What is an eSIM?
An eSIM is an industry-standard digital SIM supported by carriers around the world. eSIM is available on iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, and later. iPhone 14 models purchased in the United States don't have a physical SIM tray and support only eSIM.
Learn about the benefits of traveling with eSIM
eSIM offers many benefits while you travel abroad. It's more secure than a physical SIM because it can't be removed if your iPhone is lost or stolen. With eSIM, you don't need to obtain, carry, and swap physical SIM cards (which can also be lost), or wait for them to arrive by mail.
On your iPhone, you can store eight or more eSIMs, which will be there whenever you need them. You can have two eSIMs active on supported iPhone models at the same time. This could, for example, include one eSIM for your home and another eSIM for the place you're visiting. You can swap which of your stored eSIMs are active simply by changing your selections in Settings. This might be helpful if you travel regularly to the same places.
Your carrier might also offer the ability to manage your eSIM plan digitally and add more data as needed.
Roam internationally with your existing carrier
- Carriers might include international roaming on select data plans without additional fees.
- Alternatively, your home carrier might offer affordable travel passes or plans that you can purchase ahead of time to use in the destination you're visiting.
- International roaming with an eSIM works the same as roaming with a physical SIM.
- To learn more, contact your carrier.
Learn more about cellular data roaming options for traveling internationally
Purchase an eSIM from a local carrier in the country or region you're visiting
- Find carriers around the world that support eSIM on iPhone.
- If your iPhone is locked to a carrier, your iPhone operates the same as if it were using a physical SIM and can be used only by that carrier. You can add multiple eSIMs and plans through that carrier. To check if your iPhone is unlocked, go to Settings > General > About. If your iPhone is unlocked, "No SIM restrictions" appears next to Carrier Lock. Learn how to unlock iPhone for use with a different carrier.
- Many carriers offer prepaid options that you can purchase from the carriers' websites or apps before you arrive, or in person after you’ve arrived, through a carrier kiosk at the airport, carrier store, or other location. Carriers will provide steps for how to activate your eSIM digitally, like with a QR code or carrier app. As with a physical SIM, depending on local regulations, you might be asked to show identification (like your passport) to purchase. These prepaid carrier options might offer more affordable local plans for data, voice, and text. Check with individual carriers for details.
- In addition to the option of purchasing a prepaid eSIM plan, you might wish to get a postpaid account if you plan to be in another place for an extended stay (for example, if you're studying abroad, working abroad, or visiting family for a few months). Carriers around the world that support eSIM offer postpaid plans. Depending on the country or region, you might need to provide proof of local residency, an established local bank account, or credit card (as you would with a physical SIM).
- On supported iPhone models, you can use two eSIMs at the same time. For example, you can include one eSIM for your home and another eSIM for the place you're visiting. As with a physical SIM, carrier fees might apply. Contact your carrier for information.
Purchase a prepaid data eSIM from a worldwide service provider
- Many worldwide service providers offer prepaid data plans. These plans allow you to stay connected at home, or in over 190 countries and regions when you travel. Carriers offer plans that differ by the amount of data and duration they provide. You can also purchase a plan that is the best value for you before you travel.
- While you're abroad, you can use a data-only eSIM as your secondary line and have two active eSIM plans on supported iPhone models.
- The capabilities on your primary line will continue to work when you add a data-only eSIM and use it for cellular data. For example, while traveling, you might keep your primary line for your home and set up a data-only eSIM plan as the secondary line for the place you're visiting.
- To choose your data line, go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular (or Mobile) data. You can continue to use FaceTime, iMessage, and other apps to make VoIP calls or send messages while you're traveling.
- You can also turn data roaming on and off on your home line in Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options. Carrier fees might apply.
If you purchased an iPhone 14 model in the United States but will use it while living in a different country or region
- You can activate an unlocked iPhone 14 model that you purchased in the United States with over 400 carriers in 100 markets all over the world that support eSIM on iPhone. Contact your carrier to confirm that they support eSIM on your cellular plan. Also, check iPhone cellular band support for country compatibility.
- Many worldwide service providers also offer prepaid eSIM data plans for long-term use in countries and regions across the world.