Use a SIM card from your carrier
If you set up a cellular data plan at your local carrier, then the SIM card will be activated. Just open the SIM-card tray and insert the SIM card from your carrier.
If you can't connect to cellular data, go to Settings > Cellular Data and make sure that cellular data is on.
Use an eSIM
You can set up a plan on your iPad, scan a QR code, or use your carrier's iPad app. Learn more about cellular data on iPad. Also, you can find out which iPad model you have.
Set up a plan on your iPad
You can set up a plan with a participating carrier worldwide.
- If you're setting up your first plan on your iPad, go to Settings > Cellular Data > Set Up Cellular Data. If you're setting up another plan on your iPad, go to Settings > Cellular Data > Add a New Plan.
- Choose a carrier. If you don’t see your preferred carrier, contact them for a SIM card or an eSIM.1 If you still need help, learn what to do.
- Choose a plan and create an account, or add your iPad to an existing plan.
- Tap Confirm.
Your plan should activate in a few moments.
Some countries and regions might restrict local residents from signing up for cellular data plans. Check with your carrier for details.
Scan a QR code
- Go to Settings > Cellular Data.
- Tap Add Cellular Plan.
- Use your iPad to scan the QR code that your carrier provided.
If you're asked to enter a confirmation code to activate the eSIM, enter the number that your carrier provided.
Use a carrier app
- Go to the App Store and download your carrier's app.
- Use the app to purchase a cellular plan.
If you have an iPad with Apple SIM or embedded Apple SIM
Beginning October 1, 2022, Apple SIM technology will no longer be available for activating new cellular data plans on iPad. Contact your carrier for details on how to activate a cellular data plan on iPad.
If you're not sure if your iPad uses Apple SIM, find your iPad model and click the link for its tech specs.
Change your plan
To change or check the status of your plan, go to Settings > Cellular Data. If you set up your cellular data plan with a carrier, you might need to contact them directly to change your plan.
You can have multiple plans on your iPad by signing up on your iPad with multiple carriers, adding multiple eSIM plans, and inserting a SIM card in the nano-SIM tray. To switch between active plans, go to Settings > Cellular Data and tap the plan you want to use under Cellular Plans.
Deactivate your plan
Your plan is either prepaid or postpaid. To deactivate a prepaid plan, which is contract free, don't renew it at the end of the month.
Postpaid plans renew monthly. To deactivate a postpaid plan:
- Go to Settings > Cellular Data.
- Tap the name of your carrier and choose not to renew your plan.
If a message says that the account type isn't supported or if you got a SIM from your carrier and you don't see a View Account button, call your carrier and ask them to deactivate your account.
Transfer your plan from one iPad to another
If you have a SIM card for your plan, follow these steps:
- Turn off both devices: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the red slider appears. Then drag the slider.
- Use the SIM-removal tool that came with your iPad to open the SIM tray on your previous iPad.
- Open the SIM tray on your new iPad. If there's a SIM card in the SIM tray, remove it.
- Insert the SIM from your previous iPad in the SIM tray of your new iPad.
- Close the tray completely and in the same orientation that you removed it (it will fit only one way).
- Turn on both devices.
It might take a few minutes for the activation to complete. If you need help transferring a plan, or if you use a corporate or post-paid account, you might need to contact your carrier.*
If your plan uses an eSIM, follow these steps:
- On the new iPad, go to Settings > Cellular Data > Set up Cellular Data.
- If you see a Transfer button next to the carrier you want, tap it. Then follow the directions to transfer service. You might need to wait a few minutes for the activation to complete.
If you don’t see a Transfer button, or if you can't transfer a plan, you might need to contact your carrier.2
- If you see 'invalid SIM' or 'no SIM' on your iPhone or iPad
- If you see No Service or Searching on your iPhone or iPad
1. eSIM on iPad is not offered in China mainland.
2. Your iPad is subject to your wireless service provider’s policies, which may include restrictions on transferring a data plan. Contact your carrier for more details. If you aren't sure which carrier to call, go to Settings > Carrier on your iPad or remove the SIM card and check the card for the carrier's name or logo.