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iPhone 12 Pro Transfer AT&T eSIM 11 pro > 12 pro possible?

ac360

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 2, 2018
21
0
I currently have an iPhone 11 Pro Max on AT&T /w eSIM. I plan to upgrade to an iPhone 12 Pro Max later through the iPhone Upgrade Program.

I assume the new phone will already have a physical SIM inside. During the activation process, can I take the physical SIM out and activate the new phone using its eSIM?

Last year, I upgraded from Xs Max to 11 Pro Max. I was only able to active the 11 with the physical SIM inside the phone. Later, I had to visit an AT&T store, pay $5, and transfer my number to eSIM using a QR code card. It would be nice to skip a visit to the AT&T store this year...

Anyone with luck to activate the iPhone 12 (Pro) on AT&T using eSIM? Thanks.
 

Lobwedgephil

macrumors 603
Apr 7, 2012
5,212
3,940
I just activated mine using eSim from 11 Pro Max, but not an IUP phone, so that may be a wrinkle. With iOS 14 on At&t you can just transfer the eSim to new phone during initial setup.
 
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ac360

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 2, 2018
21
0
I just activated mine using eSim from 11 Pro Max, but not an IUP phone, so that may be a wrinkle. With iOS 14 on At&t you can just transfer the eSim to new phone during initial setup.

Did you purchase a SIM-free iPhone 12 (Pro)? If not, did you take out the physical SIM in the 12 before starting the activation and initial setup?
 
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Lobwedgephil

macrumors 603
Apr 7, 2012
5,212
3,940
Yeah, thats why I said IUP may be a wrinkle for you. I purchased Sim Free version. so no SIM card in phone to start.
 
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ac360

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 2, 2018
21
0
Thanks. Hmm, that explains it. Somehow, the IUP iPhone activation seems to require the physical SIM in the phone...
 
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ac360

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 2, 2018
21
0
Was anyone on the IUP able to transfer eSIM without activating the new device using a physical SIM?
 
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PLin

macrumors 6502
Oct 9, 2003
431
35
I was using the eSIM on my 11 Pro for my AT&T service, and I was not able to transfer the eSIM. iOS 14 does support transferring eSIM, but when I tried, I got the message that my carrier doesn't support transferring. So then I tried scanning my original QR code, and I got a message that the activation code was expired. I have AT&T Prepaid, so maybe transferring works with AT&T postpaid plans.

Luckily, I had a spare SIM that had never been activated, so I logged into the AT&T website and typed in the ICCID to quickly move my service back to a physical SIM. I guess I'll have go to back to the store and potentially pay $5 to move back to an eSIM, which is annoying.
 
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starsaffron

macrumors newbie
Dec 24, 2016
7
0
Last year when I upgraded from iPhone 10S to 11 using the iPhone Upgrade Program on AT&T, I made the mistake of activating my new phone with the physical SIM that came with it, thereby deactivating my old eSIM. I had to visit an AT&T store to get a new eSIM. This year, I carefully planned to avoid this trip to the AT&T store by removing the physical SIM card that came with my iPhone 12 Pro before starting activation. Unfortunately, even after removing the SIM card, the new phone was still able to activate and disabled my old eSIM. Again, I tried transferring the eSIM but it failed to transfer at the last step because activating the new phone deactivated the eSIM. I don't know of any way to avoid deactivating the old eSIM so I guess I'll have to make a trip to the AT&T store every year until Apple starts to send new phones with eSIMs.

EDIT: I have AT&T postpaid.
 
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ac360

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 2, 2018
21
0
Last year when I upgraded from iPhone 10S to 11 using the iPhone Upgrade Program on AT&T, I made the mistake of activating my new phone with the physical SIM that came with it, thereby deactivating my old eSIM. I had to visit an AT&T store to get a new eSIM. This year, I carefully planned to avoid this trip to the AT&T store by removing the physical SIM card that came with my iPhone 12 Pro before starting activation. Unfortunately, even after removing the SIM card, the new phone was still able to activate and disabled my old eSIM. Again, I tried transferring the eSIM but it failed to transfer at the last step because activating the new phone deactivated the eSIM. I don't know of any way to avoid deactivating the old eSIM so I guess I'll have to make a trip to the AT&T store every year until Apple starts to send new phones with eSIMs.

EDIT: I have AT&T postpaid.

Thank you for sharing. I’m in the exact situation.

AT&T at least should offer what Verizon does: upon user request by phone or online chat, provide a QR code via email and change to eSIM at no charge. Instead, AT&T still requires a store visit and charges a $5 fee, which seems nothing but tactics to discourage customers from adopting eSIM.
 
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beach bum

Contributor
Oct 6, 2011
376
500
Philly
ATT will mail you an eSIM card upon request for no fee. You will have to call them to activate though.
 
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cwsm

macrumors member
Jun 10, 2009
75
0
Can anyone confirm if the AT&T eSIM QR cards are available at Apple Stores? I tried asking an employee and they had no idea what I was talking about.

Prepaid here. I ordered the 12 (AT&T variant, to save $30) and was not able to transfer my 11 eSIM. Tried deleting the plan on my 11. I was then able to re-add the plan on the 11 by scanning the QR code, but it would say expired whenever I scanned the same QR on the 12.

Originally wanted eSIM so I can use local sims when I travel. Not a huge deal for me anymore since companies such as Airalo are offering fairly competitive travel data plans over eSIM. In this case I may just keep AT&T on physical.
 
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cwsm

macrumors member
Jun 10, 2009
75
0
Anyone with luck to activate the iPhone 12 (Pro) on AT&T using eSIM? Thanks.
Update: Just got off the line (dial 611) with a live agent. I gave them my EID (Settings, General, About) and they were able to activate the eSIM for me over the phone. I lost service during the call. Restarted. In my Settings it showed a new service is ready to activate.
 
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cwsm

macrumors member
Jun 10, 2009
75
0
I guess I'll have go to back to the store and potentially pay $5 to move back to an eSIM, which is annoying.
If you prefer to save a trip try calling 611. They can activate eSIM over the phone. You just have to give them your EID. Worked for me on prepaid.

Currently I don’t see a field to update your EID on the website. Only IMEI and ICCID.
 
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beach bum

Contributor
Oct 6, 2011
376
500
Philly
Update: Just got off the line (dial 611) with a live agent. I gave them my EID (Settings, General, About) and they were able to activate the eSIM for me over the phone. I lost service during the call. Restarted. In my Settings it showed a new service is ready to activate.
Good luck. The process you mention was the same for me, but in the end, I still needed the esim card to activate. I reset network setting, did a hard reboot, etc, and the only thing that worked for me was the QR code on the esim card that I had to pick up from ATT. ATT also confirmed that when I upgrade to the 12 PM, I will need a new QR code. I called 611 and they are FedExing to me a new esim card in preparation for the 12 PM.

edited: I’m post-paid.
 
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