The iPhone 11 line features dual SIM capabilities through the use of a physical Nano-SIM card and an integrated eSIM.
The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max all include support for using two phone numbers. This is accomplished through a standard physical Nano-SIM card and an embedded electronic SIM (eSIM) chip inside the phone.
How dual SIM works on iPhone 11
The dual SIM feature allows iPhone 11 users to have two separate phone numbers that can both make and receive calls and text messages. Some key aspects:
- One physical Nano-SIM card slot
- Embedded eSIM chip inside the phone
- Ability to activate the eSIM through your carrier with a QR code
- Support for using one number for calling and one for data
- Separate contacts list and call/text history for each number
Activating eSIM on iPhone 11 in 4 Steps
Activating cellular service on the eSIM in an iPhone 11 is straightforward:
- Contact your carrier to confirm eSIM support and purchase a cellular plan
- Download your carrier’s app or go to their website
- Scan the on-screen QR code with your iPhone camera
- Follow the activation process in the carrier’s app/site
Once completed, you now have two active phone numbers – one physical SIM and one eSIM line. You can customize which number is used for calling, texting, and cellular data.
eSIM vs Physical SIM Difference
The key difference between an eSIM and regular SIM card lies in the method of activation:
- eSIM: Embedded directly into the phone during manufacturing. Activated wirelessly through QR code scanning rather than swapping out SIM cards.
- Physical SIM: Removable plastic card that slides into the SIM tray. Activated by inserting into a device.
Both eSIM and physical SIM allow normal cellular service – calls, texts, and mobile data. But eSIM offers more convenience since it doesn’t require a SIM card swap or visiting a carrier store for activation.
Benefits of iPhone 11 eSIM
Using an eSIM on iPhone 11 provides some nice benefits that aren’t possible with just a single physical SIM:
Use Two Phone Numbers on One iPhone
The dual SIM feature lets you have separate personal and work phone numbers or have numbers for traveling between different countries all on the same device. No need to swap SIM cards or carry a second phone.
Customize Data Usage
You can assign data usage to just one line. This allows you to optimize performance by designating the eSIM line for calling/texting and the physical SIM for high-speed data.
Easy Carrier Switching
Switching between carriers is simplified with eSIM since activations happen wirelessly. You can quickly set up service with a new carrier and test performance without needing multiple SIM cards.
If your physical SIM card is ever lost, damaged, or stolen, you still have cellular and data access through the eSIM line. This provides redundancy.
Does iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max have eSIM?
Yes, both the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have eSIM capability in addition to the standard physical Nano-SIM card.
The Pro models work the same way – simply activate service on the eSIM through your carrier after purchasing an additional cellular plan. Then you can use the two lines however you choose.
So all 2019 iPhone models – the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max – feature dual SIM with eSIM.
A Quick Recap on eSIM for iPhone 11 Models:
- iPhone 11 – eSIM + 1 Nano-SIM slot
- iPhone 11 Pro – eSIM + 1 Nano-SIM slot
- iPhone 11 Pro Max – eSIM + 1 Nano-SIM slot
This allows two active phone numbers on the same iPhone 11 device.
How to Get eSIM on Older iPhones
eSIM technology was first introduced to iPhones in 2018 with the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
Any iPhone model older than 2018 does not have an eSIM chip. Here is a breakdown by release year:
- 2018+ iPhones – Feature eSIM standard
- 2017 and Older iPhones – No eSIM, physical SIM card only
So you will need an iPhone XS or newer model to be able to activate and use eSIM. The older devices only allow one SIM card without dual SIM capabilities.
Key Takeaways on iPhone 11 eSIM
- All 2019 iPhone 11 models (iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max) include eSIM support
- eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality along with the physical Nano-SIM card
- iPhone users must contact and activate service through their carrier to use the eSIM
- Major benefits are two phone numbers, easier carrier switching, and enhanced security
- iPhone XS/XR (2018 models) also featured first eSIM introduction. 2017 and earlier models do not.
Frequently Asked Questions about iPhone 11 eSIM
- Does the basic iPhone 11 have eSIM?
Yes, the regular iPhone 11 supports eSIM in addition to one physical SIM.
- Do both SIMs work at the same time on iPhone 11?
Yes, both lines can make calls, send texts, and use data simultaneously.
- Can I use eSIM for international travel on iPhone 11?
Yes, you can purchase an international eSIM data plan and use dual SIM when traveling overseas without swapping cards.
- How do I activate eSIM on my iPhone 11?
Contact your carrier, download their app, scan the on-screen QR code using the camera, and follow the setup prompts.
- Does iPhone 11 eSIM support 5G networks?
Yes, iPhone 11 models with eSIM work on 5G networks from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and other carriers.
- Is eSIM safer than a physical SIM card?
Yes. If you ever lose your SIM card, you still have connectivity through the eSIM line. It can’t be physically removed from the phone.
- Can I use eSIM for business and physical SIM for personal on my iPhone?
Yes, the dual SIM flexibility lets you assign lines however you want – personal, business, travel, etc.
- Does the iPhone 11 Pro have eSIM?
Yes, both iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have eSIM capability.
- Will removing physical SIM disable eSIM on iPhone 11?
No, both lines operate independently. Removing or swapping the physical SIM does not impact the eSIM whatsoever.
- Can I use two eSIMs instead of a physical SIM in my iPhone 11?
No, one eSIM and one physical SIM is the maximum. Two active eSIMs is not currently possible.
- Is eSIM transferable to other iPhones?
Activated eSIM lines can be transferred to other iPhone XS models and newer during setup. Older iPhones do not support transferred eSIM service.
- How many cellular plans can I use on iPhone 11?
Two – the maximum amount supported is one physical SIM plan and one eSIM plan for dual SIM.
- Will an eSIM reduce iPhone cellular performance?
No. Cellular communication performance is identical since an eSIM uses the exact same mobile modem hardware.
- Can I get 5G service on my iPhone eSIM plan?
Yes, eSIM plans work perfectly fine with 5G connections on supported iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models.
- Is there any downside to using eSIM instead of physical SIM?
No major downside. eSIM may involve a few more activation steps but provides more flexibility compared to single SIM devices.
- How do I deactivate my iPhone 11’s eSIM?
You will need to contact your carrier and request they remove cellular service from the eSIM line. This will render it inactive until setting up a new plan.
- If I factory reset my iPhone 11 can I reuse existing eSIM?
Yes, your eSIM line will automatically reconnect after a factory reset once you enter your original wireless account login credentials during setup after the reset.
- Can I use eSIM on an unlocked iPhone 11 model?
Yes, eSIM works on locked carrier models as well as SIM-free unlocked iPhone 11 models. But you do need to activate it with a carrier before it can be used.
- Can I set up two eSIMs from the same carrier on my iPhone 11?
No, most carriers only allow you to set up one line per eSIM. Some do enable a personal and business eSIM line, but two fully independent lines is not something directly offered.
- Does dual SIM drain more iPhone battery?
Having two active cellular lines at once does use slightly more battery power. However, in normal usage conditions, the difference should only be 1-3% per hour if aggressively using both lines.
All iPhone 11 models feature built-in eSIM technology that works alongside the existing Nano-SIM card to enable dual SIM capabilities. This allows iPhone users to have two separate phone numbers active on the same device. eSIM makes managing multiple lines easier than having to swap physical SIM cards. It enables distinct personal and business lines, facilitates travel, and provides contingency connectivity if your regular SIM card is ever unavailable. Both SIMs can make calls, send SMS messages, and use data simultaneously. Setup does require contacting your carrier and going through some simple activation steps. But once up and running, iPhone 11 owners can take advantage of functionality and flexibility that isn’t possible limited to just a single SIM.