on the Apple iPhone XR and XS

How to set up eSIM on the Apple iPhone XR and XS



Sometimes a single phone number is not enough – for example, if you need to go abroad or need separate business and personal numbers, two is definitely better than one. Until recently, you were out of luck, unless your phone could accept two SIM cards. However, Apple has now made it possible for owners of an iPhone XR, iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max to add a second service line by using an eSIM (or a digital SIM card), eliminating the need for a physical SIM card.

This way, you can easily add a local airline when traveling internationally. You can even have two different plans on the same phone ̵

1; for voice and message and data, for example. Currently, the selection of carriers in the US is somewhat limited: Only Verizon and AT & T provide eSIM capabilities. T-Mobile will be available later this year.

If you're adding an eSIM to your iPhone and are either a client of one of these two airlines (or willing to become one), follow these steps.

A few things to consider before you start. First, this is not a free service – you buy a second line with all the associated costs. Your phone must also be running iOS 12.1.1 or later. And if you want to have plans from two different network operators, your phone must be unlocked. Otherwise, both SIM cards must be from the same network operator.


Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

First, you must purchase a new eSIM account through the AT & T website, the IMEI number of your device (the unique number that identifies your particular phone). To find it, tap Settings, General and then About.

After purchasing the eSIM plan, you want to set up your phone for two SIM cards.

Go to Settings, Add Mobile and Cell Plan. Scan the QR code from your wireless service provider with your phone. Then look at the bottom of the screen and touch Enter details manually. Select "Add mobile plan" and you will see both your previous plan and the new plan. You can label them as you like (eg "personal" and "work"). Click "Done" and on the next screen select which line you want to set as default.

Note that both phone numbers can be active at the same time (so you can make a call on one call and receive one call from the other), you can only use one data plan at a time. To switch to the data plan you are using, go to the Cellular menu, select Cellular Data and then Cellular Data Switching.

If you use FirstNet, AT & T's first responder service is AT & T's second SIM card may affect the connectivity of the first SIM card.


Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

If you use Verizon, you can do the whole thing with the My Verizon app. Open the app and tap Join Now and then Get started.

The next step in the process is to find and register your IMEI by clicking Settings, then General, then About. Scroll to the IMEI of the digital SIM card and copy it by tapping and holding.

You have the number. Now you need to go back to your My Verizon app, tap the box with the IMEI number of Digital SIM, insert the IMEI by tapping and holding and then clicking Check permission. (Note: pre-pay plans do not work with eSIM.)

If you assume that you are eligible, you will receive a series of screens that will guide you through the activation of your new service, including selecting a phone number (if you are coming from another service, you can submit your existing number), create a PIN and – oh yes – enter your billing information. Once this is done, you will receive an e-mail with a QR code. On your iPhone, go to "Settings," "Mobile," and "Add a mobile plan," and then scan the QR code in the email to finalize the account setup.

Phew! Done. Congratulations, you now have two phone numbers (and two data plans) on the same iPhone.


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