Using Dual SIM with an eSIM

An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to use a mobile plan from your service provider without having to use a physical nano-SIM. Find out how to set up and use Dual SIM.1

How can you use Dual SIM?

  • Use one number for business and another number for personal calls.

  • Add a local data plan when you're travelling outside the country or region.

  • Have separate voice and data plans.

Both your phone numbers can make and receive voice and FaceTime calls and send and receive messages using iMessage, SMS and MMS.2 Your iPhone can use one cellular data network at a time.

If you want to use 5G with Dual SIM on your iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max, make sure that you have iOS 14.5 or later.

What you need

To use two different carriers, your iPhone must be unlocked. Otherwise, both plans must be from the same carrier. If a CDMA carrier provides your first SIM, your second SIM won't support CDMA. Contact your service provider for more information.

If you have an enterprise or corporate mobile service plan, check with your company administrator to see whether they support this feature.

Set up another mobile plan on your iPhone

All iPhone models that support eSIM can have multiple eSIMs and use Dual SIM with two active SIMs at the same time.

You can use Dual SIM by using a physical SIM and an eSIM. iPhone 13 models and later also support two active eSIMs. iPhone models without a physical SIM tray support two active eSIMs.

Find out how to activate a mobile plan on an eSIM.

Label your plans

After your second plan has been activated, label your plans. For example, you can label one plan Business and the other plan Personal.

The labels help when choosing which phone number to use for making or receiving calls and messages, to designate a number for mobile data, and to assign a number to your contacts so you know which number to use.

If you change your mind later, you can amend your labels by going to Settings, tapping either Cellular or Mobile Data, and then tapping the number for the label you want to change. Then tap Cellular Plan Label and select a new label or enter a custom label.


Set your default number

Choose a number to use when you call or send a message to someone who isn't in your Contacts app. Choose which mobile plans you want to use for iMessage and FaceTime. You can choose either or both numbers.


On this screen, choose a number to be your default, or you can choose which number will be used for mobile data only. Your other number will be your default one. If you want your iPhone to use mobile data from both plans, depending on coverage and availability, turn on Allow Mobile Data Switching.

Use two phone numbers for calls, messages and data

Now that your iPhone has been set up with two phone numbers, here's how to use them.

Let your iPhone remember which number to use

When you call one of your contacts, you don't need to choose which number to use every time. By default, your iPhone uses the same number that you used the last time you called that contact. If you haven't called that contact, your iPhone will use your default number. You can also specify which number to use for your calls with a contact. Follow these steps:

  1. Tap the contact.

  2. Tap Preferred Mobile Plan.

  3. Tap the number that you want to use with that contact.


Make and receive calls

You can make and receive phone calls with either phone number.

When you're on a call, if the service provider for your other phone number supports Wi-Fi calling, you can answer incoming calls on your other number. When you're on a call using a line that isn't your designated line for mobile data, you need to turn on Allow Mobile Data Switching to receive calls from your other line. If you ignore the call and have voicemail set up with your service provider, you'll receive a missed-call notification and the call will go to voicemail. Check with your service provider for Wi-Fi calling availability and find out whether additional fees or data usage applies from your data provider.

If you're on a call and your other line shows No Service, either your carrier doesn't support Wi-Fi calling or you don't have Wi-Fi calling turned on.3 When you're on a call, an incoming call on your other phone number will go to voicemail if you set up voicemail with your carrier. When you're on a call, an incoming call on your other phone number will go to voicemail if you set up voicemail with your carrier.4

Switch phone numbers for a call

You can switch phone numbers before you make a call. If you're calling someone in your Favourites list, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Info buttonInfo button.

  2. Tap the current phone number.

  3. Tap your other number.

If you're using the keypad, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the phone number.

  2. Tap the phone number, near the top of the screen.

  3. Tap the number that you want to use.

Send messages with iMessage and SMS/MMS

You can use iMessage or SMS/MMS to send messages with either phone number.5 You can choose a number to use before or after starting a conversation.

Choose a number before sending an iMessage or SMS/MMS message

  1. Open Messages.

  2. Tap the New button, in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

  3. Enter your contact's name.

  4. Tap the current phone number.

  5. Tap the number that you want to use.


Switch numbers during a conversation

  1. Tap the number you're using, near the top of the screen.

  2. Choose the number you want to use instead.


Find out about Dual SIM status icons

The icons in the status bar at the top of the screen show the signal strength of your two service providers. Find out what the status icons mean.

You can see more status icons when you open Control Centre.


When Service provider 1 is in use, the other line will show No Service.


The status bar shows that the device is connected to Wi-Fi and Carrier 2 is using Wi-Fi Calling.


With Allow Mobile Data Switching turned on, the status bar shows that Service Provider 1 is using 5G, and Service Provider 2 is using the mobile data of Service Provider 1 and has Wi-Fi calling enabled.

Change your mobile data number

One number at a time can use mobile data. To change which number uses mobile data, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings.

  2. Tap either mobile or Mobile Data.

  3. Tap Mobile Data.

  4. Tap the number that you want to be using mobile data.


If you turn on Allow Mobile Data Switching, then while you're on a voice call on your voice-only number, that number will automatically switch to using voice and data.6 This lets you use both voice and data while on the call.

If you turn off Allow Mobile Data Switching and you're active on a voice number that isn't your designated mobile data number, then mobile data won't work when you're on the call.

To turn on Allow Mobile Data Switching, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings.

  2. Tap either mobile or Mobile Data.

  3. Tap Mobile Data.

  4. Turn on Allow Mobile Data Switching.

Manage mobile data settings

To change your mobile data settings for each of your plans, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings.

  2. Tap either mobile or Mobile Data.

  3. Tap the number that you want to change.

  4. Tap each option and set it as you normally would.


Learn more

  1. eSIM on iPhone is not offered in China mainland. In Hong Kong and Macao, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation) and iPhone XS feature eSIM. Learn about using Dual SIM with two nano-SIM cards in China mainland, Hong Kong and Macao.

  2. This uses Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) technology, which means that both SIMs can make and receive calls.

  3. Or if you're using iOS 12, update to iOS 13 or later to receive calls when you're using your other number.

  4. 4. If data roaming is turned on for the number that uses mobile data, then Visual Voicemail and MMS will be disabled on your voice-only number.

  5. Additional fees may apply. Check with your service provider.

  6. Your data line will be switched automatically for the duration of your call. This mobile data switching won't work if you're currently using Data Roaming. Check with your service provider for availability and to find out if additional fees apply.

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