A new support document from Apple details all information regarding Dual SIM support for iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. It goes through how to set it up, and when it will be available. The document also walks us through how to set up an eSIM as your primary phone number.
First and foremost, Apple says Dual SIM support will not be available at launch, instead it will ship “with an update to iOS 12 coming later this year.” It’s unclear when that will be, as Apple has also said the same with Group FaceTime. Presumably, we could see both features in an iOS 12.1 or iOS 12.2 update before 2019.
Of course, to use Dual SIM, your iPhone must be unlocked. Otherwise, the second SIM will need to be on the same carrier. Apple also mentions that only one of the two carriers can be CDMA. For example, if your primary SIM is from Verizon, the second one cannot be from Sprint, or Verizon, as the document implies. Also, unless you live in China, one SIM will need to be a physical nano-SIM while the other will be a digital eSIM.
Unlike iPad or Apple Watch, setting up an eSIM for the iPhone will require you to scan a QR code or download the carrier’s app. Apple notes that you will be able to use an eSIM as your primary SIM as well, taking away the hassle and annoyance of a SIM failure.
Setting up an eSIM or a secondary plan is fairly easy. The process is similar to setting up a cellular plan on an iPad.
- Go to Settings > Cellular.
- Tap Add Cellular Plan.
- Use your iPhone to scan the QR code that your carrier provided.
If you are asked to enter a confirmation code to activate the eSIM, enter the number that your carrier provided.
If necessary, you can manually enter your plan information. Tap Enter Details Manually, at the bottom of your iPhone screen.
If you’re asked to download the carrier’s app, simply go to the App Store and download the required app. From there, you’ll be able to purchase the cellular plan directly from the app. Presumably, app-based plans will be most popular with pre-paid carriers.
Interestingly, Apple also says you can store more than one eSIM on the iPhone, but only one eSIM can be used at a time.
You can store more than one eSIM in your iPhone, but you can use only one at a time. You can switch eSIMs by tapping Settings > Cellular > Cellular Plans and tapping the plan you want to use. Then tap Turn On This Line.
Apple also outlines how to manage your Dual SIMs, such as which SIM is your default SIM and if your secondary SIM will only be for data, which is handy for traveling.
You can read more about Dual SIMs, including how to decide which phone number to use when sending a text or making a phone call here.