Tips: How to use Apple's eSIM technology in the iPhone XR or iPhone XS with GigSky

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2018
As carriers continue to add support for Apple's eSIM technology, using apps from the App Store to get the second number set up is also an option. AppleInsider walks you through how to use the Gigsky app to start using eSIM without having to shlep to a carrier's local store.

Dual carriers in Control Center using eSIM
Dual carriers in Control Center using eSIM


An eSIM is simply a virtual SIM card found on the latest iPhones. While the hardware included support for it from the get-go in the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, it wasn't made active until the iOS 12.1 update rolled out.

Using eSIM functionality is pretty simple, especially if you can avoid your carrier. Carrier support is still somewhat limited which is why the ability to activate a separate line or data plan using an app from the App Store is all the better, which is what we did.




Setting up your eSIM

The main interface for eSIM is located in Settings, within the Cellular sub-category. About halfway down you can add a cellular plan. Tapping this allows you to scan a code provided by your carrier, but in our case of using an app, this is unnecessary as setup can be completed entirely through the app itself.

To kick things off, we downloaded the GigSky app from the App Store. There are more options available, so if GigSky doesn't have coverage in your area, feel free to scout around for another carrier.

GigSky data plans
GigSky data plans


After installing the app, we created an account and bought the 30-day 5GB plan to use -- just in time for us to head to CES.

As soon as you buy a plan, the plan installation wizard appears, guiding you through the process of configuring your new service.

Apple's eSIM setup process
Apple's eSIM setup process


In the case of GigSky, we are using this plan solely for data and not for calls so after we named our line "GigSky Plan 4", we selected to use that plan "for cellular data only". This lets us use Verizon for our calls and SMS with GigSky for data.

Now you're all set! You should see two sets of bars in the top right corner signifying both data plans reception. When you access Control Center, you should see both carriers listed in the top left.

Additional settings

This alternate data plan is raring to go, but if you want to toggle a few more settings in the future, you can.

Cellular settings
Cellular settings


Head back to that Cellular panel in Settings and you should now see your primary line and the eSIM line under "Cellular Plans".

Tapping on the GigSky option -- or whatever provider you chose -- lets you change the label, toggle it on/off, and remove it completely. Whenever you remove a plan, if you are using it as a phone line, iOS lets you automatically notify your contacts that your number has changed.

Default data plans
Default data plan


Also available to tinker with, is the default plans for both voice and data. That means we can choose our Verizon account or the GigSky plan for our default cellular data.

More options, better service

The idea of being able to toggle on a second line at will is incredibly enticing for many. Personally, whenever my Verizon account loses data I enable my GigSky data and rely on their service instead. It is also handy to add some data to my phone when I hit the data limit on my Verizon plan.

It enables people to run their businesses from a sole device and travel without worrying about high bills. Carrier in the support in the US will continue to expand, but even then just buying a line from the App Store is even easier.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    If you have an iPhone that is locked to a carrier, you can only use the eSim option to activate a second line from that carrier, correct? But if I have an unlocked iPhone, then I could use eSim with two completely different carriers, say, AT&T and T-Mobile, if I choose?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    rcfarcfa Posts: 761member
    Seeing that one can store multiple “SIM”s  worth of eSIM information on the iPhone and switch between them, I wonder, if it’s possible to have two eSIM accounts active, instead of one eSIM and one physical SIM. After all, why would the iPhone care where the subscriber info is stored, in either way it requires to “connections”.

    After all, its possible to use either as the primary line, or even to assign them names that imply no rank.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 231member, editor
    tenchi211 said:
    If you have an iPhone that is locked to a carrier, you can only use the eSim option to activate a second line from that carrier, correct? But if I have an unlocked iPhone, then I could use eSim with two completely different carriers, say, AT&T and T-Mobile, if I choose?
    I have a Verizon iPhone XS Max, which I believe is locked, but I had no issues activating the eSIM with GigSky.
    watto_cobratenchi211
  • Reply 4 of 8
    tenchi211 said:
    If you have an iPhone that is locked to a carrier, you can only use the eSim option to activate a second line from that carrier, correct? But if I have an unlocked iPhone, then I could use eSim with two completely different carriers, say, AT&T and T-Mobile, if I choose?
    I have a Verizon iPhone XS Max, which I believe is locked, but I had no issues activating the eSIM with GigSky.
    Except Verizon iPhones aren’t locked. You can use Verizon iPhones with any GSM carriers.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    rcfa said:
    Seeing that one can store multiple “SIM”s  worth of eSIM information on the iPhone and switch between them, I wonder, if it’s possible to have two eSIM accounts active, instead of one eSIM and one physical SIM. After all, why would the iPhone care where the subscriber info is stored, in either way it requires to “connections”.

    After all, its possible to use either as the primary line, or even to assign them names that imply no rank.
    Only one eSIM can be active at a time. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 8
    tenchi211 said:
    If you have an iPhone that is locked to a carrier, you can only use the eSim option to activate a second line from that carrier, correct? But if I have an unlocked iPhone, then I could use eSim with two completely different carriers, say, AT&T and T-Mobile, if I choose?
    Depends on what carrier. If it’s an att iPhone then you can only use sim/eSIM from the att family including its MVNOs. 
    watto_cobratenchi211
  • Reply 7 of 8
    tenchi211 said:
    If you have an iPhone that is locked to a carrier, you can only use the eSim option to activate a second line from that carrier, correct? But if I have an unlocked iPhone, then I could use eSim with two completely different carriers, say, AT&T and T-Mobile, if I choose?
    If you have unlock iphone, you can move att # to either sim or esim BUT if you have t-mo # you are stuck to sim for now, whick I think sucks
    tenchi211
  • Reply 8 of 8
    If you activate the esim in your iPad with AT&T , it is thirty dollars for unlimited data. If you activate your esim on your iPhone for data only, it’s thirty dollars for three gigs or sixty dollars for six gigs with rollover. The other option is to get the special 45 dollar prepaid unlimited plan. I don’t understand why they charge more for data only for iPhone versus data only for iPad
    edited December 2018 watto_cobra
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