Switching to iPhone 14 means saying goodbye to your SIM card
This story is part Focal Point iPhone 2022CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice on Apple’s most popular product.
Upgrade to iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max requires a new step for most customers: instead of moving your SIM card from an old iPhone to the new one, you’ll need to set up an eSIM instead. When Apple announced the iPhone 14 line, the company revealed that the US models would not have the physical SIM card tray commonly used in the phone industry. Internationally however, the iPhone 14 range retains the SIM card tray for now.
With eSIMs, you’ll still be able to take full advantage of a carrier’s 4G LTE or 5G networks and use your phone the same way you used to. Apple has supported eSIMs on iPhones since 2018’s iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, and has long supported the technology on its recent cellular iPads and Apple Watches. The iPhone 13 lineup even allowed multiple eSIMs to be activated at once, which is useful for those looking to have a work number and a personal number on one device.
By adopting eSIMs, Apple and other manufacturers may also begin to ditch the physical SIM card slot, leaving more room for additional functionality on future devices.
AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all support eSIM use, as do a number of smaller or prepaid providers like Mint Mobile, Google Fi, or Verizon-owned Visible.
While the core experience shouldn’t change, there might be some notable benefits to no longer needing to get a physical SIM card from a carrier. If a network adds a new feature, the provider can simply push an update directly to the phone, whereas in the past you might have had to order a new SIM card.
Upgrading 4G devices to 5G, for example, required a new SIM card with some carriers to be able to connect to the new networks. When buying a phone from a carrier or with a carrier installment plan, you usually get the new SIM card in the box, so that’s not really an issue. If you purchased unlocked directly from Apple, however, you may need to get a new SIM card.
The use of eSIMs will make it easier for consumers to explore or switch mobile phone providers. T-Mobile and Visible from Verizon used eSIMs to give people the ability to try out their respective networks on their existing devices. Last week T-Mobile has updated its trial program to now give interested people three months of unlimited data to compare its 5G network with their existing provider.
If you want to switch, eSIM streamlines the process and gets you up and running much faster than waiting for a physical card to be mailed or taking your handset to a store.