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How to setup eSIM on your Apple iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR


How to setup eSIM on your Apple iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR

Apple's 2018 iPhones all feature e-SIMs (digital SIM) which enable customers to add a second line of service without using a physical SIM card. This allows owners of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR to easily switch to a local carrier when they travel internationally or have two different plans on the same phone.

Besides China, which is the only country to offer two physical SIMs on their 2018 iPhones, there are only 10 countries that offer eSIM through 14 wireless carriers.

Currently, if you are living in the US, your choices are limited with only Verizon and AT&T offering eSIM capabilities. T-Mobile is expected to enable eSIM support for the iPhone later this year, while Sprint who promises to add eSIM support doesn't have a specific date just yet.

[UPDATE] On Dec 17, 2018, T-Mobile announced that it will be offering iPhone users the option to enable eSIM support. 

There are a few things you have to keep in mind before you setup eSIM on your iPhone. This won't be free service, as you are essentially adding a second line to your iPhone. Also, you will have to be running iOS 12.1.1 or later in order to use this feature. Last but not least, your phone will need to be completely unlocked, or both your SIMs will have to be from the same carrier.


Firstly you will have to purchase your eSIM account from the AT&T website. You will need your device IMEI number, which you can find under Setting > General > About on your iPhone. Scroll to the Digital SIM IMEI, and copy it by tapping and holding.

Once you have purchased your eSIM plan, you need to set up your iPhone for dual SIMs.
  1. Go to Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plan
  2. Scan the QR code from your carrier using your phone.
  3. Look at the bottom of your screen, and tap Enter Details Manually
  4. Select Add Cellular Plan and you will see both your plans displayed
  5. Label them as you wish (for example, 'Home' and 'Work')
  6. Hit Done, and select your default line on the next screen
Keep in mind that while both numbers can be active at the same time, which means you can receive a call on your second line while you are talking on your first one. However, you can only use data on one plan at a time. You can switch to the data plan you want to use by going to  Cellular > Cellular Data > Cellular Data Switching.

For first responders who use AT&T's FirstNet service, the carrier warns that the second SIM may interfere with the first SIM’s connectivity.



Verizon customers can perform the entire process using their My Verizon app on the iPhones. You can download the app directly on your iPhone through the Apple App Store or by using the following link:

Download
Price Free
Requirements iOS 10.0 or greater

Once you have installed the app, Open it and select Join Now and then Get Started. You will have to locate and register your IMEI which you can find under Setting > General > About on your iPhone. Scroll to the Digital SIM IMEI, and copy it by tapping and holding.

Now head back to the My Verizon app, select the field which reads Digital SIM IMEI Number, and past in the IMEI by tapping and holding and selecting Past. Then click Check Eligibility. (Note: Pre-pay plans will not work with the eSIM.)

If you are eligible, you will be led through a series of steps to activate your new service, including selecting a phone number (or porting your number), creating a PIN, and entering your billing information. Once completed, you will receive an email with a QR code. On your iPhone, go to Settings, Cellular, and Add Cellular Plan, and then scan the QR code from the email so you can do the final account setup.



T-Mobile has released a new eSIM app enabling users to add a secondary prepaid line to any unlocked iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR. The new app is available to travelers coming to the US, existing T-Mobile customers, but also to anyone who wants to try the carrier's services.

You can download the T-Mobile eSIM app directly on your iPhone through the Apple App Store or by using the following link

Download
Price Free
Requirements iOS 12.1 or greater

Once you have installed the app, you will need to enter your email and follow the activation steps to select your plan. Also, if you're a T-Mobile customer, you'll have to enter a new email address if it's already connected to a T-Mobile account.

At the moment, T-Mobile offers customers three prepaid plans for eSIM activation, but the carrier said it will soon support postpaid plans with eSIM as well:

  • Tourist Plan with 1000 minutes, unlimited text, and 2GB of LTE data for $30; 21-day expiry;
  • Simply Prepaid with unlimited voice, text, and 10GB of LTE data for $40; 30-day expiry;
  • T-Mobile ONE Prepaid with unlimited voice, text, and data for $70; 30-day expiry.

Keep in mind that you will require an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR in order to use this app.
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