apple iphone 14 pro hero

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The new iPhone announcements were all the rage in early September. Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to figure out if you’ll be getting an iPhone 14 device or not. There are plenty of factors to consider, but we know many of you are trying to figure out what the lack of a physical SIM card slot is all about. Let’s tell you all about the topic!

What happened to the iPhone 14 physical SIM card?

ROG Phone 2 SIM Card Easter Egg

One of the most shocking announcements at Apple’s event was the removal of physical SIM cards in the iPhone 14 series. We are very used to simply swapping SIM cards around whenever we wanted to switch phones. It was a thoughtless process, and a very effective one, too. Well, the times of SIM swapping are gone. At least in the Apple world, but we suspect this might also start becoming a trend in the Android ecosystem.

Apple has removed physical SIM card slots from the new iPhone 14 series. Instead, these new handsets will feature a couple of eSIM modules, allowing you to connect to two networks simultaneously, but only by registering the integrated eSIM to your carriers.

There is a very important factor to keep in mind, though. Only US models of the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, will get the physical SIM card slot removed. Models sold in other countries will all come with a physical SIM card, as well as two eSIMs.

Here’s another bit of very interesting information. The Chinese versions of these iPhones will still have physical dual-SIM card slots. The Chinese government isn’t a big fan of eSIM technology.

What is an eSIM?

Apple Event 2022 iphone 14 esim 2

eSIM stands for “Embedded SIM” (or Embedded Subscriber Identity Module). These are SIM cards that can’t be removed from the device. The subscriber’s carrier account needs to be registered to the phone, meaning it can be configured over the air, as opposed to physical interaction.

What other types of SIM cards are there?

  • Physical SIM: A plastic SIM card containing information that links the phone to your carrier subscription. You can remove it or replace it at will.
  • Dual-SIM: A dual-SIM phone is a device with two physical SIM card slots. This allows you to operate two networks on a single device.
  • Dual-eSIM: This is actually what the iPhone 14 series will have. A Dual-eSIM device holds two eSIMs, allowing the user to connect to a couple of carrier networks with no need for a physical card.
  • Hybrid SIM: Hybrid SIM card devices are phones that combine physical and eSIM modules. This adds a layer of flexibility and choice, allowing you to decide which technology is best for you.

SIM options on the iPhone 14 series

iPhone 14 iPhone 14 Plus iPhone 14 Pro iPhone 14 Pro Max

USA

iPhone 14

Dual-eSIM

iPhone 14 Plus

Dual-eSIM

iPhone 14 Pro

Dual-eSIM

iPhone 14 Pro Max

Dual-eSIM

China

iPhone 14

Dual Physical SIM

iPhone 14 Plus

Dual Physical SIM

iPhone 14 Pro

Dual Physical SIM

iPhone 14 Pro Max

Dual Physical SIM

Rest of the world

iPhone 14

Single Physical SIM
Dual-eSIM

iPhone 14 Plus

Single Physical SIM
Dual-eSIM

iPhone 14 Pro

Single Physical SIM
Dual-eSIM

iPhone 14 Pro Max

Single Physical SIM
Dual-eSIM

iPhone 14 iPhone 14 Plus iPhone 14 Pro iPhone 14 Pro Max

The pros and cons of eSIM technology

What’s good?

eSIMs create less trash

E Waste Recycle 1

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

eSIM technology seems new and fancy, but is there anything that makes it better? There are a few things that make it a better alternative. For starters, physical SIMs create more trash. These plastic modules need to be replaced from time to time, as well as whenever you switch carriers. Additionally, you might need to change SIMs whenever a new technology is introduced, such as 5G. This means eSIM tech is better for the environment!

It’s convenient

Convenience is a second advantage. All you need to activate an eSIM is an internet connection, which you can obtain over Wi-Fi. This means you might not need to go to a store, have a SIM card shipped, or deal with customer service representatives. At least not most of the time.

It makes switching carriers easy

Sprint Verizon T Mobile and Verizon carriers stock photo

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Additionally, eSIMs are enticing to people who want a certain level of freedom for switching between carriers. You don’t need to wait around for an eSIM, so you can always just switch carriers with a few taps, and activate an account online. You could even test one network without leaving your current one, then decide if you want to switch or not. Imagine if competing carriers started offering trials, to see how good coverage and service are in your area! Now, that’s a neat idea.

Security

eSIM modules are also more secure. This is because of their built-in nature. You can’t physically remove or replace an eSIM. If a phone is lost or stolen, it will be much harder to activate it on another line.

What’s bad?

Not all carriers support eSIM

The bad thing about eSIM technology is that, while it’s gaining adoption, it’s still not supported by all carriers. This is especially the case outside the USA. This means American iPhone 14 users will have a harder time getting service while traveling. Of course, you can always roam internationally, but it’s always nice to get a local physical SIM and pop it into a smartphone to enjoy local pricing.

You might need to call your carrier more often

iPhone 13 Pro taking a phone call

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Another inconvenience about eSIM technology is that it may sometimes require more help from your carrier. You’ll save the time it takes to get a SIM card, but switching phones can be a bit more complicated and you might have to call them up. Say you break an iPhone. Using a physical SIM card, all you had to do was pull it out of the broken iPhone and stick it into the new one. This is not the case with an eSIM.

Location tracking?

Some people worry about privacy. The best way to stop anyone from tracking your phone’s location is to pull out the SIM card and kill all services. You can’t do this with eSIM tech. You could remove the cellular plan, but we know that isn’t quite the same.

Will the lack of a physical SIM affect you?

Only USA iPhone 14 devices will omit the physical SIM card slot, and most carriers in said country support this technology. This means most Americans might not see much of a difference in terms of day-to-day use. After a bit of a wonky activation experience, users will enjoy the same iOS and service experience they know and love.

The only real issue we can see arising is the inconvenience eSIM tech might bring to travelers. Many countries have little to no eSIM support, and a physical SIM will no longer be an option for traveling US citizens. Of course, the same applies to frequent phone buyers, who might want to conveniently swap SIM cards at will.

FAQs

Yes! Apple calls this feature eSIM Quick Transfer, and you can find it by going to Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plan.

Sadly, eSIM transfer apps and services aren’t a standard. This means that Apple’s Quick Transfer service only works on Apple devices. You’ll have to rely on your carrier to switch between Android and iOS devices. Call them up!

You can store up to eight eSIMs in one iPhone 14 device, but only two of these can be active simultaneously.

Of course! You can always get an iPhone 14 device from another country and keep enjoying a physical SIM card slot. This might end up costing you more, but it might be worth it to some of you.



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