Set up mobile data service on your Wi-Fi + Cellular model iPad

If you have a Wi-Fi + Cellular model iPad, you can sign up for a mobile data plan. This helps you stay connected when you're away from a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Use a physical SIM card from your network provider

If you set up a mobile data plan using a physical SIM card at your local network provider, then the SIM card will be activated. Just open the SIM card tray and insert the SIM card from your network provider. If you have a SIM card from your previous iPad that you would like to transfer to your new iPad, remove the SIM card from your previous iPad and insert it into the SIM card tray on your new iPad.

If you can’t connect to mobile data, go to Settings > Mobile Data and make sure mobile data is turned on.

If you need help transferring a plan, or if you use a corporate or post-paid account, you might need to contact your network provider.*

Use an eSIM

You can set up a mobile data plan on some iPad models using an eSIM. To set up a mobile data plan using an eSIM on your iPad, use eSIM Carrier Activation, transfer your plan from another iPad, join an existing iPhone mobile plan, find a new plan, use a QR code or use your network provider’s iPad app.

Find out more about mobile data on iPad

Find out which iPad model you have

Use eSIM Carrier Activation

Some network providers and worldwide service providers can use eSIM Carrier Activation to assign a new eSIM to your iPad. If an eSIM was assigned to your iPad when you bought it, turn on your iPad and follow the instructions to activate your eSIM.

If you contacted your network provider for an eSIM after you set up your iPad, and they set up eSIM Carrier Activation:

  1. When a Carrier Mobile Plan Ready to Be Installed notification appears, tap it.

  2. In the Settings app, tap Provider Mobile Data Plan Ready to Be Installed.

  3. Tap Continue.

  4. If the plan you activated replaces the plan on your physical SIM card, remove your SIM card, then restart your iPad.

Transfer your plan from another iPad

Some network providers support eSIM Quick Transfer, which transfers your SIM from your previous iPad to your new iPad without needing to contact your network providers. If you're asked to transfer your eSIM during setup, follow the onscreen instructions.

You can also transfer your eSIM from another iPad after setup:

  1. Make sure your iPad is using the latest version of iOS.

  2. Go to Settings > Mobile Data > Transfer iPad Plan.

  3. If you see a Transfer button next to the line you want, tap it.

  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to transfer service. You might need to wait a few minutes for activation to finish.

If you don't see a Transfer button, or if you can't transfer a plan, you might need to contact your network provider.*

Join an existing iPhone plan

If supported by your network provider, you can set up a mobile data plan by adding your iPad to an existing iPhone mobile plan.

  1. Make sure your iPad is using the latest version of iOS.

  2. Go to Settings > Mobile Data > Join iPhone Plan, then follow the onscreen instructions.

If you can't select Join iPhone Plan, make sure that you enabled Wi-Fi on the iPad, and that you're signed in with the same Apple ID on both your iPhone and iPad.

Find and set up a new plan

Some network providers support purchasing and setting up a mobile data plan directly on your iPad. To see a list of local network providers available, make sure location services are on. Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services and turn on Location Services.

  1. Make sure your iPad is using the latest version of iOS.

  2. Go to Settings > Mobile Data > Find a New Plan.

  3. Select a network providers from the list of local network providers.

  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to set up and activate your new mobile data plan on your iPad.

Use a QR code

To activate your eSIM using a QR code while setting up your iPad for the first time:

  1. When you get to the Set Up Mobile screen, tap Use QR code.

  2. Follow the onscreen instructions.

To activate your eSIM using a QR code after you set up your iPad:

  1. Contact your network providers to get a QR code.

  2. Open the Camera app and scan your QR code. When the Mobile Data Plan Detected notification appears, tap it.

  3. If you're using an iPad with iOS 17.4 or later, and you get a QR from your network providers in an email or from the network provider's webpage, touch and hold the QR code, then tap Add eSIM.

  4. Tap Continue.

  5. Tap Add Mobile Data Plan.

If you're asked to enter a confirmation code to activate your eSIM, enter the number that your network providers provided.

Other eSIM activation methods

Some network providers may support other eSIM activation methods to help you to set up a mobile data plan on your iPad.

Use a link

If your network providers sends you a link to download and activate your eSIM:

  1. On your iPad with iOS 17.4 or later, tap the link.

  2. When the Activate New eSIM notification appears, tap Allow.

  3. Tap Continue.

Use a network provider's app

If your network providers supports activating eSIM using an app, download your network provider's app from the App Store and follow the onscreen instructions.

Using eSIM with your iPad in China mainland

Activating a mobile data plan with eSIM in China mainland is only available on iPad (10th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular, model number A3162. All other iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad and iPad mini models in China mainland, as well as all models purchased outside of China mainland, are unable to install an eSIM from network providers in China mainland. Contact China Unicom for more details.

Find out more about using eSIM with your iPad in China mainland

Change your plan

To change or check the status of your plan, go to Settings > Mobile Data. If you set up your mobile data plan with a network provider, you might need to contact them directly to change your plan.

You can have multiple plans on your iPad by signing up with multiple network providers, adding multiple eSIM plans and inserting a SIM card in the Nano SIM tray. To switch between active plans, go to Settings > Mobile Data, then tap the plan you want to use under Mobile Plans.

Deactivate your plan

Some network providers allow you to deactivate your mobile data plan, which is either pre-paid or post-paid, on your device. To deactivate a pre-paid plan, which is contract-free, don’t renew it at the end of the month.

Post-paid plans are renewed monthly. To deactivate a post-paid plan:

  1. Go to Settings > Mobile Data.

  2. Tap the name of your network provider 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 network provider and you don't see a Manage Carrier Account button, call your network provider and ask them to deactivate your account.

If you have an iPad with Apple SIM or embedded Apple SIM

From 1 October 2022, Apple SIM technology will no longer be available for activating new mobile data plans on iPad. Contact your network provider for details on how to activate a mobile 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.

* Your iPad is subject to your wireless service provider’s policies, which may include restrictions on transferring a data plan. Contact your network provider for more details. If you aren't sure which network provider to call, go to Settings > Network provider on your iPad or remove the SIM card and check the card for the network provider's name or logo.

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