MoneySavingPro independently researches the products & services to bring you our recommendations. We may earn money when you click our links - disclosure policy.
The great news is that most smartphones nowadays, including the iPhone 12, are equipped with eSIM support.
An eSIM, short for embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that replaces those teeny physical nano SIM cards. And the even better news is that this innovation could save you a bundle when pairing with an MVNO. eSIMs make it easier than ever before to switch carriers and test which one has the best coverage in your area for the best price.
Below, I'll go into more about eSIMs, mainly focusing on the iPhone 12. And I'll also cover how an eSIM plan can help you save money on your cell phone plan.
eSIM on the iPhone 12
If you've got or are looking to upgrade to an iPhone 12, the good news is that it supports eSIM technology. The iPhone 12 offers dual SIM functionality, which means you can simultaneously use your iPhone 12 with two separate phone numbers or cell phone plans. With a physical SIM slot, you can use a SIM card and an eSIM.
This opens up a world of flexibility and convenience, whether that's allowing you to combine two numbers on one device or being able to try a new carrier and plan before canceling your old one with an eSIM.
All iPhone 12 models support dual SIMs. This allows you to make phone calls and send messages using different mobile networks, phone numbers, or local data plans, all on the same device. Also, if you enable cellular data switching, your phone will switch to whichever line has the best mobile data service, depending on coverage and availability.
Some newer iPhones have dual eSIM support (eSIM-only), eliminating using a physical SIM card slot.
How to install eSIM on an iPhone 12
Whether you keep the same carrier or switch to a new one, getting your eSIM on your iPhone up and running is easier than you might think. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
- Get an eSIM from your carrier: They'll provide a QR code containing all the information needed to activate your eSIM.
- Access the settings: Open the "Settings" app on your iPhone 12.
- Select "Cellular": Tap on "Cellular," then "Add Cellular Plan."
- Scan QR code: Scan the code using your iPhone's camera. This will initiate the eSIM setup process.
- Follow the prompts: The setup process will guide you through the necessary steps, including confirming your details and activating the eSIM.
Benefits of eSIM on the iPhone 12
Switching to an eSIM-based plan offers plenty of benefits:
- Cost savings: iPhone eSIMs give you the flexibility to explore and switch to cheaper cell phone plans without the hassle of changing prepaid SIM cards.
- Dual SIM convenience: Maintain personal calls and a business number on the same device, streamlining your communication.
- Global travel: Swap between a local data plan and international eSIMs if you travel frequently, avoiding expensive roaming charges.
- Easy setup: No need to wait for a physical SIM card to arrive – just scan the QR code, and you're good to go.
Disadvantages of eSIM on the iPhone 12
While eSIMs offer incredible advantages, it's important to be aware of potential downsides:
- Limited carrier compatibility: Not all carriers support eSIM functionality, limiting your options.
What other iPhones support eSIM?
While the iPhone 12 is eSIM-compatible, you'll be glad to know that several other iPhone models also embrace this technology.
Check the complete list below to see what other iPhone models have eSIM support:
- iPhone SE 2 (2020)
- iPhone SE 3 (2022)
- iPhone XR
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- iPhone 15
- iPhone 15 Plus
- iPhone 15 Pro
- iPhone 15 Pro Max
All of the above iPhones support eSIM functionality but still have a physical SIM card tray, apart from the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 series, which are eSIM-only.
eSIM support on iPhone 12 FAQs
The iPhone 12 supports eSIMs, allowing you to switch to cheaper plans and enjoy the convenience of a dual SIM setup. While there are some limitations, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
With eSIMs, you can explore various MVNO carriers, keep your old number, and even maintain connectivity while traveling abroad.