How to Use Dual SIM with eSIM on a New iPhone

Dual SIM is available for everyone rocking an iPhone XS, XR or any other newer model. With eSIM, two SIM cards can be activated from a single iPhone. Not interesting for the home and garden enthusiast but a viable option for business users or people who travel regularly.

What is eSIM?

In short, eSIM is an embedded SIM card in the form of a chip. This provides many benefits not only to Apple but also to us, the consumers. Apple does not need to consider the design of the phone and provide it with a SIM card slot. Not surprisingly, eSIM is not supported by many providers as the consumer’s ability to easily and almost immediately switch providers from home makes them in no hurry to support eSIM. However, this is an over-generalization since you cannot just cancel, transfer and activate a subscription.


eSIM is not the same as Apple SIM, these are special provider-free and physical SIM cards that can be activated to a data-only subscription for some LTE iPads. The SIM card is sold in the majority of Apple stores and it can be activated on your iDevice by entering a special settings menu.

eSIM support for iPhone and iPad

Currently, you can use eSIM on the iPhone XS, XR, iPhone 11 (Pro), iPhone SE 2020, iPhone 12 (Pro) or newer. In addition, most iPads from 2018 or newer have a digital SIM card.

Dual SIM, dual standby

While unveiling the iPhone Xs/Xr, Apple announced Dual-Sim but a unique one. The majority of dual SIM-supporting smartphones can only activate one SIM card at a time. This implies that when one SIM card is activated, you are inaccessible on the other. This is not true for the dual-SIM variant of Apple. The technology is referred to as Dual SIM, dual standby (DSDS) that provides you with the opportunity to receive calls on both numbers and also choose which data plan should use.

Activate and set up eSIM on an iPhone or iPad

It is very easy to activate an eSIM through the Settings app. Navigate to ‘Mobile network’ and click ‘Add mobile subscription’. Finally, scan the QR code provided by your provider using the camera of your iPhone or iPad and type in a confirmation code that comes along with activation. Then you can give a name to each of the connections so that it will be easy for you to differentiate between the two SIM cards.

When the eSIM is activated, you need to specify whether both subscriptions should operate simultaneously. In this way, you can select a value that is always used for iMessage and FaceTime or users who are not in the Contacts app. You can also use only the second number for mobile internet.

Personalize eSIM

Using the contacts app you can also specify which telephone number should be used when calling this person. For instance, you can differentiate all your business and personal contacts, which will immediately connect to the right number in the Contacts app. To learn in detail how it works and what other options are available between these two subscriptions, head to this Apple Support page.

Set the second ringtone for dual SIM

Finally, with the introduction of iOS 17, you can now have a second ringtone for your second phone number. This will ensure that you instantly know which number is calling you. Useful to quickly identify a business dialogue. To achieve this, click Settings ▸ Hearing and Feeling ▸ Ringtone ▸ select the desired song ▸ select the ringtone.

Using data with dual SIM

As it has been stated previously, both telephone numbers remain active when you are using dual-SIM. This enables you to make calls at any time without complications. On the other hand, you use only one number at a time for mobile data. All data traffic therefore passes through a single subscription. Fortunately, you just need to go into the Settings ▸ Mobile network ▸ Mobile data and choose the number of your choice. Kindly note that if you are on a calling number that is not called a data number, then no data can be used during the call.

eSIM on holiday

Are you going abroad soon? You will want to remain online during your trip. However, within the EU you can use your data bundle in an unlimited way without additional charges but outside of that it is a different story. Fortunately, eSIM is the solution.

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