How the iPhone and Apple Watch eSIM cards work

The 2018 iPhones will be the first dual SIM iPhones in the decade-long history of the applephone. Unlike other dual SIMs, though, you won't have room for two SIMs

Magari, among the many new iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max features highlighted during Apple's September 12 event, it went a little under the radar. But upon closer inspection, this is a momentous change for the Cupertino-based company: the 2018 iPhones will be the first ones compatible with dual SIM.

Apple, therefore, chooses to follow the path taken by dozens of Android smartphone manufacturers already for a few years and give the possibility to those who buy its flagship iPhone to manage two SIMs simultaneously. Unlike other manufacturers, however, Apple is not doubling the space dedicated to the SIM in its devices: the second phone card, in fact, will be an eSIM or virtual SIM. As already seen on the Apple Watch 3 (and reproposed on the Apple Watch 4 in Italy), Apple decides to put the SIM data inside a chip on the logic board and not lose more space inside the body.

What are eSIMs and how they work

At this point the question that many users will be asking is: but what exactly are eSIMs? The eSIM, also called SoftSIM, are basically a microchip printed on the logic board of the smartphone, or any other electronic device, with connectivity to the cellular network. In practice it is a microscopic device, even smaller than the nano SIM very much in vogue on the latest generation of phones, which contains all the information that is usually stored within the circuits of the classic plastic card. Inside the eSIM is also inserted the ICCID code, which is the verification system that uniquely identifies the SIM and is used when switching from one operator to another.

What are the advantages of an eSIM?

For a manufacturer an eSIM is very convenient because it removes from a device the physical space of the SIM card slots. That means more space for the battery or new sensors. And for users, what are the advantages of a virtual eSIM? First of all, it will shorten the time to switch from one phone operator to another, because there will be no need to physically change the SIM card. In addition, it will be impossible to lose the numbers saved on the eSIM in the change of operator, because the eSIM unlike the classic SIM is not made unusable after the transition. Finally, you will reduce expenses because at the moment the SIM change costs about 25 euros with the various telephone operators, not requiring a physical change with eSIMs will not have additional costs.

How to activate an eSIM Apple

But eSIMs have flaws? Yes, right now not all manufacturers have a unique, one-size-fits-all standard for registration. Apple is one of the first companies to invest in this technology and in fact is one of the few that offers a simple setup to users. How do you do it? Simple, to register a new eSIM we go to the Settings of our Cupertino device and then go to the Mobile section. At this point we'll have to wait a few moments and an information page will appear where we can select one of the various phone operators active in Italy. It will be possible to choose between the various rates and promotions available at that moment and sign the contract with the operator you prefer. Simple and fast.