The sad state of eSIM
The US model of the iPhone 14 does not support physical SIM cards anymore. While I appreciate that Apple is pushing forward new and exciting technology, the current state of eSIM leaves a lot to be desired.
eSIMs are great in theory but in practice they still suffer from issues that defeat their very advantages. Here are just some issues I've personally encountered:
- Transferring an eSIM is not always possible without contacting the carrier, requiring you to make a phone call or go to a carrier's branch in person.
- If you chose to transfer an eSIM via phone, it requires you to read long codes (like IMEI) over the phone, which makes it far more cumbersome than just swapping a physical SIM.
- An automated eSIM transfer can get stuck, and you may be out of service on both the old and new phone until you're able to contact and sort it out with the carrier.
- eSIMs offered online are sometimes "sold out".
- Many carriers do not offer eSIMs. The offerings for eSIMs are much worse than what you can get if you shop around for a physical SIM card.
- Sometimes purchasing and activating a new eSIM on the carrier's website fails for no explicable reason (hello 500 error).
- Converting an existing physical SIM to an eSIM sometimes requires a personal visit to the carrier's branches.
- If you do not purchase your eSIM from the carrier (e.g. you use a third party service like Airalo), you do not own the SIM card. They do not require ID verification, and as a consequence you are unable to do things that require identify verification (e.g. transferring your number or eSIM).
Overall, eSIMs in the current state require more manual work then physical SIMs that can just be swapped out easily, and by buying an eSIM from third parties you risk not owning the account.