If you have an Apple device and want to set up an eSIM, you’ve come to the right place! Having an iPhone makes it super simple to use eSIM technology. Keep reading for a breakdown of Dual SIM technology, what it means for your device, and how to activate an Airalo eSIM on your iPhone.

What Is Dual SIM Technology?

Dual SIM technology enables you to use an eSIM and physical SIM simultaneously on your smartphone. They’re ideal if you have a personal and work number or travel frequently and want to switch between local data plans. 

In some cases, Dual SIM means you can use two physical SIM cards simultaneously. In others, you can use a physical SIM card and an eSIM on the same device. Some phones will even allow you to store multiple eSIMs at once.

How Does Dual SIM Work on iPhone?

All Apple phones since the 2018 release of the iPhone XR use Dual SIM technology.* This means they allow you to use a physical nano-SIM and an eSIM simultaneously, making it easy to switch between data plans.

Here are a few ways to make the most of Apple Dual SIM:

  • Use separate voice and data plans (use your nano-SIM for calling and texting and your eSIM to access data)
  • Set up a local data plan when you travel outside of your country or carrier region
  • Maintain one number for personal calls and another for business calls (we love a good work-life balance!)

Remember, you must have an unlocked phone to use data plans from two carriers. If your phone is locked, you’ll need to ensure that both plans are from the same carrier for Dual SIM to work.

*Note: Some iPhones in countries outside the United States are incompatible with eSIM.

How To Set Up an eSIM on Your iPhone

Ready to get started? Here’s how to set up an eSIM on your iPhone:

eSIM with iPhone 13

We have another guide to help you set up an eSIM on iPhone 13. Not to worry — it’s just as simple to follow!

eSIM with iPhone 11 

The iPhone 11 has a nano-SIM with a built-in eSIM. It doesn't support a micro-SIM card.

Follow these steps to set up an eSIM on iPhone 11:

  • Get an eSIM plan from a participating provider (like Airalo!)
  • Open the Settings app on your home screen
  • Select “Cellular” and then tap “Add Cellular Plan” 
  • Scan the QR provided by your carrier or “Enter Details Manually,” depending on which plan you have
  • Tap “Continue” and set up a label to identify the line
  • Select a default line for personal calls and messages that are not in your contact list
  • Tap “Done” to finish

eSIM with iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone 11 Pro has a nano-SIM with a built-in eSIM. It doesn't support a micro-SIM card.

Follow these steps to set up an eSIM on iPhone 11 Pro:

  • Get an eSIM plan from a participating provider 
  • Have the QR code provided by your eSIM carrier ready
  • Open the Settings app on your home screen
  • Select “Cellular” and then tap “Add Cellular Plan”
  • Scan the QR code you received from your provider
  • If prompted, enter an activation code provided by your carrier
  • Label the line for easier identification
  • Select a default line, which controls calls or messages from numbers that aren’t in your contacts
  • Tap “Done” to finish

eSIM with iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a nano-SIM with a built-in eSIM. It doesn't support a micro-SIM card.

Follow these steps to set up an eSIM on iPhone 11 Pro Max:

  • Get an eSIM plan from a participating provider 
  • Have the QR code provided by your eSIM carrier ready
  • Open the Settings app on your home screen
  • Select “Cellular” and then tap “Add Cellular Plan”
  • Scan the QR code you received from your provider
  • If prompted, enter an activation code provided by your carrier
  • Label the line for easier identification
  • Select a default line, which controls calls or messages from numbers that aren’t in your contacts
  • Tap “Done” to finish

eSIM with iPhone XS

The iPhone XS has a nano-SIM with a built-in eSIM. It doesn't support a micro-SIM card.

Follow these steps to set up an eSIM on iPhone XS:

  • Get an eSIM plan from a participating provider 
  • Open your Camera app and scan the QR code provided by your carrier
  • Select the “Cellular Plan Detected” notification when it appears
  • Click “Continue” and then “Add Cellular Plan” 
  • If prompted, enter an activation code provided by your carrier
  • If your carrier provided a data plan to install, a notification saying “Carrier Cellular Plan Ready to Be Installed” will pop up. Tap the notification once and then again in the Settings app. Finish by selecting “Continue” at the bottom of your mobile screen. 
  • If your carrier did not provide a cellular plan, you can visit the App store, download the carrier’s app, and purchase one
  • You may need to manually enter the plan information into your phone to activate it. To do so, go to “Settings” and select “Cellular or Mobile Data.” Select “Add Cellular Plan” and tap “Enter Details Manually.”
  • If you’re switching SIMs, select “Settings” and “Cellular or Mobile Data.” Select the plan you wish to use and tap “Turn On This Line.”

eSIM with iPhone XS Max

The iPhone XS Max has a nano-SIM with a built-in eSIM. It doesn't support a micro-SIM card.

Follow these steps to set up an eSIM on iPhone XS Max:

  • Get an eSIM plan from a participating provider 
  • Open your Camera app and scan the QR code provided by your carrier
  • Select the “Cellular Plan Detected” notification when it appears
  • Scan the mobile-provided QR code with your mobile camera and select “Cellular Plan Detected.”
  • Tap “Continue” and tap again on “Add Cellular Plan.”
  • Click “Continue” and then “Add Cellular Plan” 
  • If prompted, enter an activation code provided by your carrier
  • Label the line for easier identification
  • Select a default line, which controls calls or messages from numbers that aren’t in your contacts

eSIM with iPhone XR

The iPhone XR has a nano-SIM with a built-in eSIM. It doesn't support a micro-SIM card.

Follow these steps to set up an eSIM on iPhone XS Max:

  • Make sure the iPhone XR is running iOS 12.1.1 or later and is unlocked; otherwise, your carrier must provide both cards.
  • Get an eSIM plan from a participating provider 
  • Open the Settings app on your home screen
  • Tap “Add Cellular Plan” or scan the QR code provided by your carrier
  • If prompted, enter an activation code provided by your carrier
  • Label the line for easier identification
  • Select a default line, which controls calls or messages from numbers that aren’t in your contacts

eSIM with iPad Air, Pro, or Mini

If you set up a mobile plan with your carrier, your iPad should be activated and ready to use an eSIM. 

Follow these steps to set up an eSIM on iPad Air, Pro, or Mini:

  • Get an eSIM plan from a participating provider 
  • Open the Settings app on your home screen
  • Select “Cellular Data” then “Set Up Cellular Data
  • Set up line description labels
  • Select “Add a New Plan” if you have an existing line
  • Once you establish the new line, add it to your current plan or create a new one

How great is it that Apple integrates eSIM support for almost all their devices? Now you can easily stay connected wherever you are in the world. Get started with an Airalo eSIM!