Apple has launched the first major update to iOS 12, with new feature of eSIM technology that allows the phone owners of an iPhone XR, iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max to use SIM based on software, along with their normal physical SIM card. ‘Apple SIM’ has been integrated in the iPad range since the introduction of the iPad Air 2, while the Apple Watch 3 also supports it. However, these are the first iPhones to support the functionality.
Several Android devices already support eSIM, but just as has been the case with earlier innovations like Near Field Communication (NFC), the arrangement of Apple’s hardware and software encourages mainstream adoption.
Apple SIM This addition will allow users to switch between work and personal numbers without having to physically change SIM cards, while international roamers will be able to choose a tariff from a local provider – provided they support Apple SIM.
This is not only suitable as it negates the requirement to carry several handsets or SIMs, but it can also save money as mobile customers can shop around for the best deal when travelling, or test out a network before committing to a long-term deal.
EE is the only UK operator to have confirmed support for Apple SIM on the iPhone – it is already supports Apple SIM on the iPad and on Apple Watch.
In the meantime, Truphone offers an eSIM that can be used across 33 countries.
Though there have been teething problems in the US. Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint were all due to offer Apple SIM from day one but have delayed launch due to a number of compatibility issues. Of the three, Verizon has the biggest issues with PCMag reporting that when a Verizon SIM is pushed into the ‘secondary’ position, coverage reverts to 2G.
This means no data services and in some places no coverage at all as 30 per cent of Verizon cell sites are 4G-only.