eSIMs are annoying episode #2 – or why I kicked my iPhone to the curb – The Gadgeteer


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ARTICLE – A week ago, I posted an article about my experiences transferring an eSIM from my iPhone 15 Pro Max to a brand new Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. Long story short, it was easy going making the swap from the iPhone to the Samsung but when I tried to switch back, chaos ensued. I ended up having to go into a T-Mobile shop to get them to do the switch. I even made a Gadgeteer Video Podcast about it which you can go watch now if you like.

Ok, all caught up? Good. Let’s skip forward to late last week when I received the OnePlus 12 to review (go read about my unboxing/first impressions). I like OnePlus devices a lot. My current favorite Android device is the OnePlus Open folding smartphone. So I want to do a good job on the review of the OnePlus 12 which means I need to make it my primary phone and that means switching the eSIM from the iPhone to the OnePlus. Following so far?

I went into the OnePlus 12’s mobile network > eSIM settings and chose the add eSIM option. It then asked if I was transferring from another phone, to pick the carrier, and then if I was transferring from an iPhone. I picked all the right picks and was immediately brought back to the first question about adding a new eSIM. I tried this half a dozen times with the same result. Grrrrrr…

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Then I went to T-Mobile’s site with my MacBook, logged into my account, chose my main line, clicked update device SIM, and was then shown the image above. What the heck? Yes, I tried several times over a couple of days with no joy.

What did I do next? I put on my shoes, grabbed a jacket, my iPhone 15 Pro Max, the OnePlus 12, and my keys, and drove up to the T-Mobile store (again). I felt kind of embarrassed to walk back into the store after just being there a week ago for a similar problem. I told them that I wanted a physical SIM for my primary number so that I could put it into the OnePlus 12 (which they drooled over). Less than 10 minutes later, I walked out with a deactivated iPhone in one pocket and the OnePlus 12 with a physical SIM and my main phone number.

What about my iPhone 15 Pro Max? Well right now, I’m so annoyed with Apple that I don’t even want to look at it. Is this eSIM problem truly Apple’s fault? Not fully. I do think that moving eSIMs back and forth between phones is not something that we mere mortals can easily do right now and not between platforms (iOS/Android). But it should get easier between two Android devices soon with Google’s eSIM transfer tool that has been rolling out to some phones (maybe that’s what I used on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra last week and didn’t know it).

But when it comes down to it, I actually do blame Apple for this/my issue because with the iPhone 14 and newer, they don’t give you a choice between an eSIM or a physical SIM like other phones do. If you don’t want to use an eSIM, then you can’t use an iPhone. So for now at least, the iPhone and I are on a break.

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