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What you need to know about the iPhone's new dual-sim feature

When Apple introduced the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, the corporate introduced that — for the primary time — it will be doable to make use of two telephone numbers on the identical telephone utilizing eSIM know-how.

What’s an eSIM?

An eSIM takes the place of the small plastic SIM card your telephone makes use of now. The benefit of an eSIM is that it is embedded into the telephone, and will be programmed — and reprogrammed — to work with numerous carriers.

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Ultimately, it is sensible for telephone makers and carriers to undertake eSIM know-how as an alternative of getting to handle the plastic SIM playing cards which were a staple of mobile know-how.

Which iPhones assist eSIM?

At the moment, solely the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR assist dual-sim service utilizing an eSIM. iOS 12.1 is required.

In China, Hong Kong, and Macau, Apple launched an iPhone XR and an iPhone XS Max with dual-sim card slots. So, as an alternative of a single SIM card slot, and an eSIM, the 2 units have area for 2 bodily SIM playing cards.

Why add a second quantity?

Including a second telephone quantity to your iPhone will be helpful when touring abroad, the place information roaming charges are too costly. You should purchase a knowledge plan for an area service, add it to your iPhone, however hold entry to your customary telephone quantity for calls and texts.

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One other use case is to have a private telephone quantity and a piece quantity tied to the identical gadget.

Or, relying on the price of including one other line, a second line could possibly be used to assist handle potential dates or Craigslist transactions.

What about carriers?

Proper now, at the very least for these within the US, service assist is the final hurdle. With the discharge of iOS 12.1 to all iPhones worldwide, your telephone is prepared and in a position to work with an eSIM quantity. Nevertheless, Verizon Wi-fi, AT&T, and T-Cellular aren’t quite ready to support the feature.

Here is the present record of carriers that both supply assist proper now, or for the listings with an asterisk, may have assist later this 12 months:


Picture: Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Issues to remember

There are some particulars you will have to navigate with the intention to use the eSIM function:

  • You want an unlocked iPhone to make use of two completely different carriers.
  • In case your essential SIM is for a CDMA service (Verizon or Dash), the second line cannot be a CDMA line.
  • Just one line will be activated with iMessage and FaceTime. The opposite line will nonetheless ship and obtain common textual content and photograph messages.


Once you’re prepared so as to add a second line to your iPhone, you will have to both go to a wi-fi service’s retailer or obtain and set up the service’s app. If you happen to’re touring, it is most likely simpler simply to go to the shop and discuss to a human as an alternative of attempting to navigate by an app which will very properly be in a special language.

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The wi-fi service gives you a card that has a QR Code on it. You will have to go to Settings > Mobile > Add Mobile Plan to scan the code, then comply with the remainder of the prompts to finish setup.

One other technique is to arrange the eSIM utilizing a service’s app, which walks you thru the method. Proper now, Truphone’s app works with the brand new eSIM function and allows you to add a secondary information plan to your telephone.

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