No more fumbling with a tiny SIM card whenever you switch phones or carriers. An eSIM card is a digital SIM card. It’s purely electronic. Like a SIM card, an eSIM lets you activate a phone plan on your device. But unlike a SIM card, an eSIM is a part of your device’s hardware and can be updated remotely.
If you have a compatible phone, download your carrier’s app or scan the QR code provided by your carrier to install an eSIM. If your carrier doesn’t support eSIMs, all you have to do is get your phone unlocked and buy an eSIM from another provider.
Once your new digital SIM card is installed, buy a data plan online and activate the card. That’s it! No trips to the store. No waiting in line to buy a new SIM card when you travel abroad. It’s that simple.
List of eSIM compatible phones
If you want to get a virtual SIM card, you’re probably wondering “Is my phone eSIM compatible?” Here’s a list of eSIM compatible phones as of 2023:
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Max
- iPhone 12 Max Pro
- Phone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone SE (2020)
- iPad Air (3rd Generation)
- iPad Pro (3rd Generation)
- iPad Mini (5th Generation)
Phones that do NOT support eSIMs:
- iPhones from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao (except for the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone SE 2020, and iPhone XS).
- All Galaxy FE models and Galaxy phones from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
- Samsung phones from South Korea except for the Galaxy S23, S23+, S23 Ultra, Z Flip4, and Z Fold4.
- Huawei P40 Pro+ and all Huawei phones from China.
Get an eSIM plan in 4 simple steps:
1. Verify that you have an eSIM compatible phone
Before you buy, make sure your device supports eSIMs.
2. Select your country
Choose the destination you’re planning on visiting.
3. Select your data package
Choose a package with the amount of data you’ll need for the length of your trip.
4. Pick a provider
Visit the provider’s website to buy the data plan you want.
Unlock amazing features with an eSIM
More secure than a SIM card
Easy to get
Choose a data package online, install your eSIM card on your phone like an app, and start using it right away—no need to visit a store in person!
Many eSIM providers offer global packages with phone service in dozens of countries, so you don’t have to buy a new SIM card every time you travel. Explore regional packages, pay-as-you-go plans, frequent flyer offers and more.
How to activate an eSIM card
Not all carriers support eSIM Quick Transfer, and you need to be using iOS 16 or later for it to work.
Explore popular providers
to find the best eSIM for international travel
Flexiroam provides seamless eSIM travel connectivity in 150+ countries. Stay connected without physical SIM cards using reliable, cost-effective plans and innovative technology.
Airalo is a eSIM travel marketplace offering a wide range of international SIM cards. With coverage in 190+ countries, Airalo provides convenient, instant, and affordable access to mobile data connectivity without physical SIMs.
Nomad offers hassle-free global eSIM solutions. Stay connected anywhere with reliable mobile data. Get an eSIM and travel around the world with Nomad's wide coverage and flexible, cost-effective connectivity.
Other popular international eSIM travel providers
Are there any drawbacks to using an eSIM card?
Virtual SIM cards are super convenient, but there are some limitations. Not all phones are compatible with eSIMs. Although more eSIM compatible phones will likely hit the market in the future, you may have to invest in a more expensive model for now.
Even if you have a phone with eSIM-compatible hardware, your carrier may not offer eSIM plans. (Of course, an easy workaround is to get your phone unlocked and buy an eSIM card from another carrier.)
Switching phones might also be troublesome. Popping a physical SIM card out of one device and inserting it into another is relatively simple. But switching an eSIM to a new device isn’t as easy if your phone dies all of a sudden. On top of this, some carriers are still working out the bugs when it comes to changing networks with virtual SIM cards.
But convenience is hard to ignore. Available since 2016, virtual SIM cards aren’t new to the market and are steadily growing in popularity. Drawbacks notwithstanding, it looks like eSIMs are here to stay.
FAQs about eSIMs
eSIM stands for Embedded Subscriber Identity Module, and iSIM stands for integrated Subscriber Identity Module. The biggest difference between the two is that an eSIM is a chip with a dedicated spot in the phone’s hardware, while an iSIM is built into the modem in the phone’s processor and doesn’t require as much dedicated space.
Functionally, you won’t notice a difference between an eSIM and an iSIM. Both free up space normally occupied by a physical SIM card, allowing for upgraded parts or a more compact design.
Find out how to avoid roaming charges on an iPhone with an eSIM plus how to turn off roaming on an iPhone.
Find out how to avoid roaming charges on Android with an eSIM plus how to turn off roaming on an Android phone.
Wondering if eSIMs are good for travel? Here’s what you need to know about how an eSIM works and the pros and cons involved.