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eSIM Guide for iPhones

eSIM for Beginners: 5 Essential Things to Know

When you think of eSIM, what comes to mind? Brand new technology or difficult roaming options? eSIM technology has been around for over ten years, although it has only been widely adopted by most smartphones in the last five years. If you’re considering using a traveler’s eSIM for the first time, you might be wondering about using eSIM and how the eSIM experience differs from using a traditional SIM card. Here’s a spoiler alert: using eSIM is actually better. eSIM for Beginners

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Also, you might be worried by thinking of random questions like “How long does it take for eSIM to activate?”, “How can I check if my phone is unlocked?”, “Can I use a hotspot with eSIM?” and so on.

To help you understand eSIM better, we’ll address five frequently asked questions about eSIM. These questions will give you an idea of what to expect when you switch to eSIM from the traditional SIM cards you’ve been accustomed to for years. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the five most commonly asked questions about eSIM. Make sure you read until the end.

How long does it take for eSIM to activate?

After installing eSIM on your device, the activation process will usually take less than 3 minutes. Sometimes, your eSIM will get activated as soon as you install it. However, there are some rare cases where the status shows as “Activating” for a brief period. In such cases, the eSIM will automatically activate when you reach your destination or establish a connection to the network. Ensure to connect your phone to a reliable WiFi network for quick activation.

The activation process for eSIM involves a few steps. Follow these steps to activate your eSIM:
  • Obtain an eSIM QR code or activation code from your mobile service provider.
  • After obtaining the code, go to your device’s Settings, navigate to the mobile data or cellular network, and navigate to the eSIM section.
  • Choose the option to add a new eSIM and scan the QR code, or manually enter the activation code when prompted. After entering the code or scanning the QR code, your device will initiate the activation process, typically taking less than 3 minutes. After activating the eSIM, you can use it immediately for data and other mobile network services.

How can I check if my phone is unlocked?

Before trying to install eSIM on your phone, you need to make sure it is not locked to a specific network. An unlocked iPhone or Android device allows you to switch between networks without restrictions. To check if your device is unlocked, open settings and go to the “Mobile or Cellular” network section. Within this section, you will be able to enable mobile data using any of the activated SIMs.

You will also see the option to enter or change APN settings. If these options are available, it indicates that your phone is likely unlocked. Another method is to dial the code *#06# on your phone’s dialer. This will display your device’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. If you see two IMEI numbers, your phone supports dual SIM functionality, which suggests that it is likely an unlocked iPhone or Android device.

Can I use a hotspot with eSIM? eSIM for Beginners

Yes, you can use a hotspot with eSIM as your primary cellular connection to connect to other devices like your laptop. Many smartphones that support eSIM functionality also offer the ability to create a hotspot, allowing you to share your mobile data connection with other devices like your laptop. Please note that some providers may require you to enter APN details before using the hotspot functionality.

However, you must be aware that using a hotspot for extended periods can drain data quickly and impact your phone’s internet speed. Besides draining your data, using a hotspot can also lead to faster battery drain, affecting the long-term durability of the battery.

Which SIM profile should be the Primary Line?

Most phones that support eSIM have dual-SIM functionality, which allows you to use either two eSIM profiles or one eSIM profile and a physical SIM card. For easy identification, we recommend keeping your original SIM card as the Primary Line and labeling the traveler eSIM as the Secondary or Travel Line.

In addition to labeling the primary and secondary lines, you can also configure the settings for each line. For instance, you can designate one line as the default for voice calls and text messages, while the other line can be assigned for cellular data usage. However, if no changes are made to the SIM settings, your phone will automatically use the primary SIM as the default.

If I connect to WiFi, will eSIM be automatically turned off?

The simple answer is no; connecting to WiFi doesn’t automatically turn off the eSIM. Your eSIM will remain active unless you manually disable or delete it from your device. However, when you connect to a WiFi network, your device will prioritize using the WiFi connection for data transmission over your eSIM. However, it will still be available for other mobile network functionalities like text messages and calls.

The interaction between eSIM and WiFi connectivity allows you to enjoy both benefits simultaneously. While connected to WiFi, you can continue to receive calls and text messages on any of the eSIMs on your device. Moreover, your phone will seamlessly switch back to using the eSIM for data services, particularly in areas with limited or no WiFi coverage.

Conclusion eSIM for Beginners

We have thoroughly addressed five of the most common concerns that travelers have about eSIM. Understanding the activation process, the importance of having an unlocked phone, the feasibility of using hotspots, and the interaction between eSIM and other connectivity options can significantly enhance your eSIM experience on your next trip.

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