Sometimes a single telephone number is not enough, two are definitely better than one if you have to go abroad or if you need separate business and personal numbers. Until recently, you have been out of luck unless your phone could accommodate two SIMs. However, Apple has now made it possible for iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone XS owners to add a second line of service using digital SIM (eSIM) to bypass the physical SIM card requirement.
This makes it easy for you to add a local carrier when traveling internationally. You can have two separate plans on the same phone, one for voice and messages and one for data. Although your choice of carriers in the US is currently somewhat limited, Verizon and AT&T only offer eSIM capabilities, while T-Mobile coming later this year.
If you have an eSIM to add to your iPhone, and either you’re one of those two carriers’ customers (or you’re ready to become one), here’s how to set up eSIM on iPhone XR and XS.
A couple of things to remember before you start. First, this is not a free service— you buy a second line with all the expenses. Your phone has to run iOS 12.1.1 or later. And if you want plans for two different carriers, you must unlock your phone. If not, both your SIMs must be of the same carrier.
First, you will need to purchase a new eSIM account through the AT&T website. You will need the IMEI number of your device (the unique number that identifies your phone). Tap Settings, then General, and then About to locate it.
You will want to set up your phone for dual SIMs once you have purchased the eSIM plan.
Go to Settings, Cellular, and add Cell Plan. Scan your carrier’s QR code with your phone. Then look at the bottom of the screen and tap Enter Details Manually. Choose Add Cellular Plan and you will see both your previous and the new plan; you can label them as you like (for example, “Personal” and “Work”). Hit Done and choose which plan you want to be your default on the screen.
Note that while you can activate both phone numbers at the same time (so you can call one and receive a call from the other), you can only use one data plan at a time. If you want to switch to the data plan you are using, go to your Cellular Menu > Cellular Data > Cellular Data Switching.
Note: If you use FirstNet, AT&T ‘s first responder service, be aware that the second SIM may interfere with the connectivity of the first SIM, according to AT&T.
If you use Verizon, you can run the whole process using the My Verizon application. Open the app and tap Get Started. The next step in the process is to locate and register your IMEI by going to Settings, copy the Digital SIM IMEI by tapping and holding.
You have the number; now you go back to your My Verizon app, tap the area that reads the Digital SIM IMEI number, tap and hold the IMEI and hit Eligibility check. Note: eSIM will not work with pre- pay plans.)
If you are eligible, you will receive a number of screens that will guide you through the activation process of your new service including selecting a phone number (you can port over your existing number if you come from another service), creating a PIN and entering your billing information. Once you have done this, you will receive an email with a QR code. Go to Settings, Cellular and Add Cellular Plan on your iPhone and then scan the QR code from the email so you can set up the final account.
Congratulations, you’ve got two phone numbers on the same iPhone( and two data plans).