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eSIMs 101: Transferring eSIMs

Changing devices? Here is how to transfer your eSIM.

· 3 min read

In this day and age, technology is constantly evolving, and one such advancement that has taken the world by storm is the eSIM. If you are already using an eSIM, or considering using one, perhaps one question that you might have is how you can transfer your eSIM across devices.

Transfer eSIMs

What is eSIM?

In simple terms, an eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is built directly into your device. And because it is embedded in your device, unlike a physical SIM where you can simply remove and put it into a new device, you can't do the same with an eSIM.

eSIMs are really convenient and known for their flexibility as you can easily switch between eSIMs without the hassle of having to replace physical SIM cards even when you switch between mobile carriers. But when it comes to the switching of devices, do eSIMs carry the same flexibility?

Can you transfer eSIMs?

The short answer is yes, you can.

One of the main reasons why you would want to transfer eSIMs would be because you're upgrading to a new device. Well, there are ways that you can transfer your eSIMs. And no, none of these ways involve having to remove the chip from your original device and put it into the new device.

How to transfer eSIMs?

eSIMs typically can only be installed once. During installation, you would be given a QR code that will allow you to download and install the eSIM — once that QR code has been used, you can't use it again. So when you change devices, scanning that same QR code isn't going to work.

Contact your network provider

The easiest way to do this transfer is to contact your network provider, and they will be able to assist with your transfer of eSIMs. The process might involve issuing you with a new QR code for you to scan and install on your new phone.

Transferring between iPhones

If you are using an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, or later, you will be able to easily transfer your eSIM to your new iPhone.

Before you begin your transfer, take note of the following:

  • Your new iPhone needs to be connected to the Internet
  • Your carrier needs to support eSIM transfer
  • Both your iPhones need to be on iOS 16 and above, and Bluetooth needs to be turned on

During set-up of your new iPhone, you might see a message asking you to transfer your cellular service plan. To transfer eSIM from one phone to another during setup, follow these steps:

  1. Transfer your old iPhone's eSIM to your new iPhone by tapping on the number you wish to transfer.
  2. Select Continue
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions

If you didn't make the eSIM transfer during the initial set-up of your phone, it is still possible to do so after.

  1. Go to Settings > Mobile Data > Add Data Plan
  2. Choose a mobile data plan that you want to transfer. If you don't se the one that you want, select Transfer from Nearby iPhone
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions on your previous iPhone.
  4. Wait for the mobile data plan to be activated on your new iPhone. Your previous SIM is deactivated when the mobile data plan on your new iPhone is activated.
  5. If a banner appears on your new iPhone that says Finish Setting Up Your Network Provider's Data Plan, tap it. You will be redirected to your network provider's web page to transfer your eSIM. If you need help, contact your network provider.

Transferring between Android devices

Unfortunately, as of now, there is no quick way to transfer eSIMs between Android devices. However, rumours are that the new Android 14 (October 4th release) will come with a feature that supports easy transfer of eSIMs between Android devices. We'll keep a look out for that!

In the meantime, if you are looking to transfer eSIMs between your Android devices, simply reach out to your network provider and they will be able to assist with your transfer. Depending on the provider, the process could take up to a few days.

Transferring between iPhone and Android devices

And finally, if you are looking to transfer an eSIM between an iPhone and an Android device, you will have to reach out to your network provider to facilitate this transfer.