Are you asking: Can I use eSIM on locked iPhone? You’re in the right place.
With some iPhone models only supporting embedded eSIMs, it’s important to understand the limitation and options that you have available.
Let’s dive into it!
Yes, you can add and use an eSIM on your locked iPhone. However, you will be limited to using an eSIM from the same carrier your phone is locked in unless you get it unlocked.
Before we move on to the full details of adding an eSIM to locked devices, below are some vital points you need to know.
Does eSIM Work on Locked iPhone: Vital Points to Know
If you’re an iPhone 14 owner, you are familiar with an eSIM. This relatively new feature lets you activate a mobile plan without a physical SIM card.
However, if your device is carrier-locked, you might wonder whether you can still use an eSIM.
To help you understand, we’ll discuss the below points extensively in the following section:
- Needs to be with the same carrier
- iPhone transfer SIM process
- Backup your data before moving to an eSIM
- Can connect to compatible networks
- Look at unlocking your phone
Generally, carrier lock applies to your iPhone as a whole. Your IMEI number is locked to your current carrier, and you can only use eSIMs from that same network.
Can I Use eSIM on Locked iPhone – Let’s Know In Depth!
Now, you know if you can use eSIM on a locked iPhone. As we’ve said, you can only use an eSIM from the carrier you purchased your iPhone.
If your carrier does support eSIM activation, you can begin the transfer process by scanning a QR code or entering a confirmation code.
How To Know If You Have a Locked iPhone
A locked phone has a software code that prevents you from using it on a different network.
If you’re considering using an eSIM for your device, you must first check its unlock status.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Open your iPhone’s Settings.
- Go to General, then select About.
- Scroll down to the Carrier Lock option.
- Check if it says the name of your carrier.
- If it does, your phone is locked.
Pro Tip: The Carrier Lock should say No SIM Restrictions to know that your iPhone is unlocked.
Will My eSIM be Locked If My iPhone is Locked?
There can be some form of confusion with the term locked phone. However, it simply means your phone is tied to a carrier.
This is usually true if you bought the phone from a carrier like Verizon.
This so-called lock is only associated with network compatibility, ensuring you stick to them while still paying for the phone.
Whether your phone has an eSIM or a physical one doesn’t really matter since if it is locked to a carrier, you can only connect to it.
Here’s what you need to know about network locks and eSIMs:
- Locked iPhones are tied to a specific carrier or network.
- Locked devices will be restricted to the carrier.
- You can install eSIM profiles on your locked device.
- You can only connect to the network your phone is locked to.
Note: You will be able to install eSIM profiles from other networks, but if your phone is locked, it can't connect to them.
Can I Add My eSIM Even If My iPhone is Locked
Even though you have a locked phone, it doesn’t mean you can’t add an eSIM.
Using a phone with an eSIM feature makes it flexible, making it easier for you to connect to your carrier.
Another advantage here is that you can also add eSIM profiles from other carriers to your phone.
Adding the eSIM isn’t really going to be your top concern. You really need to look at whether you can use the profile from a different carrier.
Here’s what you need to know about adding your eSIM to your locked phone:
- A locked iPhone won’t prevent you from adding eSIM profiles.
- You can’t activate profiles from other carriers with a locked phone.
- Get an eSIM from your current carrier to use on your current phone.
Note: If you really want to use an eSIM profile from a different carrier on your phone, you will need to unlock it.
Using an eSIM on a Locked Phone
The advantage of using an eSIM on a locked phone is that you can quickly add profiles that you can use later on.
Since the eSIM is embedded into your phone, you won’t need to insert a physical SIM card, which your phone can block easily.
You should have no problems using an eSIM on your locked phone. You can also activate profiles from compatible carriers allowing you to use multiple carriers even if your phone is locked.
Here’s how to use your eSIM on a locked iPhone:
- On your iPhone, open the Settings app.
- Go to Cellular or Mobile Data.
- Select Add a Cellular Plan.
- Choose the QR code option.
- Scan the QR code provided to you by your carrier.
Tip: By compatible carriers, we mean those that run on the same network. For example, if you're on Verizon, you can connect to Visible, Straight Talk, Xfinity, and others.
How to Move eSIM to My Locked Phone
Now that you know you can use an eSIM even if your iPhone is locked, you will want to move your number.
Whether moving from a physical SIM or an eSIM, you should be able to port your number to a locked iPhone.
You only need to remember that you want to stay on the same carrier so your phone can detect the signal.
Even though you can add from compatible carriers, we recommend doing it first with your network to avoid any issues going forward.
Here are the steps on how to move your eSIM to your iPhone:
- Get your eSIM activation details from your current carrier.
- Go to your phone’s Settings.
- Tap on Mobile Data, then Add Data Plan.
- Scan your QR code activation details.
- Finish activating your eSIM.
Note: After completing the restart process, we recommend restarting your iPhone.
Steps to Unlock My iPhone
To fully enjoy your iPhone with an eSIM, you need to unlock it. Doing this gives you the freedom to switch to different carriers immediately without requesting it.
An advantage of doing this is if you’re a frequent traveler and want to use local SIMs for more affordable data connections.
Unlocking your phone also means you won’t be tied to a single carrier. This gives you a lot of versatility on the network you will use with your iPhone.
Here’s how to unlock your iPhone:
- Check your phone’s lock status by checking with your carrier.
- Pay off any outstanding balance your device currently has.
- Submit your iPhone’s IMEI number and account details to unlock your device.
- Wait for the confirmation message via email or text.
- Activate the new eSIMs you want to use on your unlocked phone.
Note: Your phone will have limits on the number of eSIM profiles you can save, so make sure not to exceed that.
By understanding all of these, you now have a much better idea of dealing with eSIMs and your phone’s lock status.
There’s no issue when it comes to using and adding eSIMs, as it depends on whether your phone is still locked to your carrier.
Now that you know the answer to if you can use eSIM on a locked iPhone, you’re informed on the steps you need to take. It all boils down to your need to use a different carrier.
If you’re happy with your current one, unlocking your phone is unnecessary.
However, if you want to move to a different network, you will need to get your phone unlocked.
Finn Wheatley holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from UCL, London. He helped small data science consultancy firms, helping large corporations to grow their data capabilities, deploy advanced machine learning-based analytics and troubleshoot tech-related issues.