This year’s lineup of iPhones will support dual-SIM capabilities thanks to Apple’s eSIM technology, but you’ll have to wait just a bit longer to use it.
Although it was announced at Apple’s recent iPhone event, support for the eSIM embedded within the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max devices is not currently available. However, it seems that the feature will debut in iOS 12.1.
The feature first popped up in the latest beta version of iOS 12.1. If you have it installed, you can find the new eSIM settings in Settings > Cellular.
You’ll see a new option to Add Cellular Plan, which is how users will add a second line to their devices when it rolls out to the public.
This can apparently be done via QR code, or by tapping in the details of the second cellular plan manually.
In addition, there are now new options in Contacts that let users change which cellular plan or phone number they use to call or text a contact.
Of course, the feature is not widely available to all users yet. You’ll need to wait for your specific carrier to introduce eSIM support, which they’re not likely to do until iOS 12.1 launches to the general public later this fall.
Interestingly, some users in Germany who are subscribed to local carrier Deutsche Telekom appear to be able to use the new eSIM feature, according to iPhone-Ticker.de.
If you’re not with Deutsche Telekom, you can check Apple’s list of carriers that plan to support eSIM when it rolls out. In the U.S., that includes AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Benefits of Dual-SIM
Despite not being widely popular in the U.S., dual-SIM functionality has a wide range of benefits. You can, for example, have a work phone number and a personal number on the same device with Apple’s dual-SIM dual standby (DSDS) capability.
Similarly, dual-SIM capable phones are easier to travel with, since users can pop in an international or travel-based SIM fairly easily.
Apple has published a support document on its new eSIM and DSDS features. Although two numbers can be used to call and text, only one data plan can be active at one time.
The iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and the upcoming iPhone XR will all support dual-SIM capabilities. In China, devices will sport two physical SIM trays. But in regions that support it, new iPhones will rely on Apple’s proprietary eSIM technology, along with a single nano-SIM card slot.
iOS 12.1 also reintroduces support for Group FaceTime for up to 32 participants, a new real-time Depth Control slider for Portrait Mode, and new watch faces in the Apple Watch app.