The basics of Dual SIM support on the iPhone XS and XS Max

With the new iPhone XS and XS Max, Apple is finally allowing customers to have two phone numbers on one device thanks to Dual SIM support.

But what is Dual SIM, and will you be able to get it with your carrier here in the U.S.? Let's find out.

What is Dual SIM

So you may or may not have heard of Dual SIM until now. The technology has been available for a while, but this is the first time that Apple has supported it.

With the iPhone XS and XS Max, you'll have your Nano SIM — which has been the standard since the iPhone 4 — as well as a digital eSIM that requires no physical swapping of SIM cards to use. This is great when you decide to switch carriers, plans, or even jobs.

With Dual SIM, you're able to have two different phone numbers on up to two different networks on a single smartphone. While you may think that someone who uses this might have something to hide, many people have two lines for personal and work use.

When you use a Dual SIM device, you're able to see what number is receiving the incoming call. This means if you have a number for work, you'll know not to pick up a call while you're on vacation, for example, because who wants that?

Another use case for Dual SIM is the ability to keep your regular number while traveling out of the country, and you can grab a cheap prepaid SIM from a local carrier for calls and data.

What carriers in the U.S support eSIM?

Currently, there are only three major U.S carriers that will support eSIM when the iPhone Xs and Xs Max launch this Friday. Those carriers are:

  • AT&T
  • Verizon Wireless
  • T-Mobile USA

If you have Sprint, or other smaller carriers, then it appears you're out of luck at the moment. However, Sprint does intend to have support for it in the near future, though how soon that will be is unknown.

For those planning on making use of Dual SIM capability, Apple has published a step-by-step guide on how to set up a cellular plan through the eSIM on their website.

Are you going to make use of Dual SIM support?

We'd imagine many of you may use this to eliminate the need to carry two devices for work and personal use. It's just so convenient! Are you planning on getting a second number to use with your single iPhone XS or XS Max? Let us know in the comments!

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.