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Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat does iPhone 14 eSIM mean?

What does iPhone 14 eSIM mean?

The upcoming iPhone 14 won’t have a SIM card port in the US. Apple is switching to eSIM. Few iPhone users have switched to eSIM. Apple reveals eSIM support ahead of the September 16 launch of the iPhone 14.

What does iPhone 14 eSIM mean?

Since 2012, iPhones have supported eSIM. Each new iPhone since the iPhone XS supports eSIM. Each iPhone had a tiny SIM card slot. Using an eSIM was optional.

eSIMs, or embedded SIMs, are programmable SIM cards. There’s no SIM card to put in or activate on your iPhone. Instead of you logging in with your carrier, your carrier sets up your iPhone for their network remotely.

After this, your iPhone works like it has a physical SIM card. All iPhone 14 units sold in the US will be eSIM-only. Other models will have a nano-SIM slot.
An Apple official confirmed to The Verge that the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus can accommodate up to six eSIMs. The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max hold eight.

Option 1: Set up iPhone 14 with ‘eSIM Quick Transfer’

Apple supports converting your physical SIM to an eSIM during iPhone 14 setup. It’s possible if you’ve never used an eSIM.

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You’ll be asked to transfer your SIM during setup. This is also how you transfer an old eSIM to your new iPhone 14.

  • Choose a phone plan to transfer. Tap Transfer From Another Device if no numbers appear. This needs iOS 16 on both devices.
  • Check your old iPhone for transfer instructions. To confirm, hit Transfer or, if prompted, input the new iPhone’s verification code.
  • Activate your iPhone’s cellular plan. The new iPhone’s cellular plan deactivates your old SIM card.
  • Tap the Finish Setting Up Your Carrier’s Cellular Plan banner on your new iPhone. You’ll be routed to your carrier’s eSIM page. Call your carrier for help.

Option 2: Use a QR code from your carrier

Apple’s “eSIM Quick Transfer” isn’t supported by all carriers. Activate the eSIM in your iPhone 14 by scanning a QR code from your carrier. On the iPhone 14’s “Set up Cellular” screen, you can utilize a QR code.

This will help you scan your carrier’s QR code to activate your iPhone 14’s eSIM. The QR code method varies by carrier.

Option 3: Convert a physical SIM to an eSIM with your current iPhone

You can convert the physical SIM in your iPhone to an eSIM to get a headstart on the transition. When your new iPhone 14 comes, you can transfer the eSIM.

  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular.
  • Tap Convert to eSIM. If you don’t see this option, you’ll have to contact your carrier.
  • Tap Convert Cellular Plan.
  • Choose Convert to eSIM.
  • Wait for your eSIM to activate. Once this is complete, your previous SIM card is deactivated.
  • Remove the physical SIM and reboot your iPhone.
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Getting to an eSIM in iPhone 14 or future phones

Before the iPhone 14 event, rumors circulated that Apple would prioritize eSIM technology. Apple’s news that it would no longer use real SIM cards surprised many. Steve Jobs never wanted an iPhone SIM tray.

The iPhone 14 eSIM changeover should be similar to a physical SIM, if not better. It won’t be as dramatic as the iPhone 7’s headphone jack elimination. How smoothly does that happen? Apple has described the changeover procedure, but some factors remain.

My main worry is that the iPhone 14 launch day could cause activation troubles for carriers. Changing millions of people to eSIM is likely more difficult than switching SIM cards between iPhones.

Remember plugging iPhones into iTunes to activate them? Apple’s servers may be unstable, but AT&T’s were picky. eSIM provisioning and setups could cause headaches.
Also, this could give carriers additional power. They could impose user-hostile restrictions and make switching to a rival network difficult. “Activation” fees may apply. US carriers are notorious for testing smartphone consumers’ patience, so keep a watch on this.

Even if the move to eSIM has certain speedbumps, (most) users will benefit. Switching carriers should be easier. The iPhone has one fewer port. Setting up a new iPhone doesn’t require a SIM card.

Multiple eSIMs on the iPhone 14 should make international travel easier. Use a carrier that supports eSIMs. This could be a concern for Americans traveling to countries without widespread eSIM technology.

I’m interested in how removing the SIM card tray will affect the iPhone’s design and longevity. The iPhone 7’s removal of the headphone jack led to greater water resistance and the iPhone X’s all-new design.

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