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iPhone 14 eSIM: How to transfer your number to Apple’s newest iPhone

Apple’s iPhone 14 lineup has a bunch of new features, ranging from satellite connectivity to upgraded cameras and on the Pro models, an always-on display, complete with what Apple’s calling the Dynamic Island. 

But the four new phones also have another feature that’s going to change how you transfer your phone number over to the iPhone 14. Instead of a small plastic SIM card, Apple has gone all in on using an eSIM. There isn’t even a SIM card tray on the iPhone 14 at all; it just doesn’t exist. 

If you upgrade to the new iPhone 14, the process for converting your SIM card to an eSIM will vary, but in my early experience, the process is straightforward and simple. Below I’ll explain what an eSIM is, and then walk you through how to set it up. 

Also: The worst thing about an eSIM-only iPhone

What is an eSIM?

A SIM card is used by phone makers and wireless carriers as a form of a handshake that lets the carrier know which phone you’re using, and in turn, it tells your phone which phone number and carrier to use. 

An eSIM is the digital version of the small plastic cards and can be programmed and reprogrammed as many times as required. In fact, the iPhone 14 can store up to 8 different eSIMs, which is handy if you frequently travel or have multiple business lines. 

For the curious eSIM stands for “embedded subscriber identity module.”


Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

How to set up your iPhone 14’s eSIM

The setup process for the iPhone 14 makes transitioning from a physical SIM to an eSIM a simple process. When you order your iPhone, your carrier and phone number are linked to that device. So, in theory, your iPhone 14 should come ready to go through the eSIM Carrier Activation process. 

If that’s the case for you, you’ll see a screen similar to what’s in the image above, asking you to confirm that you want to activate your phone number on your iPhone, and Apple will take care of the rest. The process took about a minute to complete for me, but that will vary depending on how busy Apple and your carrier’s servers are at the time. 

If you skipped past transferring your number over to your phone during the setup process, you can still transfer your number and eSIM to the iPhone 14. To do that, open the Settings app, then tap Cellular > Set Up Cellular then follow the prompts. 

Also: Here’s how the major carriers are handling the iPhone 14 eSIM

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June Wan/ZDNET

What to do if you’re switching from an Android phone

The process for switching from an Android phone with a physical or eSIM to an iPhone 14 and eSIM will vary based on your carrier and whether or not your number was assigned an eSIM when you ordered your phone. 

If you run into any issues, or aren’t prompted to transfer your number to your phone during the initial setup process, you’ll need to contact your carrier’s customer service department to get a QR code. You’ll then scan that QR code using your iPhone to add your eSIM.

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