Phone Plans

How to Check if Your Phone is eSIM Compatible

Kyle Reyes
April 6, 2023

Embedded SIM cards are very popular, and you may have noticed that many wireless providers offer eSIM phone plans. It’s an exciting new development! A lot of people are wondering whether or not their phone is eSIM compatible. 

We’re here to answer that question! Many new devices are, but it is worth checking your particular device to be certain whether or not it is ready for an eSIM phone plan. 

How to Check if Your Phone is Unlocked? 

Are you thinking of switching carriers? Another big factor is whether or not your phone is unlocked. It is pretty easy to check if your phone is unlocked. Each company has its own set of criteria that determines whether or not a phone is unlocked, but it basically comes down to this: 

  • Is your phone paid off? 
  • Is your account in good standing? 
  • Have you operated your phone for a certain number of months? 
  • Has your phone been reported lost or stolen? 

If your answers to those questions are yes, yes, yes, no, your phone is likely unlocked! You can check the specifics of your device within the phone's wireless settings. Some companies will automatically unlock your phone when the criteria are met, and some require a manual request. 

Why is an Unlocked Phone Important? 

A locked phone cannot transfer carriers. If you are checking if your phone is eSIM compatible with the goal of switching carriers or activating another account on your device it must also be unlocked. Phone companies lock phones so customers cannot purchase phones through a discounted deal from their store and immediately switch to another carrier. With dual-SIM phones, customers would not even need to leave the company to add a new line right after they purchase the device, or right after they start paying monthly installments. Once your phone is unlocked you can start browsing for new plans. 

There are a lot of plans out there. Finding the right one with so much traffic and ads everywhere is hard. We are here to help. If you want an easy way to check out and compare phone plans, the Really comparison tool will bring up all the best deals in your area. For more analysis of the family plans, we will break down some of our favorite ones. Without further ado, let’s talk about how to check if your phone is eSIM compatible. 

Physical SIM cards may no longer be a part of every new device. Switching to eSIM ports saves space without changing the overall functionality of the device. 

Is Your Phone eSIM Compatible?

Embedded SIM cards house all your phone’s account information, turning your smart device into a smartphone. eSIM compatibility is a relatively new technology, but lots of phones have eSIM within the system. You can use a physical SIM card without issue and switch to an eSIM plan with the same or a new carrier. Embedded SIM phones have existed for a few phone generations at this time, so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck with the highest-end phones if you want to purchase an eSIM-compatible phone. There is also a good chance that the phone you have is already eSIM compatible. The addition of eSIM compatibility, when it is not being used, has no impact on the phone as a whole. It is very possible that you’ve had an eSIM-compatible phone and never known. 

Let’s get into how to check whether or not your phone is eSIM compatible depending on the make of your device. This section will cover the following makes and highlight one or two of our favorite phones from that carrier. 

  • iPhone
  • Samsung
  • Google Pixel
  • Huawei
  • Motorola
  • Xiaomi

If you know the make and model of your device, a quick google search of “is [device] eSIM compatible?” should answer your question without issue. 

How to Check eSIM on iPhone

You can check your iPhone’s eSIM compatibility through the Cellular subsection of settings. If your phone is eSIM compatible, you should see an “add eSIM” option within the menu. After this, you get the option to scan a QR code or transfer from a nearby iPhone.

iPhone 13

Price:  $730

Apple’s iPhone 13 series is a fantastic choice for an eSIM phone. iPhones are so prevalent, and iMessage access allows quick and efficient communication with all Apple devices. They have a fantastic UI, and it is really easy to add a second SIM card through the phone's settings. On top of its eSIM compatibility, the iPhone 13 series all have fantastic cameras, processors, and screens, so if you are someone who likes to game or watch videos or something like that on your phone this is a fantastic way to do that.

iPhone SE (3rd Gen)

Price: $450

The iPhone SE (3rd Gen) is an affordable option that nets you a great new Apple device with eSIM capability. This model comes without the bells and whistles that many of the other new phones have, but you can rest assured that it is a new phone and is not refurbished while coming at an astonishingly low price point in relation to the other phones on Apple’s roster. 

How to Check eSIM on Samsung

Samsung devices also have an impressive list of eSIM-compatible devices. To verify that your device does indeed support an eSIM phone plan, follow these menus:

  • Settings
  • Connections
  • SIM card manager
  • Add mobile plan

If you can see “add mobile plan” your device should support eSIM phone plans. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Series

Price: $1,000

The S22 series from Samsung Galaxy are all eSIM compatible and have a fantastic suite of bells and whistles. It has a tremendous processor, a ton of memory, and a killer camera. The price tag is a big hurdle, but a phone like this will treat you well if you are able to budget out the money for it. 

The features on the S22 are some of the best out there. It has a ton of features that come with new phones, and it can output some of the best pictures on the market. We do, however, want to mention the previous model, the S21. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 Series

Price: $625

The S21 series is amazing. It has the base suite of features as the S22 with a weaker camera and processor. We are big fans of finding a more affordable phone depending on the best phone for you. 

Camera, resolution, processing power, and battery life are the major improvements in new phone lines. After that, there are not too many differences between the last couple phone series released by the major companies.

Utilizing eSIM on your device if your phone supports eSIM should give you the same experience as using a physical SIM phone plan. 

How to Check eSIM on Google Pixel

Checking to see if your device is compatible is a simple task on Google Pixel devices. Follow these steps:

  • Go to settings
  • Networks and Internet
  • Advanced
  • Add Operator
  • Scan QR code

If you are able to navigate these menus then your device is eSIM compatible! If you are interested in purchasing a Google Pixel device with eSIM compatibility, here are two of our favorites: 

Google Pixel 7

Price: $600

The Google Pixel 7 is a fantastic new phone with a lot of storage and access to the latest and greatest that Google is able to put on the table. This is an amazing phone for users of all kinds, and it has a great camera and some fantastic features when it comes to photo taking and photo editing. This is another excellent choice for an eSIM phone if you are looking for a new phone that is more affordable than the flagship from Samsung or Apple. 

If you are happy with a phone that’s been figuring out its look over the last few generations and landed on something fantastic, this is the phone for you. That said, the oldest Google Pixel with eSIM capability goes way back to the 3a. Let’s check it out. 

Google Pixel 3a

Price (Refurbished): $100

The price on this one changes a lot depending on the sale you get and the place you look to purchase it. Right now on Amazon, the Google Pixel 3a is around $100 and is a very affordable way to get yourself an eSIM-compatible phone. 

Getting used phones, be they refurbished or lightly used, is always a risk because you are not sure if they have any problems on the inside. Refurbished or lightly used phones are almost always good as new, especially ones that are being sold by a wireless provider or another big distributor who checks the insides to ensure that everything is working. While these phones are riskier than new phones they are so cheap that even if they don’t last as long, you are able to purchase another one or even a third (if you are tremendously unlucky) and still be saving some serious money on your cell phone bill. 

How to Check eSIM on Motorola

Easy! Through settings, you should follow these steps:

  • Advanced
  • Carrier
  • Add Carrier

If you see the screen to scan a QR code you are good to go! Let’s look at some awesome eSIM-compatible Motorola phones. 

Motorola Razr 5G

Price: $600

This is the top-of-the-line Motorola device in 2023. You pay a premium for this smartphone, but it comes with a lot of amazing features to make up for its price tag. Its high-end Snapdragon processor lets it handle even the most intense gaming and UHD streaming with ease, and its 144Hz display outputs some of the best resolutions in phones to this day. It has a sleek glass front and back supported by a metal frame and has an immensely strong camera on the back to round it all out. This is a flip smartphone, making it a powerful companion for split-screen users while turning others away due to the same flip feature. 

The camera is likely overkill for all but the most avid photographers and the price tag makes it a hard sell if you don’t plan on using it to its fullest capacity. Motorola does not have a lot of eSIM-compatible models at this time. 

How to Check eSIM on Xiaomi

You may not have heard about Xiaomi phones in your travels, but they are a great company that provides value smartphones. Its devices are of great quality, and they are about to release a new series of devices later this year. Xiaomi phones exist at a budget price range and in the more expensive range, letting users pick between phones depending on their budget. Many of their inexpensive phones are considered the best budget phones on the market. 

Xiaomi does not currently have many eSIM compatible devices, but their 12T Pro is eSIM compatible and brings a lot to the table. There is talk of their new models switching to eSIM compatibility as well, so if you are interested in one of their devices and can wait for the new line you will have many more options from which to choose. For now, let’s take a look at the 12T Pro.

Xiaomi 12T Pro

Price: $550

The Xiaomi 12T Pro is one of the best Xiaomi phones on the market right now for its amazing display, strong battery, and impressive camera. It can hold up to most of the mid-range phones on the market, delivering excellent performance at its price point. It has had some issues with durability, but if you have the right case it should not prove troublesome. 

Phones from Xiaomi and other less-known companies often work incredibly well for their price point compared to some of the name-brand options in the United States. 

Do you feel confident about how to check if your phone supports eSIM? We hope so! 

Key Takeaways

There are a lot of devices on the market with eSIM compatibility, and we will soon see models with exclusively embedded SIM slots and no more physical SIMs. It is not likely that this will happen soon, but we have our eyes peeled for those new phones. Here’s the big question: does your device support eSIM? After making it to the end of the article, we hope that you know how to figure it out! There was a lot of information. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Before switching carriers, make sure that your phone is unlocked. If not, you won’t be able to add another line even if your phone is eSIM compatible. 
  • Carriers sell locked phones to make sure that you don’t take advantage of a sale and switch right away. 
  • The process to check if a phone supports eSIM varies a bit from model to model, but they all follow similar processes. 
  • If you are interested in an eSIM-compatible device, you have options between some of the high-end phones with amazing batteries, cameras, and processors and older more affordable models. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enable eSIM on Android? 

Once you’ve updated your operating version and SIM manager, you should be able to go into your settings and add a new mobile network. 

How do I upgrade to eSIM? 

You want to find a phone plan that supports eSIMs. A lot of carriers in America have options to give new customers eSIMs or physical SIMs, and once you find a plan that is well suited to you, all you have to do is go through the phone activation process and you should be good to go. 

Can I use an eSIM if I have a SIM card? 

Yes! You can operate a dual SIM by using a physical SIM card and an eSIM. This lets you store multiple numbers on the same device, a convenient option if you have, in the past, carried around two phones. 

What are the disadvantages of eSIM? 

Not being able to physically remove the card if your device is broken is one of the major disadvantages of eSIM. It is less convenient switching from one device to the next than it was with a physical SIM. There are also some international countries that do not yet support eSIM technology, and in that case, your phone will not function in those areas. 

Who offers eSIM in the USA? 

Just about every carrier offers and supports eSIM on their network. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all support it, and the majority of each major carrier’s MVNOs also have eSIM options. While many carriers offer eSIM phone plans, none offer exclusively eSIM phone plans. You can switch to just about any carrier with the confidence that they offer physical SIM cards and eSIMs without focusing their service on one or the other. 

Does eSIM give a better signal? 

The SIM card does not affect the internet speeds or cellular reception of your device. eSIMs share serious similarities with SIM cards, so you should not expect a change in the quality of service when changing from one to the other.

Kyle Reyes
Kyles Reyes is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in the wireless industry, phone plan comparisons & advice.