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How to activate an Airalo eSIM

No more figuring out how to buy a SIM card when you land.

Published onJuly 5, 2023

Unlike most carriers, Airalo is entirely eSIM-based — the idea being that travelers can quickly get a phone plan no matter which country  they’re headed to. Once you’ve paid for a Airalo eSIM, here’s how to activate it on a compatible phone.


To activate an eSIM using the Airalo app:

  1. Go to My eSIMs > Details
  2. Select Install eSIM/Access Data.
  3. As backup, the company provides a QR code and manual activation data for its plans.

How to activate an Airalo eSIM

Before you get started, or even buy an Airalo eSIM, it’s important to check phone compatibility. The carrier maintains an official list. You’ll also want to be sure your phone is unlocked, meaning it’s not tied to an existing carrier.

In the Airalo app

Airalo USA data SIM tariffs
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

This is probably the best method, since you can use it from anywhere with an internet connection, including an airport terminal.

  • Select My eSIMs.
  • Tap Details, then Install eSIM/Access Data.
  • Choose Install eSIM to begin the process. iPhone users will be guided through specific steps in Settings, while Android users should continue with one of the two methods below.

Using a provided QR code

You should get a QR code for your eSIM when you sign up for an Airalo plan. Note that Android menu labels may vary from device to device, between versions of Android, or based on your region (“cellular” might be used in North America instead of “mobile”).

  • Under the Install eSIM/Access Data menu in the Airalo app, tap QR Code.
  • A code will appear onscreen. You’ll need to print this out, or (more plausibly) use the Share QR Code button to send it to a secondary device where it can be displayed for scanning.
  • On your Android phone, go to Settings > Network and internet.
  • Tap the Add or plus icon button next to Mobile network.
  • Hit Next if you see “Don’t have a SIM card?”
  • Scan the QR code.
  • Switch back to the Airalo app’s Install eSIM/Access Data screen.
  • In Android settings, turn on your eSIM under Mobile network, and make sure both Mobile Data and Data Roaming are active. Search for these if necessary.
  • Under Mobile network, you’ll need to set the network preferences in the Airalo app’s Additional Info section for your data package. You may also be asked to set up an APN (access point name), but not necessarily.

Before you arrive in the country your plan is valid in, you’ll want to disable your domestic phone plan so you don’t incur any roaming fees.


There’s little reason to go manual, but it is a viable alternative.

  • Open your phone’s Settings app, and find the option to add a cellular plan or eSIM (see the instructions above for reference).
  • Instead of scanning a QR code, enter the SM-DP+ address and activation code included with your Airalo purchase confirmation. In the Airalo app, you’ll see this in the Manual tab under Install eSIM/Access Data.
  • In Android settings, turn on your eSIM under Mobile network, and make sure both Mobile Data and Data Roaming are active. Search for these if necessary.
  • Set up an APN (access point name) if asked.

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