How to install eSIM on iPhone with QR code

Detailed instructions on installing and activating an eSIM on your iPhone using QR code.

How to install eSIM on iPhone with QR code
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The actual steps and interfaces may vary depending on the iOS version and the iPhone model. This article explains eSIM installation on iOS 16 & 15.

Before proceeding, please make sure that:

  • Your iPhone is eSIM-compatible
  • Your iPhone is not carrier-locked
  • You have a device to display QR code or have it printed on a paper

Also, make sure that you have stable internet connection when installing an eSIM.

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In most cases, QR code can be used only once. You should not cancel the installation process once started.

iOS 16

Here is the step-by-step guide to installing an eSIM with a QR code on iPhone running iOS 16.

Scan QR code

Follow these steps to launch Camera:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap Cellular
  3. Tap Add eSIM in SIMs section
  4. Tap Use QR Code on Set Up Cellular page

Once the camera is launched, point it at the QR code.

*It's likely that the scanning happens even before you position the QR code in the frame on the device screen. But it's totally fine and you can safely proceed to the next step.

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Alternatively, you can simply launch the iOS Camera app and scan QR code from there which might be quicker.

Activate eSIM

After successful QR code scan, Activate eSIM page will pop up (given the QR code is valid). Here you tap Continue to activate and install the eSIM.

This activation process may take few minutes. Once completed, it shows that the eSIM is now active on your iPhone.

That's it. Now you've successfully installed an eSIM using QR code.

Next step is to set up the eSIM (Cellular Plan) you just installed.

Set up Cellular Plan

Under Settings > Cellular, you can find all the SIMs and eSIMs in your iPhone.

The eSIM you just installed should be at the bottom of the SIMs list.

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As you can see in the screenshot below, you can install and store multiple eSIMs.

You can tap on it to configure things like Labels and Data Roaming.

Cellular Plan Label

When you install an eSIM, it will probably be labeled as Cellular Data or Travel or other pre-set ones. You can customize it as you wish from Cellular Plan Label.

If you are using an eSIM for travel, it's quite useful to put a country flag like 🇫🇷 at the beginning.


iOS 15

Below is the step-by-step guide to installing an eSIM with a QR code on iPhone running iOS 15.

Scan QR code

Launch Camera

Follow these steps to launch Camera:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap either Cellular or Mobile Data
  3. Tap Add Cellular Plan

Once the camera is launched, point it at the QR code.

*It's likely that the scanning happens even before you position the QR code in the frame on the device screen. But it's totally fine and you can safely proceed to the next step.

Add Cellular Plan

If you see the screen with Add Cellular Plan button, the eSIM is ready to be added to your iPhone so tap that button to download / install it.

Set up Cellular Plan

At this point the eSIM (= Cellular Plan) has been successfully added to your iPhone.

Setting up the Cellular Plan (= eSIM) you just added consists of a couple of screens:

  1. Cellular Plan Labels
  2. Default Line
  3. iMessage & FaceTime
  4. Cellular Data
  5. Update Contacts' Preferred Line

Note that all of them can be customized later from Settings. And some of them are optional so you can skip them.

Cellular Plan Labels

On this Cellular Plan Labels screen, the second (bottom) one is the Cellular Plan you just added. You can tap it to change the name as you wish.

You can change the labels at any time from Settings > Cellular > Cellular Plan.

Tap Continue to move on.

Default Line

On this Default Line screen, you get to select which Cellular Plan you want to use for Voice and SMS.

*Unless you are updating your primary Plan or want to make calls with the newly added eSIM, it's best that you select your original one on top.

You can customize this setting at any time from Settings.

Tap Continue to move on.

iMessage & FaceTime

With this setting, you can select which Cellular Plan(s) you want to use with iMessage and FaceTime.

If the eSIM you just installed does not support Voice/SMS, this setting has nothing to do with it.

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If you are using the eSIM temporarily, e.g. for travel, and do not plan to use iMessage or FaceTime with it, it's best that you don't select it.

If you are updating your primary Plan, you may select it.

After all, it's completely optional and can be configured later from Settings. You can simply leave them unchecked.

Cellular Data

Here, you get to choose which Cellular Plan you want to use for Data.

If you want to use the newly installed eSIM for Cellular Data (= internet), choose that. Other than that, it's best that you choose the primary / original line.

Travel eSIM tips; Unless you are okay if your primary line is charged for roaming,

Allow Cellular Data Switching

When 'Allow Cellular Data Switching' is turned on, your iPhone will automatically switch the line used for Cellular Data depending on the signal and availability.

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For travel eSIM use cases, you may want to keep this turned off unless you are okay that your primary line might be charged for roaming data.

Again, this settings can be easily changed from Settings later.

Update Contacts' Preferred Line

The default option 'Update later' is perfectly fine.

You are all set! Now the eSIM is added to your iPhone and you can find it under Cellular Plans in Settings > Cellular.


Useful resources

Below is a video from Apple Support official YouTube channel on activating an eSIM on an iPhone.