Apple iPhone 14 series and eSIMs: How do they work, and other questions answered


Apple has made significant changes to the devices sold in the United States with the iPhone 14 series. These devices lack a physical SIM slot and must rely on an eSIM to connect to mobile networks. eSIMs are not new; they have been around for quite some time. Moreover, Apple is not the first company to remove the physical SIM card slot from its phones. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip series do not have a physical SIM slot, including those sold in India, and instead use an eSIM. Apple has long supported eSIMs (since the iPhone XS and above), but dual eSIM support debuted with the iPhone 12 series. Users in the United States previously had the option of using both a regular SIM and an eSIM, but they will now be limited to using only an eSIM. But what does this mean for users, and is it a bad idea to buy an iPhone 14 in the US, where prices are significantly lower? Apple has provided detailed answers to some of the questions on a FAQ page. Here’s a quick rundown of what the company has to say.

How does Apple eSIM work?

According to Apple, an “eSIM is an industry-standard digital SIM supported by carriers.” It also adds that eSIM will provide more benefits, particularly when traveling abroad because if your iPhone is stolen. This is because thieves cannot remove the SIM card and gain access to it, especially if your iPhone is locked. Apple also mentions on another page that the iPhone activates with an eSIM for models purchased in the United States.

How many Apple eSIM cards can be stored on the iPhone 14 series?

Customers can store up to eight eSIMs on an iPhone 14 series, according to Apple. However, two eSIMs can be active on supported iPhone models at the same time. So, while you can store multiple eSIMs, you can only use two at a time.

What about Apple eSIM activation when traveling abroad?

This is where the convenience of a physical SIM card may be overlooked. For those traveling abroad, determining how to obtain a local eSIM may be difficult. While the existing carrier will most likely offer international roaming, it will come with additional fees and the plans may be too expensive at times. A physical SIM appears to have some advantages in such cases.

However, Apple claims that users can purchase and set up an eSIM from a local carrier in the country or region where they are traveling. It goes on to say that some “carriers offer prepaid options that you can purchase before you arrive, or in person after you arrive, through a carrier kiosk at the airport, carrier store, or other locations.”

The activation process for the new eSIM will most likely be the same, such as scanning the QR code provided by the carrier or using the carrier’s app. However, if you have an iPhone 14 purchased in the United States, you will need to obtain a local eSIM when traveling abroad.

Apple also claims that users can activate two eSIMs at the same time, one purchased locally and one purchased abroad. Furthermore, users can ensure that one eSIM is limited to the data-only mode when traveling abroad. This could be useful if you don’t want to use your home SIM for data browsing due to the higher charges.

Users can also enable and disable data roaming on their home eSIM by going to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options.

Apple eSIM: You purchased the iPhone 14 in the United States but intend to use it in India. Will this eSIM be a problem?

If you bought an unlocked iPhone 14 model in the US, it would work fine in India. However, you must request an eSIM when setting up the iPhone and ensure that you have the QR code ready to scan. Remember that the iPhone 14 series from the United States requires an eSIM to be activated.

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