iOS 16 will make transferring an eSIM between iPhones easier

iOS 16 will make transferring an eSIM between iPhones easier


Apple watch
eSIMs are about to get even easier to move from one iPhone to another.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iOS 16 will make it easier to transfer an eSIM between iPhones using Bluetooth.

As spotted by @carsonwaldrop on Twitter, iOS 16 adds an option to import an eSIM from another iPhone in the “Set up eSIM” menu. Apple requires that the other iPhone is nearby, unlocked, has Bluetooth turned on, and is running iOS 16 during the process.

eSIM transfer in iOS 16

MacRumors reports that the feature is available in several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. It seemingly will require carrier support to work. With the iOS 16 beta announced just days ago, this is understandably limited right now.

On iOS 15, iPhone users need to generate an eSIM QR code from their carrier when switching devices. The code then needs to be scanned using the new iPhone. This is an additional step that adds friction to the process — and one that may not always be possible. Nonetheless, this option will also be present in iOS 16.

iPhone 14 Pro could ditch the SIM card slot

Apple continues to offer a physical SIM card slot and eSIM as an option on iPhone XS and later. It uses the latter to provide dual-SIM connectivity.

With the iPhone 13 series, Apple offers support for dual eSIMs. It also adopted the connectivity standard on the iPad Pro and the Apple Watch lineup.

Apple reportedly could ditch the physical SIM slot on the iPhone 14 Pro series — at least in the United States. This will make it important for the company to offer users an easy way to transfer eSIM between devices. The more friction Apple removes from using an eSIM, the faster users will adopt it.

iOS 16 will be in beta for the next few months, so network operators across the world have plenty of time on their hands to add support for transferring eSIMs over Bluetooth.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.