Don’t be afraid of eSIMs for smartphones

Jim Rossman

I learned a good lesson this week on my iPhone.

Rather than a reader asking a question, this week’s topic is one I bring to the table.

I’ve been testing Apple’s new iPhone 14 Pro for the past few months, and it’s time to give it back.

In previous years, this wouldn’t have been a problem: straighten a paperclip, push it into a slot in the SIM card tray, take out my SIM card, and put it back in my phone.

The lifespan of SIM cards means you can use any phone you want as long as the SIM card fits inside.

What is a sim card? It’s a small memory card that contains your phone number. Users are free to take their SIM card to any compatible phone, and it just works.

Over the past few years, Apple and other phone manufacturers, along with cellular service providers, have introduced a feature called eSIM, or electronic SIM, which isn’t a physical SIM card at all. Instead, it’s a small memory built into the phone’s motherboard that stores phone number information.

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eSIMs were an interesting feature, but since I had a SIM card in my phone, I pretty much ignored it — until this year.

When Apple introduced the iPhone 14 models, it casually announced that the phones would only use eSIM. I didn’t care much for this announcement until my review of the iPhone 14 Pro arrived and I started setting up.

During the initial setup, I was asked if I wanted to transfer a number to the new phone. I answered yes, and was warned that my phone number would be transferred to the new iPhone’s eSIM and my old SIM would be deactivated.

At that moment I realized I was entering the world of eSIM and wasn’t quite sure what that meant. I was convinced that in a few months, when it came time to send the phone back to Apple, I would have to go to an AT&T store and get a new SIM card.

Turns out, swapping eSIMs is easy. I didn’t really remember it, but my iPhone 13 Pro Max is eSIM compatible. Transferring the eSIM took about two minutes, and I didn’t have to go to an AT&T store or even talk to a support agent. I found all the information on AT&T’s website.

I logged into the Bring Your Own Device page and then chose to transfer my number to a new phone.

You will need to connect both phones to Wi-Fi, because the transfer takes place over the Internet.

The lesson here is not to be afraid of eSIMs. It turned out to be a breeze and almost as easy to move as a physical SIM card.

Jim Rossman writes for the Dallas Morning News. may be accessed at

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