Nov 17

Read all about eSIM and Apple SIM, the electronic SIM card in iPhones. The eSIM and Apple SIM are two concepts that have a lot to do with each other. In both cases it concerns a ‘digital’ SIM card that makes it easier to switch providers. You don’t need a traditional plastic SIM card anymore. In addition, with some devices you have to deal with the Apple SIM, a plastic SIM card that you can insert yourself or is already built-in as standard. In this article you can read all about the eSIM, Apple SIM and what you can do with it.

What is eSIM?

eSIM is a built-in smart card for smartphones, tablets and other small devices. It serves as a replacement for non-physical SIM cards and was invented by the GSMA. This is an alliance of telecom companies. The eSIM is in fact a built-in SIM chip, which is built into your device as standard. This is ideal for manufacturers such as Apple, because a traditional SIM card slot is quite large. Especially with small devices such as the Apple Watch, it often happens that there is not enough space for a full SIM card slot. An electronic SIM, on the other hand, hardly takes up any space.

An eSIM works with networks of multiple providers, so you can easily switch providers. This is the reason why providers are not jumping at the chance. Apple and Samsung have been in talks with providers for years to roll out the eSIM widely, but that does not go very smoothly. Well-known international providers are Truphone and GigSky. The eSIM is also often used in combination with a physical SIM card. In the latest iPhones you can therefore use two phone numbers on one device: one number on the electronic sim and the other number on the physical sim card.

Which devices contain an eSIM?

An eSIM can be found in the following iPhones; iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max and newer.

Which devices have Apple SIM?

The name Apple SIM and eSIM are used simultaneously. All devices with an eSIM therefore also have an integrated Apple SIM. In addition, there are a number of devices that do have an Apple SIM or are suitable for it, without supporting the eSIM.

What is Apple SIM?

The Apple SIM is a predecessor of the eSIM. It is a physical SIM card, which works in a similar way as the electronic SIM card. Some recent iPads contain a built-in Apple SIM, so it is in fact hardly any different from the eSIM. With earlier iPads you can place an Apple SIM yourself. This is a plastic SIM card that is available at the Apple Stores. You can then take out a data plan with the partners Apple works with, i.e. GigSky, Truphone or specific providers in other countries.

What are eSIM advantages and disadvantages?

The eSIM has numerous advantages, both for users and Apple. If the traditional SIM card slot can be omitted, Apple can design more compact devices. It also offers the possibility to create a thumb-sim iPhone, without the need for two physical SIM cards. Incidentally, Apple in China releases iPhones with a SIM card slot that fits two plastic SIM cards, while for the rest of the world the combination of physical SIM card and eSIM has been chosen.

The recent iPhones have a thumb sim function. Besides the normal sim card slot, there is also an eSIM in it, with which you can add a second card. For users, the advantage is that you are no longer dependent on the physical SIM card of your provider and can switch more easily. Now it often takes days before you receive your new SIM card by mail. With an eSIM you can switch providers within a few minutes. The eSIM retrieves the sim profile via a secure connection. This is especially useful for providers with a short notice period. A disadvantage of eSIM is that this sounds very nice in theory, but there are almost no providers that contribute to it. As a result, it’s not much use to you.

When is an eSim particularly useful?

Situations in which it might be useful to have your sim card active, is when you are traveling and want to check in with work, or log in to a website that requires a phone check. Like an online casino, dating site or any other site that requires a login. With an eSim you can maintain the phone number required for the login, while using another number for calls and texts.

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