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jk73

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 19, 2012
1,182
1,157
I have an unlocked iPhone 13 Pro with AT&T service. I travel internationally a lot, so the ability to add local service via eSIM — while maintaining my main service on the same phone — seems appealing, particularly in places where AT&T International Day Pass doesn't work or is slow.

I had never heard of eSIM until recently. Any downsides to changing from the physical SIM to eSIM? Thanks for all feedback.
 

Sheepish-Lord

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2021
919
1,441
Depends on how easy your carrier makes it. I tried it when the 13’s came out and Verizon makes it a huge pain and half the people I spoke to didn’t even know what it was. I also switch phones frequently so transferring your line always required me to call customer support. Additionally, just recently people using eSIM on various providers had a huge iMessage issue.

I will never use eSIM again as long as it’s an option.
 

valkyrie917

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2019
304
195
I have an unlocked iPhone 13 Pro with AT&T service. I travel internationally a lot, so the ability to add local service via eSIM — while maintaining my main service on the same phone — seems appealing, particularly in places where AT&T International Day Pass doesn't work or is slow.

I had never heard of eSIM until recently. Any downsides to changing from the physical SIM to eSIM? Thanks for all feedback.

Depends on who you ask. I have had a fantastic experience on it. Sure there were issues when first released as many ppl were still trying to understand it/systems getting up & running/training was behind. But a few years later and I haven't had any issues.

There was that iMessage issue but it never affected me or any of my circle (I know because they all come to me when there's a question or problem w their iPhone). Switching devices when it comes time to upgrade is the easiest it's ever been. I haven't had to speak w/ a rep when my new device comes (I'm on the iUP).

I only use 1 phone but stick to physical SIM if you're one of the small handful that use multiple handsets for fun.

I have tested eSIMs for travel (data only) and adding a 2nd line via pre-paid Mint & US Mobile on eSIM was a breeze. Have not had any issues, still haven't had to speak to a person. I can turn off the 2nd eSIM and pop in an old physical SIM as well and go back & forth between them. So I have 3 lines on my iphone 2 of which can be active simultaneously.

Some ppl have a ton of trouble, some ppl don't.
 

VineRider

macrumors 65816
May 24, 2018
1,025
774
I am on AT&T and converted my SIM to ESIM with no issues. I have an iPhone 13 Pro.

You can move the ESIM to another iPhone easily via settings/cellular, and also via AT&T on your account page it's easy to re-download a new ESIM. I'd be hard pressed to go back to physical SIM.

I did everything via the iPhone, never had to call AT&T.
 

valkyrie917

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2019
304
195
I like the eSIM the only issues with it, is if you wipe your phone and didn't protect the eSIM you are SOL and need to go into a store to fix it.

The option to save an eSIM is kind of hidden and not plainly obvious.

I'm not sure which country you're in but in the US, you only need to rescan the QR code. I think in the UK they make you go into a store or have to send you a kit like AT&T. But the QR code is really just network settings that isn't specific to a user. Here's the Verizon QR, TMO QR, AT&T makes you order one or go to a store which is why they are the worst. For pre-paid, US Mobile QR, Mint Mobile - you can chat w/ the rep and they will email it to you.
 
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jav6454

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2007
20,844
4,812
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
I'm not sure which country you're in but in the US, you only need to rescan the QR code. I think in the UK they make you go into a store or have to send you a kit like AT&T. But the QR code is really just network settings that isn't specific to a user. Here's the Verizon QR, TMO QR, AT&T makes you order one or go to a store which is why they are the worst. For pre-paid, US Mobile QR, Mint Mobile - you can chat w/ the rep and they will email it to you.
I have AT&T. Tried to rescan the QR and it said "this QR already has been used"
 

jk73

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 19, 2012
1,182
1,157

jav6454

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2007
20,844
4,812
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza

jk73

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 19, 2012
1,182
1,157
You’ll never get burned using a physical SIM card. The same can’t be said for eSIM

Is it possible to keep the physical SIM for my main AT&T service and then add foreign service, when needed, via eSIM? In Settings, it says "switch to eSIM" rather than "add an eSIM," which implies eSIM is required for having multiple services on one device. Thanks.
 

jk73

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 19, 2012
1,182
1,157
I couldn't log in to my account due to at the time AT&T enforced the "security check" which meant a text was sent to my line. You know, the exact same line that was down due to eSIM trouble.

In the end, I had to go into the store and had to wait 20 minutes (even with proper ID) to get verified.

This is the sort of thing I'm worried about. The above would be a disaster if I have to reset my iPhone in the middle of a six-week foreign trip.
 

jk73

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 19, 2012
1,182
1,157
I like the eSIM the only issues with it, is if you wipe your phone and didn't protect the eSIM you are SOL and need to go into a store to fix it.

The option to save an eSIM is kind of hidden and not plainly obvious.

By "protect," you mean save as part of the iPhone backup from which the device would be restored? That's not a default setting? Thanks.
 

jav6454

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2007
20,844
4,812
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
This is the sort of thing I'm worried about. The above would be a disaster if I have to reset my iPhone in the middle of a six-week foreign trip.
That's what happened to me. I was down in Central America and had to get a local SIM card to make it thru the trip. I couldn't solve the issue over the phone either as even with valid responses to any question the rep stated, AT&T locked out the system to that 4-digit pin code they text you.

Kind of stupid if your line is down. Even the rep was frustrated cause it happens often.
 

jetsam

macrumors 6502a
Jul 28, 2015
718
409
Is it possible to keep the physical SIM for my main AT&T service and then add foreign service, when needed, via eSIM? In Settings, it says "switch to eSIM" rather than "add an eSIM," which implies eSIM is required for having multiple services on one device. Thanks.
Yes - assuming your iPhone is unlocked, of course.

There are two ways:

1) Via an app. T-Mo does this, at least for prepaid.
2) In "Settings>Cellular>Add Cellular Plan" You can scan a QR code, or enter the details manually.
 
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jav6454

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2007
20,844
4,812
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
By "protect," you mean save as part of the iPhone backup from which the device would be restored? That's not a default setting? Thanks.
No it is not, you have to look for the restore setting that preserves the eSIM. It is not a choice by default and so it's a real issue if you are not careful or don't know about it.
 
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jk73

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 19, 2012
1,182
1,157
That's what happened to me. I was down in Central America and had to get a local SIM card to make it thru the trip. I couldn't solve the issue over the phone either as even with valid responses to any question the rep stated, AT&T locked out the system to that 4-digit pin code they text you.

Kind of stupid if your line is down. Even the rep was frustrated cause it happens often.

What a nightmare. Brutal.
 

jk73

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 19, 2012
1,182
1,157
Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have an eSIM as it frees the space of the SIM for travel, but the fact that there is no real option to save the eSIM in case of an emergency restore is frustrating and a big hassle.

Are eSIM options not ubiquitous abroad? Thanks.
 

valkyrie917

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2019
304
195
Are eSIM options not ubiquitous abroad? Thanks.

The answer is, it depends. Pre-paid eSIM with a phone # isn't as available but services like Ubigi are easy but data only (you can download their app and activate for whatever country you need). It's why my main line is eSIM so that when I travel, it's sometimes easier to turn on my Three physical SIM or when I was in the Philippines, buy a prepaid and pop it in. But you can look at this thread and depends on where you travel.

And while I sympathize with @jav6454's woes and believe them to be true, the others on this thread w/ AT&T service have been fine. Jav's experience seems to be extreme bad luck.
 
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OhMyMy

macrumors 6502
Oct 21, 2021
432
469
I like the eSIM the only issues with it, is if you wipe your phone and didn't protect the eSIM you are SOL and need to go into a store to fix it.

The option to save an eSIM is kind of hidden and not plainly obvious.
I wiped my iPhone multiple times and you’ll be promoted to add your eSIM during setup. I’ve had two eSIM profiles and was given an option to add them every time I erased my iPhone.
Don’t presume to know something you haven’t actually tried.
 
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