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iPhone XS/XS Max/XR Dual Sim Guide

by davethorp on ‎04-12-2018 16:12 - last edited on ‎27-09-2019 10:33 by Community Manager (33,190 Views)



Hi there -

  • If you've landed on this guide in search for information related to the new Apple devices (iPhone 11, 11 Pro & Pro Max), head over here to our Apple megathread for more information. Smiley Happy
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As someone running a dual SIM setup on my iPhone XS Max I thought I’d provide a handy guide for anyone setting up this service.




In order to run a dual sim setup you need the following


iPhone XS/XS Max/XR - ideally unlocked unless you want to run dual lines on EE (which would be odd on an O2 user forum) as the eSIM will lock to the same network as the nano sim tray


A line on EE - iPhone’s dual sim setup at the time of writing this guide requires the use of an embedded eSIM and the only network to support eSIM at the time of writing is EE


A line on a second network such as O2




For the line that you are running on the eSIM you will need to perform a SIM swap over to an eSIM. This can be done either by calling EE customer services or visiting a store


Full details on the process can be found at https://ee.co.uk/help/help-new/getting-started-and-upgrading/using-your-phone-features/how-do-i-use-...


Once you have moved the EE line to eSIM you can remove your EE sim and insert a sim for O2 (or any other network) to use as your second line. Once you do this the iPhone will detect there are two sims and guide you through a setup process to decide which line is your primary line and which line is your secondary one. It will also ask you what line you want to use for mobile data and iMessage. Only one line can be used for iMessage which is currently an iOS limitation and may not suit people on dual handset setups where you can have two numbers for iMessage. 


These settings are not set in stone and you can change them as and when you need (I often change my mobile data network based on signal strength for example)




I ran into the following issues when I moved to a dual sim setup (most of these issues only apply to the EE line) 


1. Issues sending SMS messages on both lines - this is down to an issue in iOS which prevents you from sending a message to an existing message thread once you move to an eSIM. The issue is solved by either deleting the message thread or waiting for the other person to send an SMS message to you which resolves the issue. The issue may have been resolved in iOS releases that have come out since 12.1

2. BT sport app not working - this is down to a bug in the BT sport app where it doesn’t detect the eSIM on EE. At the moment EE are fixing it by adding a free trial of casting to the accounts of those with the issue which does fix it at least for 3 months

3. Voicemail not working - Visual voicemail will work on both lines once you have it set up right however moving to eSIM completely disabled my voicemail on my EE line. Texting VM ON to 150 on the EE line resolved this. You also need to make sure your O2 line is on an iPhone tariff for visual voicemail to work on that


Hopefully all the above helps for anyone else wanting to run a dual sim setup with EE/O2 on the latest iPhones


If anyone has any questions or issues in setting it up I’m happy to help out where I can




by MI5
on ‎04-12-2018 16:35
Nice one Dave Smiley Happy
by jonsie
on ‎04-12-2018 16:57

Shame this doesn't apply to O2 phones and an EE SIM is needed. Maybe 2019 if O2 take their fingers out!

by davethorp
on ‎04-12-2018 17:06

@jonsie wrote:

Shame this doesn't apply to O2 phones and an EE SIM is needed. Maybe 2019 if O2 take their fingers out!

Yeah at the moment there is no getting around the fact that the line on the eSIM has to be on EE. I suspect Vodafone may not be too far behind as they have eSIM technology in place for the Apple Watch now. God knows how long it will take the other networks to catch up but I suspect eSIM isn’t going anywhere and the networks will have to embrace it sooner or later


I run the dual sim setup with EE on my eSIM and an O2 Nano SIM in the SIM tray which is working fine for me barring the teething issues I mentioned in the guide

by jonsie
on ‎04-12-2018 17:09

There are good workarounds described @davethorp and thanks for those tips.

by adamtemp64
on ‎04-12-2018 18:46

@davethorp I thought all o2 phones sold now were unlocked etc not tried a non o2 sim in my phone yet 

by davethorp
on ‎04-12-2018 18:49

@adamtemp64 wrote:

@davethorp I thought all o2 phones sold now were unlocked etc not tried a non o2 sim in my phone yet 

They may well be. My XS Max came from Sky who unlock their phones by default and O2 may well do the same or at least have done with my tablets


As long as the phone is unlocked a dual sim setup is possible but only with the 2nd line being on EE for the time being as my setup is

by Community Manager
on ‎10-12-2018 11:12

Great guide @davethorp! Thanks for putting this together. smiley

by Cleoriff
on ‎10-12-2018 11:51

Great little guide @davethorp. Very useful

by DPL
on ‎18-02-2019 16:26
Hi there. Any idea if I can use an Australian sim as the fixed sim and then O2 under esim on the one handset? Desperately trying to stop using two handsets!!!!
by DPL
on ‎18-02-2019 16:28
Thanks so much for any assistance!
by davethorp
on ‎30-04-2019 15:43

Sorry for the long delay in replying @DPL . Only just checked back in this thread. If anyone else has any further questions please tag me by typing @ and then my username straight after so I see the question


O2 do not support eSIM so the setup you propose would not work. As far as UK networks go the eSIM at the moment has to be on EE. There’s no getting around this regardless of if the phone is unlocked or not as EE are the only UK network to support eSIM at this time, although I suspect Vodafone wont be too far behind for reasons I’ve already covered


The nano sim tray can be any network UK or otherwise so yeah you could run a setup with a UK network on the eSIM and a foreign network on the nano sim but not on O2 as you proposed

by davethorp
on ‎01-07-2019 12:13

Just to update this guide slightly


The guide mentions that iMessage is only possible on one line. From iOS 13 which is currently in Beta for a release in September though a public beta version is available iMessage is possible on both lines in a dual sim setup

by jimthing0
‎03-09-2019 03:16 - edited ‎03-09-2019 03:25