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Can my eSIM QR code be reused?

No, they are usually one-time use.

· 3 min read

In recent years, eSIMs have become an increasingly popular option among many travelers due to the convenience it offers. With eSIMs, travelers no longer have to queue up for a physical SIM nor meddle with their device's SIM tray - they can simply download their eSIM profile and install their eSIM just by scanning a QR code. If you are new to eSIMs, you might be wondering if this QR code can be reused, and if the ease of installing the eSIM also means someone can easily take over your eSIM. The short answer is no, but let's take a look at the why and how.

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What is this QR code that is associated with the eSIM?

Depending on your provider, there are many ways that you can install an eSIM. But one of the most common methods of installing an eSIM requires you to scan a QR code.

Before you scan the QR code, you might be wondering what this QR code includes and whether it is safe to simply scan the code.

The QR code that is sent to you often contains the information of your eSIM profile. In other words, this QR code that is associated to your eSIM contains the information necessary to allow your device to authenticate and connect to the network.

When you scan the QR code, what essentially happens is that your eSIM profile will get downloaded and installed to your device - this is similar to the act of inserting a SIM card into your device's SIM tray.

Can the QR code be reused?

So, if the QR code contains all the information related to your eSIM profile, you might be wondering what happens if this QR code lands in the wrong hands. Does it mean that if the person scans the QR code, they will also be able to use your line? And will you then get ejected from using your own plan?

The good news is that the QR code that is sent to you is often a one-time use; and eSIMs cannot be easily transferred across devices just by scanning that same QR code.

If the QR code that has been sent to you has been scanned before (by you), another user who attempts to scan that same QR code will not be able to install the eSIM on their device. So, you don't exactly have to be worried about getting 'kicked out' of your own line because someone else got hold of your QR code.

The same way, if your QR code lands on the wrong hands even before you scan it, and the user actually installs it before you do - then you wouldn't be able to scan the QR code and install the eSIM on your device.

It is thus recommended that you install your eSIM on your device as soon as you can. And if you can't, remember to keep your eSIM details and the installation QR code safe. In case you are wondering, installing your eSIM does not automatically activate it — do check the details of the plan that you purchased to check the instructions for eSIM activation.

If a QR code cannot be reused, what happens if I want to change phones?

In the case of physical SIM cards, it is easy for you to change devices - simply remove your SIM card from one phone, and insert it into the other.

With eSIMs, it usually isn't that straightforward.

Travel eSIMs (and tourist eSIMs) are often one-time use, meaning once you have installed it on one device, it can no longer be installed on any other devices. So, if you were to change phones, you'll likely need to get a new eSIM.

If you are using a fixed phone line, check with your carrier to confirm what needs to be done if you want to change phones. The latest versions of iOS and Android support eSIM transfer between devices, but it is important to check with your carrier to confirm that this is also supported by them.

Note: Nomad's travel eSIMs CANNOT be transferred across devices.

Get a Nomad travel eSIM for your next trip

Nomad offers data plans in over 170 countries, and you can be sure to find one that is suitable for your travel needs. And if you will be traveling across multiple countries, there are also regional plans available so you can stay seamlessly connected as you hop between countries. Data plans are available from as low as $1.50/GB.

The networks that Nomad's eSIMs use for each plan are stated on the plan details on the web store and apps, so you can check which networks are supported before buying your plan. Data sharing and tethering is also supported on Nomad's eSIM plans.

And, if you are unsure about how much data you need for your trip, Nomad also has a Data Calculator that can help you find the plan that is most suitable for you. Also check out our blog post on data-saving tips when traveling to keep your data usage in check when traveling.

Nomad also has a 24-hour customer support team. So, in the event where you face difficulties while using your eSIM, rest assured there will be someone available to help you resolve your issues!