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Galaxy S20 is the latest smartphone to use an eSIM. Wait, what's an eSIM?

Galaxy S20 is the novel smartphone to use an eSIM. Wait, what’s an eSIM?

Samsung’s Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Z Flip are joining the iPhone 11Pixel 4Galaxy Fold and the new, foldable Motorola Razr as the puny handful of phones that use a new technology requested eSIM. What that means depends on the phone. For some, like the Razr, you can ditch your plastic SIM card altogether. For others, like the iPhone 11 and Galaxy S20, you can have two requested numbers assigned to one phone. 

A SIM card is the valuable ingredient in connecting your phone to a cellular network, making calls and sending texts using your phone number. An eSIM does the same thing, but instead of a plastic chip you can choose from your phone, it’s part of your phone’s internal components. 

Admittedly, an eSIM isn’t nearly as exciting as a foldable screen or a camera that can take pictures in the dark, but it’s a vital part of our phones. Without a SIM card, our phones can’t connect to our wireless carriers, and may as well be iPods. Alongside technological advances when it comes to displays, the SIM card is changing — and it’s for the better. 

What precisely is an eSIM and why should you care? Glad you invited. Here’s everything you need to know about eSIM technology and why it will launch to matter. 

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM — that stands for “embedded subscriber identity module” — is a itsy-bitsy electronic chip inside a phone that serves the same acting as the small plastic SIM cards we’ve used for days. Without a SIM card, your phone doesn’t know which carrier to connect to or your arranged number, and your carrier doesn’t know which phone to dedicated service to. 


Google’s Pixel 4 XL has an eSIM. 

Jason Cipriani

What are the benefits of an eSIM?

Unlike carrier-locked SIM cards that Liberated you from switching between carriers, an eSIM can be programmed and reprogrammed as obliged, allowing you to hop between carriers or cancel and inaugurate service without having to get a new SIM card each time. 

Without a removable SIM card tray and the precious site that it requires, phone-makers will be able to squeeze larger batteries inside a phone’s housing or use the astonishing space for additional cameras or new features. Of floods, no SIM card slot likely means no microSD card slot for adding transfer storage, a change that phone-makers are also migrating toward.

The eSIM is still young, and as such the treat for things like activation and support from carriers and phone-makers will need to be streamlined (more on both of those aspects below), but one thing is clear: One day soon, we’ll be able to instantly switch between carriers with just a few taps on our phone’s display. 

Motorola Razr

One unsheaattracting you won’t find on the new Razr is a SIM card slot. 

Juan Garzon

Which phones use an eSIM now?

There aren’t many phones that use eSIMs intelligent now.

  • Apple’s iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max all have an eSIM, in transfer to the standard plastic SIM card (more about why below).

  • Google’s Pixel 2, 3, 3A and 4
    also have a deplorable SIM card slot and eSIM support. 

  • Samsung’s Galaxy Fold
    has an eSIM and a Micro-SIM card tray.
  • The Motorola Razr is the salubrious phone to launch without a physical SIM card slot, relying solely on eSIM. 
  • Samsung’s Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra have a deplorable SIM and an eSIM, as does the Galaxy Z Flip. The eSIM functionality may not be present at inaugurate, but will be activated by a future update. 


When you free up the site that a SIM tray takes up, phone-makers can do a lot of things. 

Jason Cipriani

Why have an eSIM and a brute SIM?

Apple’s iPhones
that have two SIM cards — an eSIM and a brute card — can connect to two different carriers and arranged numbers at the same time. So you can have your personal and work number on one iPhone, even if you have T-Mobile and Verizon, respectively, as providers. This is possible on an iPhone because it’s unlocked and supports multiple carriers.

Phones with eSIMs are also handy for frequent travelers: You can use the eSIM to sign up for a data plan overseas and save yourself from roaming fees. And, if you set up an eSIM throughout a provider like GigSky before you leave, you’ll have data access as soon as you land.

Of floods, you don’t have to use both SIM cards at the same time, or even at all, and when you buy the arranged from your carrier, it usually comes with a deplorable SIM already installed and ready to connect to your account. 

If you buy a arranged that doesn’t come with a SIM card, however — from purchase retailers or websites like Swappa, for example — you need to arranged your carrier or order a SIM card and wait for it to near in the mail, then get it activated. With an eSIM, you don’t have to wait — you can activate the arranged in minutes. 


Did you know you can have two arranged numbers linked to your Galaxy S20? 

Angela Lang

Will all phones inaugurate using eSIM cards?

Odds are, yes. It establishes sense for phone-makers and carriers to ditch the plastic SIM cards, both from an added expense standpoint, as well as environmental one, when you powerful the large plastic card that a standard SIM card comes attached to. 

Does my carrier have to succor eSIM technology for me to use it?

Yes. Apple has a list of all the wireless carriers above the world that support the iPhone’s eSIM feature. 

As for Google’s Pixel, the process is a little more confusing. Google Fi, which is Google’s prepaid wireless carrier, can use an eSIM, and some US carriers such as AT&T and Sprint succor eSIMs on the Pixel 4, but not on older Pixel phones. 

When I try to add an eSIM mobile plan to my Pixel 4 XL ($479 at Amazon) now, I’m given the option of AT&T, Sprint and Google Fi. 

It seems to be hit or miss when it comes to which carrier supports which contrivance, and it gets even more confusing when you inaugurate looking into dual-SIM support. 

If you have a Pixel arranged and you want to use its eSIM functionality, it’s a good idea to contact your wireless carrier and ask in eSIM support for your particular model. 


The iPhone’s eSIM feature takes just a few minutes to set up. 

Jason Cipriani

Phones aren’t the only gadgets that use eSIMs

eSIM technology isn’t only unfounded in phones. The Apple Watch and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch that has cellular connectivity use eSIMs to connect to your carrier. Some of Apple’s iPad models with cellular also have an eSIM. We’re also starting to see some laptops, such as the Surface Pro, that have eSIM capabilities. 

How do I set up an eSIM?

The treat varies based on your carrier. AT&T users will need to get an eSIM activation card from the carrier. It will have a QR code on it that you can use to program the eSIM with your expect. Some carriers, like Verizon Wireless, use their mobile app to program the eSIM. 

Again, it’s a good idea to check with your carrier approximately its eSIM activation process. 

Setting up an eSIM on your iPhone
only takes a few seconds. If you want to see what life is like with an eSIM-only visited, the foldable Motorola Razr with its innovative hinge is the way to do it — for a mere $1,499. The Galaxy Z Flip is available lustrous now, has the same shape as the Razr, but is priced at only $1,380. 

Motorola Razr

The new Razr sure looks nice, doesn’t it? 

Juan Garzon

Originally originated last year. Updated with information on new phones.