iOS 12.1 will bring Dual SIM feature to iPhone XS and XS Max

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When iPhone Dual SIM support appears in iOS 12.1, it will be possible to use two service plans at once with Apple's latest models.
When iPhone Dual SIM support appears in iOS 12.1, it will be possible to use two service plans at once with Apple's latest models.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A hotly anticipated feature wasn’t available when the iPhone XS models arrived last week, but Apple is hard at work bringing Dual SIM support to these new handsets. This cutting-edge features is included in the first iOS 12.1 beta.

When the full version of the operating system update becomes available later this fall, the iPhone XS and XS Max will be able to simultaneously connect to two cellular providers.

This is possible because both these devices support two SIMs. In most cases, the primary account is tied to an eSIM while a second account can be added with a nano-SIM.

On devices running iOS 12.1, a new option has been added to the Cellular panel in the Settings app. “Add Cellular Plan” does just what one would expect: It gives the user a way to input the details from a second wireless service plan.

Just so there’s no confusion, this feature is only available for the iPhone XS and XS Max, not older models. It won’t be in the iPhone XR, either.

UPDATE: Despite what this article said earlier, the iPhone XR will offer dual SIM support as well.

Advantages of iPhone Dual SIM

This advanced feature allows the user to have one number for business and another for personal calls. Or to easily add a local service plan when traveling outside your home country. Or to use one service plan for data and another for voice calls.

Both numbers can be active at the same time. If a call on one line comes in while you’re on the other line, it just goes to voicemail.

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile all support eSIM, albeit reluctantly. Sprint is the only holdout among the Big Four U.S. carriers.

Apple’s website has a list of carriers around the world who plan to support eSIM.

Coming soon?

iPhone Dual SIM support will arrive in iOS 12.1, but we don’t yet know when that will be introduced. Apple only recently released the first beta.

Another new feature coming in this operating system update is Group FaceTime, which will allow multiple people to chat together at once. This is also included in iOS 12.1 beta 1.