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Android's eSIM conversion feature gets closer to launch

The stub for the "Convert to eSIM' feature is present in the latest Android 14 QPR 2 Beta 3 for Pixels, but it doesn't work.
By
January 11, 2024
Setting up eSIM on a galaxy s22 ultra
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • The latest Android 14 QPR 2 Beta 3 includes a new stub for the “Convert to eSIM” feature within SIM card settings.
  • This feature will presumably provide a consistent user experience across carriers for users who want to convert their physical SIM to eSIMs.
  • The feature does not currently work but is expected to work in future releases.

eSIMs have returned to the limelight thanks to the iPhone 14 going eSIM-only in the US. eSIM support was present on many phones before this move, but it was always in conjunction with a physical SIM, giving users some valuable choice. Apple’s move to eSIM only means Android needs to catch up and ensure its users have everything they need for their eSIM needs, lest the OS be left behind in the iOS vs Android debate. Much like how iPhones can convert your physical SIM to an eSIM, Pixel devices will also get the eSIM conversion very soon.

When you move from an older, physical SIM iPhone to the new eSIM-only iPhone 14 or iPhone 15, iOS prompts you to convert your physical SIM to an eSIM. This system prompt removes the variables that could be present across different carrier experiences and gives users a consistent and predictable flow across iPhones.

Google is building out a “Convert to eSIM” option for Android. The feature was first spotted in Android 14 Developer 1 but did not reach the stable Android 14 release. Now, the “Convert to eSIM” option is present as a stub at the bottom of the SIM card settings in the latest Android 14 QPR 2 Beta 3, as spotted by the (unofficial) Google News Telegram channel.

Clicking on the stub does nothing for now. But in the future, this feature could let you convert your physical SIM to an eSIM right from within the OS.

The feature would also be different from how iOS does this conversion. Since the iPhone 14 and 15 do not have a physical SIM slot in the US, they can only do a SIM conversion at the time of setup and, more specifically, when migrating from an older iPhone that supports physical SIMs. Since current generation Pixel phones and practically all Android flagships support physical SIMs alongside eSIMs, you could theoretically undertake the process any time, not just when setting up your new phone.

The Pixel 8 series already lets you migrate eSIMs from older Pixels, albeit only for T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom in Europe for now. Seeing how the feature is shaping up, we hope other carriers are also supported in the entire eSIM chain of features in the future.