Your days with a physical SIM card are numbered—that is, if you’re planning on getting your hands on the just-released iPhone 14 series. Apple has released the eSIM-only iPhone 14 models in the US, eliminating physical SIM cards altogether.
While eSIM isn’t a new concept, Apple is going against the grain by not including a SIM tray in new iPhones.
This caused a lot of concern from people who said it would be difficult to use the new phones when traveling to developing countries. Apple has since published a support document (will open in a new tab) which highlights the different use cases for eSIM on the new iPhones.
eSIM is an embedded SIM card that can be programmed electronically. This is a safer way to turn on the carrier on the phone as it cannot be lost or stolen. It also eliminates the need to purchase, carry, and change physical SIM cards. Apple introduced eSIM with the iPhone XS, and every iPhone model has supported a digital SIM since then. Many of the best Android phones have had eSIM capabilities for years.
Apple allows you to store up to 8 eSIMs and use two numbers at the same time (dual SIM version of the eSIM). We recently discovered that traveling with an eSIM (even on an iPhone XR) is not a problem as there are many different carriers that offer good data plans for international calls and data.
The good news for US users is that some of the best carriers in the country offer eSIM and it’s very easy to set up. So, if you’re in the US and just got yourself a brand new iPhone 14, here’s how you can set up an eSIM on it.
eSIM Hot Activation on iPhone 14
Installing a SIM card might seem like a complicated process, but Apple has made it pretty easy, with on-screen instructions that do most of the setup for you. There are different ways to add or enable any carrier eSIM on your new iPhone.
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
If you bought an eSIM online and need to activate it, you can do it manually by tapping Settings > Mobile Data > Add Data Plan.
You’ll see a screen that says “Set up Mobile Service” and will give you two options: transfer from a nearby iPhone or use a QR code. Scanning a QR code will guide you through a quick eSIM setup process.
(Image credit: Future)
You can also directly scan the QR code to enable the eSIM without going into settings.
Most carriers send push notifications after scanning a QR code, which then guides you through the rest of the steps. You can also use your carrier’s mobile app, which will also guide you through the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process.
Transferring an eSIM or physical SIM card
You’ll most likely want to transfer your existing number to the new iPhone 14. Luckily, there’s a quick way to do this using a feature in iOS 16. The new eSIM setup option in iOS 16 is called eSIM Quick Transfer, which allows users to transfer their previous iPhone SIM card (whether physical or eSIM) to eSIM on the new iPhone 14.
This is one of the easiest ways to transfer SIM cards if you’re upgrading from a previous iPhone. The only catch is that both iPhones must be running iOS 16.
For a quick transfer, open the Settings app, tap Mobile Data, then tap Add Data Plan.
Now select a data plan for transferring data from another device. If you don’t see the list of numbers, click “Transfer from another device”. Your previous iPhone must confirm the transfer and may ask you to enter a verification number on the new iPhone.
(Image credit: Apple)
Your mobile data plan should automatically activate on your new device. Apple says, “Your previous SIM is deactivated when you activate your mobile data plan on your new iPhone.”
To continue setting up your new eSIM for voice and text, click Finish setting up your network provider’s plan, which should appear as a banner. You will be taken to the carrier’s website for eSIM transfer.
How to activate eSIM through carriers
If you want to set up a new number on your iPhone 14 then this is the way to go.
Most of the leading carriers provide eSIMs, some of which have the same plans as physical SIMs. Here’s how to set up an eSIM from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile on your new iPhone 14. There are other carriers like Mint Mobile that also provide eSIM, we’ll focus on those three carriers in this guide.
Please note that if you encounter any issues while setting up your eSIM, your best bet is to call your carrier to complete the setup.
- Sign in to your AT&T account (will open in a new tab)
- Click “My Devices”
- Find your iPhone 14 or whatever phone you’re setting up and click Manage.
- Clicking on “Options and Settings”
- From here, you can click “Get a new eSIM”.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the setup.
- Sign in to the Verizon app or website.
- Find the device you want to use eSIM on and set up your eSIM profile.
- You can also scan the QR code to activate the eSIM.
- Sign in to your T-Mobile account on the app or website.
- Find your device where you want to install the eSIM and select a phone number.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to set up your new eSIM.
- You can also use the QR code to activate the eSIM.
If you’re considering buying a new iPhone, you can check out our iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro reviews. You can also check out our best iPhone 14 deals for some of the best deals on new phones.
Today’s Best Apple iPhone 14 Deals