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How do I know if I can use a travel eSIM on my phone?

Two things to check!

· 3 min read

Preparing for a trip and got a recommendation to use a travel eSIM for data when you travel? Travel eSIMs are a good choice for data and connectivity when you travel, but a pre-requisite to using an eSIM for your data needs when you travel is that your device needs to be able to support eSIMs. Not sure if your device is eSIM-compatible? Let’s find out how you can check.


What is an eSIM and why do I need an eSIM-compatible phone?

First, let’s take a look at what an eSIM is.

eSIMs, short for embedded SIMs or sometimes also referred to as digital SIMs, are a tiny chip that is embedded in your device. They perform similar functions to the physical SIM cards that we are all accustomed to - the only difference being the form in which they exist.

To use a physical SIM card, you need to insert your SIM card into a SIM card slot in your device. On the other hand, to use an eSIM, you will need to download and install an eSIM profile to your device. The embedded chip in your device will use the information that is contained in the eSIM profile to authenticate and authorise your device to join the network.

In other words, to use an eSIM, your device must contain that embedded chip so that it can read the information from the eSIM profile, and so that your device can connect to the network. A device without that chip wouldn’t be able to read the eSIM profile nor connect to the network, hence the pre-requisite for your device to be eSIM-compatible.

Check Your Phone Model

The first step is to check your phone's model and specifications. eSIM compatibility is generally found in newer smartphones, for both Android and iOS. Here is a list of some of the most commonly used eSIM-compatible smartphones.

However, it is important to note that eSIM compatibility is dependent not only on the device model, but it could also be influenced by the country where you purchased your device from. For example, most devices purchased from China are not eSIM-compatible.

Check Your Phone's Settings

If you do not see your phone model on the list of eSIM-compatible devices, but want to confirm if you are able to use an eSIM, you can check your phone settings.


  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Cellular or Mobile Data.
  3. If you see an option for Add Cellular Plan or Add eSIM, your phone supports eSIM.


  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Connections or Network & Internet.
  3. Look for SIM card manager or Mobile network.
  4. If you see an option for Add Mobile Plan or Add eSIM, your phone supports eSIM.

Can I use a travel eSIM as long as my device is eSIM-compatible?

It is not always the case.

An eSIM-compatible device simply means that you can use an eSIM on your phone. But, simply having an eSIM-compatible device doesn’t mean that you can necessarily use a travel eSIM. Another factor that you might need to consider is whether or not your device is carrier-locked.

If a device is carrier-locked, it means that your device wouldn’t be able to connect to any network other than the carrier that it is locked to. It doesn’t matter whether you use a travel eSIM or a physical SIM card - it will simply not work since the travel eSIM and/or physical SIM card will be using a different network from your home carrier.

To check if your device is carrier-locked, go to your device settings:


  1. Go to Settings > General > About
  2. Scroll down and look for “Carrier Lock”. If it says ‘No SIM restrictions’, it means your device is unlocked and you can use a travel eSIM.


  1. Go to Settings > Connections or Network & Internet
  2. Tap the plus icon and check if your device can display other networks. If you are able to see other networks, it means your device is unlocked and you can use a travel eSIM.

If you find that your device is carrier-locked and you want to unlock it, you will have to call your carrier to ask them to lift the carrier-locked restrictions.

Get a Nomad eSIM to help you stay connected when you travel

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 $1.10/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.

In the event where you run out of data, Nomad also allows you to purchase add-ons for your data pack. With a purchased add-on, you will be able to seamlessly stay connected with the same eSIM.