Set up cellular service on iPhone
The cellular connection on your iPhone requires a SIM from a carrier; contact your carrier to set up a cellular plan.
iPhone 12 models can connect to 5G networks. See the Apple Support article Activate and use 5G with your iPhone.
Your iPhone can connect to a carrier network using a physical nano-SIM. iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and later support Dual SIM using one physical nano-SIM and one eSIM (not available in all countries or regions).
Here are some of the many ways you can use Dual SIM:
Use one number for business and another number for personal calls.
Add a local data plan when you travel to another country or region.
Have separate voice and data plans.
Note: To use two different carriers, your iPhone must be unlocked.
Install a physical nano-SIM
Insert a paper clip or SIM eject tool into the small hole of the SIM tray, then push in toward iPhone to eject the tray.
Note: The shape and orientation of the SIM tray depend on the iPhone model and your country or region.
Remove the tray from iPhone.
Place the nano-SIM in the tray. The angled corner determines the correct orientation.
Insert the tray back into iPhone.
If you previously set up a PIN on the nano-SIM, carefully enter the PIN when prompted.
WARNING: Never try to guess a SIM PIN. An incorrect guess can permanently lock your SIM, and you won’t be able to make phone calls or use cellular data through your carrier until you get a new SIM. See the Apple Support article Use a SIM PIN for your iPhone or iPad.
Set up your cellular plan with eSIM
iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and later can digitally store an eSIM provided by your carrier.
Go to Settings > Cellular, then tap Add Cellular Plan.
Do one of the following:
Set up a new plan with a QR code provided by your carrier: Position iPhone so that the QR code appears in the frame, or enter the details manually. You may be asked to enter a confirmation code provided by your carrier.
Install an assigned cellular plan: If you get a notification from your carrier that a plan was assigned to you, tap Carrier Cellular Plan Ready to Be Installed.
Transfer a SIM from your previous iPhone to your new iPhone: Choose your phone number from the list.
If you don’t see your phone number, make sure you’re signed in with the same Apple ID on both iPhone devices. Transferring a SIM to an eSIM isn’t supported by all carriers or for all cellular plans. For more info, see the Apple Support article Transfer a SIM from your previous iPhone to your new iPhone.
Tap Add Cellular Plan.
If the new plan is your second line, follow the onscreen instructions to set how you want the plans to work together.
Alternatively, you can activate your cellular plan through your carrier’s app (if supported). Go to the App Store, download your carrier’s app, then use the app to activate a cellular plan.
You can store more than one eSIM on your iPhone, but you can use only one eSIM at a time. To switch eSIMs, go to Settings > Cellular, tap the plan you want to use, then tap Turn On This Line.
If you have a nano-SIM, you can use it as your second line. Dual SIM works only if you have one physical SIM and one eSIM installed in your iPhone. See the Apple Support article Using Dual SIM with an eSIM.
Manage your cellular plans for Dual SIM
During setup on models with Dual SIM, you can choose how iPhone uses each line. To change the settings later, do the following:
Go to Settings > Cellular.
Do the following:
Tap Cellular Data, then choose a default line. To allow iPhone to use either line depending on coverage and availability, turn on Allow Cellular Data Switching.
You may incur roaming charges if Data Roaming is on and you’re outside the country or region covered by the carrier’s network.
Tap Default Voice Line, then choose a line.
Below Cellular Plans, tap a line, then change settings such as Cellular Plan Label, Wi-Fi Calling (if available from your carrier), Calls on Other Devices, or SIM PIN. The label appears in Phone, Messages, and Contacts.
When using Dual SIM, note the following:
Wi-Fi Calling must be turned on for a line to enable that line to receive calls while the other line is in use for a call. If you receive a call on one line while the other is in use for a call, and no Wi-Fi connection is available, iPhone uses the cellular data of the line that is in use for the call to receive the other line’s call. Charges may apply. The line that is in use for the call must be permitted for data use in your Cellular Data settings (either as the default line, or as the non-default line with Allow Cellular Data Switching turned on) to receive the other line’s call.
If you don’t turn on Wi-Fi Calling for a line, any incoming phone calls on that line (including calls from emergency services) go directly to voicemail (if available from your carrier) when the other line is in use; you won’t receive missed call notifications.
If you set up conditional call forwarding (if available from your carrier) from one line to another when a line is busy or not in service, the calls don’t go to voicemail; contact your carrier for setup information.
If you make a phone call from another device, such as your Mac, by relaying it through your iPhone with Dual SIM, the call is made using your default voice line.
If you start an SMS/MMS Messages conversation using one line, you can’t switch the conversation to your other line; you need to delete the conversation and start a new conversation using the other line. Also, you may incur additional charges if you send SMS/MMS attachments on the line that’s not selected for cellular data.
Instant Hotspot and Personal Hotspot use the line selected for cellular data.
Important: A SIM may be required to use cellular services when connecting to GSM networks and some CDMA networks. An iPhone activated on a CDMA wireless network can also use the SIM for connecting to a GSM network, primarily for international roaming. Your iPhone is subject to your wireless service provider’s policies, which may include restrictions on switching service providers and roaming, even after the conclusion of any required minimum service contract. Contact your wireless service provider for more details. The availability of cellular capabilities depends on the wireless network, your iPhone model, and your location.
Consider applicable data, voice, and roaming charges when managing your cellular plans, especially when you travel with iPhone. See View or change cellular settings on iPhone.
Some carriers let you unlock iPhone for use with another carrier (additional fees may apply). Contact your carrier for authorization and setup information. See the Apple Support article How to unlock your iPhone for use with a different carrier.