The first beta of iOS 12.1 brings eSIM support, here’s how it works

iPhone dual SIM benefits

Support for the electronic SIM (eSIM) standard has been uncovered from the first developer beta of iOS 12 which released to Apple’s registered developers eight days ago.

As first spotted by Jeff Benjamin over at 9to5Mac, Apple noted in a support document that support for eSIM is coming to the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max “with an update to iOS 12 coming later this year.”

iPhone dual SIM support requires iOS 12.1

eSIM support requires iOS 12.1

In iOS 12.1 beta 1, there’s now a whole new option in Settings → Cellular → Add Cellular Plan to add a carrier. From there, you will scan a QR Code provided by the selected carrier to start using their data services without taking out your primary SIM card.

You can also enter details manually if QR Code isn’t an option. The required details include the SM-DP+ Address, Activation Code, and an optional confirmation code. While you can store more than one eSIM in your phone, but you can use only one at a time.

TUTORIAL: How to set up and use dual-SIM on iPhone XS & Max

Although eSIM functionality is active in the beta, it’s not working properly because wireless carriers have not yet been able to activate it on their end. Major US carriers will turn on support for eSIM on the new iPhones later this fall.

As we noted earlier, the new phones are the first iPhones with dual-SIM support: one line is your primary nano-SIM (like with other iPhones) while a second line is support through a built-in eSIM chip (doesn’t require a physical SIM card).

iPhone dual SIM support includes setting one line as your primary line

You’ll be able to label each plan and choose your default line

Dual-SIM support lets you use two cellular plans on the same handset, useful for world travelers. iOS 12 indicates on the calling screen the line through which a call is coming. iMessage and FaceTime on iOS 12.1 will include new settings to define which of the two lines to use with them.

iPhone dual SIM support includes handy custom labels throughout the experience

iOS 12 makes it clear which line you’re using to call or message people

“Line priority will be able to be established on a per-contact basis, and you can set iOS to automatically use the last number used in communication with a certain contact. Contacts will need to be reassigned if a SIM is removed or no longer has service,” the report added.

To use two different plans, your iPhone must be unlocked. Otherwise, both plans must be from the same carrier. If a CDMA carrier provides the first SIM, a second SIM won’t support CDMA.

iPhone dual SIM support in China requires a special China-exclusive iPhone XS model

In China, Apple sells a special version of the dual-SIM iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max that has a special SIM Tray which can accommodate two nano SIM cards (one on each side) because eSIM is not yet supported in the county.

Other iOS 12.1 findings include group FaceTime, Memoji syncing, landscape Face ID and more, including strings that point to an upcoming iPhone X-like redesign for iPad Pro.

Are you looking forward to try dual-SIM functionality on these new phones?

Let us know in the comments!