activating eSIM on an existing ATT number | AT&T Community Forums (2023)

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activating eSIM on an existing ATT number | AT&T Community Forums (3)

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13 Messages

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 4:40 AM

I have an iPhone XS and was very excited to get the eSIM activated with my current number and keep the sim tray empty for when I travel abroad and use those sims cards. I recently went to the store to request the QR code or whatever I'd need to get my number activated on the eSIM. I was told my store staff as well as ATT customer care that the only way I can get the eSIM service activated is to add a whole new line, which doesn't sound right to me at all. Has anyone else run into his issue when requesting the same thing from ATT? any help is appreciated!



3 years ago



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Accepted Solution

Official Solution



4 Messages

I did it. This is how.

Go to a core AT&T store with phone. Ask for QR code for Esim and tell them u just want to transfer the phone number. They will do their thing and once done they will give u a blue card with QR code. Go to settings>cellular>add new plan and scan the code - this was tricky for me. Took a while - place code on table and scan. May be works better that way. Yes yes to all - rename ur lines and good to go.



40 Messages

5 years ago

That is true, you must have a line of service inorder for the esim to activate. Either an old line on the account or a new line of service. You will have to have two separate numbers, one for sim card activate withimei #1, the esim activated with imei #2. Also if you're wanting to use device with another carrier, device must be unlocked.. More info from apple as well



13 Messages

5 years ago

Thank you for your reply! The thing is I DO have an existing line with ATT already and I'm using that number on the iPhone in question. My iPhone is an unlocked version. when I asked the ATT store to activate my existing number on the eSim thats when they told me that its NOT possible and that the only way I can activate that eSim is to activate a whole new number on it.


ACE - Master

8.1K Messages

5 years ago

I’d like to find out the answer too. The question is how to transfer your line and existing physical SIM to the eSIM, so you can have the SIM tray empty for other carriers, not adding a second line.

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2 Messages

5 years ago

I just did this. Call ATT customer service and have them send you a QR code. When you get it, remove your existing sim and scan the new one. Call ATT Customer Service and they’ll have you read the long numeric IMEI printed on the card w/ the QR. They can then transfer the number. So far, the dual sim w/ esim works pretty well. Only hang up I am having is with visual voicemail. I only seem to be able to access VM on my primary number. My business line (which is my secondary line) I likely have to call in to VM all old school like, which to be honest I would rather have VM for that line vs my primary line. Hopefully another update through Apple fixes this. I’m on iOS 12.1.1. My primary number is on the eSim and my business line is an ATT prepaid voice and data plan on the physical nano sim so when I travel overseas I can simply give that sim to my business partner to put in an old backup iPhone 6 we have and I can purchase a sim where I am traveling to use data. My iPhone isn’t unlocked though, so I’m not sure if ATT will let the phone utilize a sim from another carrier quite yet. I usually just pay for the pass when traveling and try to use WiFi for the most part.



13 Messages

5 years ago

So, update!!! Just went to the AT&T store and asked for the most knowledgeable rep and knowledgeable and willing rep I did get!!!

Here is what you have to do....

AT&T stores have now received shipments of new eSims (looks just like a normal SIM card holder however instead of a sim it has a QR code on it)

You would go to your phones settings and click: cellular > add cellular plan> scan the QR code (you'll get prompted) now select which line you want to use for what Priority (secondary vs primary)

Next, he took the SIM card number off the QR code card and entered it into his system on his computer/ipad along with finding the digital IMEI (phone serial) in the phone setting.....

Once the eSIM number off the QR code card and the IMEI are in the their system.... BOOM!!!! ACTIVATED with no physical sim!!!

I have the unlocked iPhone XS and I can confirm you CAN put your existing number on your primary line and keep the SIM card tray EMPTY or with a different number sim simultaneously

DO not fall for the "we need to add a line" nonsense.....

I used to work for AT&T thats is why I was so positive that the first answer I was given is incorrect. Stubbornness and thinking outside the box (based on my knowledge) for the WIN!!!!

Hope this helps!



New Member

1 Message


I’ve confirmed that it is indeed possible and after the store rep telling me it’s impossible and then calling customer service, that rep says it’s possible to go back to the store and get a esim qcode. Then call back and activate it. But then I get another rep on the phone who tells me it’s impossible. So eventually we get off the phone after he explains how impossible it is. I found your post and decide to call back again where I find a rep willing to do it and now the phone is running just fine without any sim in the tray.


3 years ago

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3 Messages

5 years ago

I was told same today, that they can’t activate eSIM on my existing AT&T line, they said they have to add another number... it’s a scam, i had to remove the new number before I left... the was ATT store E Colonial Dr.Orlando, FL 32803.... horrible experience... would stay away from that store.
I will try different store or company tomorrow.

[Edited to comply with Guidelines]



13 Messages

5 years ago

That’s very unfortunate, those guys are under so much pressure to add lines to meet their sales goals that they forget to tell the truth!!! Most of the people at AT&T that know anything know that it doesn’t make any sense what they are telling people, but they just have no choice. Do go to another store, and if you get any pushback, just ask them to get you the eSim card with the QR code on it, and just leave and activate it over the phone with customer care, as far as I saw it activated just like a regular sim in their system. Let us know if you need anymore help! I can confirm that I am using 2 different numbers in my phone and the main one I’ve had for over 10 years IS an eSim

(Video) How To FIX Esim Not Working On iPhone!


7 Messages

5 years ago

Terrible experience today in Philadelphia...

I visited 3 AT&T stores for an eSim for a new iPhone XR (the reason why I bought this phone is because I need to have a dual sim phone as I'm traveling a lot abroad...)

First store: we don't have eSim, sold out.

Second store: the system is not working, go somewhere else, anyway we can make a good offer on a new wifi plan (?!?)

Third store: we have the eSim (finally) but you need to add a new line, this is the only way to have the eSim.

I have no words, I was almost going back to Apple to give back my new telephone and trade it with a iPhone 8... thanks to you guys seems that is possible to transfer an existing number/line to the eSim, thats what I need.



13 Messages

5 years ago

Yeah man that really stinks that you’re having this experience!! But yes it is definitely possible!!! My thinking in this situation would be to ask anyone you know that’s willing to visit their local att store for you to get that stupid eSim.... because all you really need is for somebody to send you a picture of that QR code for you to scan with your phone that’s how that SIM card number becomes embedded into your phone! Then just simply call AT&T and tell them to change the IMEI number on your account to the digital IMEI or even visit one of those 3 useless stores to get help once you get that QR code. Don’t give up yet, success is near!!!

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How do I get an eSIM from ATT for an existing number? ›

Download an eSIM to a new AT&T device

Be sure to activate your phone first. Then turn it on and follow the prompts to download your eSIM. Have an existing AT&T number? Just turn on your new phone and follow the prompts to download your eSIM.

How do I activate my eSIM with an existing number? ›

How to download your eSIM to your Android phone
  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Network & Internet. 2 Images.
  3. Tap the plus button next to SIMs. ...
  4. Tap Download a SIM instead at the bottom of your screen. ...
  5. Tap Next.
  6. Scan your QR code. ...
  7. Once your code has been confirmed, tap Done to complete your eSIM activation.
May 1, 2023

Can I convert my existing SIM to eSIM ATT? ›

Go to Settings. Select Cellular. Select Add Cellular Plan. Select Convert to eSIM.

Can the existing number be converted to eSIM? ›

On your iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular. Tap Convert to eSIM. If you don't see Convert to eSIM, your carrier doesn't support this option. Contact your carrier to move your phone number from your physical SIM to an eSIM using eSIM Carrier Activation or by scanning a QR code.

Can I get a new eSIM with same number? ›

Each SIM Card whether it is a eSIM or the physical SIM Card can only have one mobile number for each SIM Card. The eSIM will have a different mobile number, and so would the physical SIM Card.

How do I get an eSIM QR code for AT&T? ›

To replace your eSIM QR Code :
  1. Go to your myAT&T account overview.
  2. Scroll to My devices.
  3. Choose Manage for the device that needs a new eSIM.
  4. Scroll to Options & settings and select Get a new eSIM.
  5. Confirm your selection to Get a new eSIM.
  6. Follow the prompts to complete your eSIM setup.
Jan 20, 2023

Can you activate an eSIM by yourself? ›

To activate your eSIM, you need a wireless carrier which provides you an eSIM profile as well as an eSIM data plan. To download your eSIM profile on your Android device, you may receive an “activation code” from an eSIM carrier. The activation code is in fact a download link.

Why won t my eSIM activate? ›

As for Android users, check that the coverage in the area where you are is strong enough. And if not, you can restart the device and restart the “Mobile/Cellular Data” option until it starts working. Also, people can reset the network of the device in the same way as with an iOS device.

How long does it take to activate eSIM ATT? ›

The device will download the eSIM in the background and activate your service on this new device while you continue to setup your device. This process may take a few minutes.

Can I switch back and forth between SIM and eSIM? ›

Tap Settings, tap either Cellular or Mobile Data, and then tap the plan you want to use. Then tap Turn On This Line. To switch between your SIM and eSIM for Android: Open your phone's Settings.

How do I know if my eSIM is activated? ›

Open the “Settings” app on your Android device. Scroll down and tap the “Network & Internet” or “Connections” option, depending on your device. Look for the “SIM cards” or “Dual SIM & eSIM” option and tap on it. If you see an option for the eSIM that shows “Connected” or “Active,” it means your eSIM is activated.

How to activate eSIM without QR code? ›

If you cannot scan the provided QR-code, you can install the eSIM by entering the eSIM installation details manually if you have an Android device. For iOS devices, you can select the Direct method for installing the eSIM on the same device or the manual method.

How do I activate AT&T eSIM on my iPhone? ›

Set up eSIM
  1. From the home screen, select the. Settings app.
  2. Select Cellular, then select Add eSIM.
  3. Select Use QR Code.
  4. Use your iPhone's camera to scan the QR code. Select Enter Details Manually at the bottom of the screen to manually enter your plan information.
  5. Select Continue.

How do I activate eSIM online? ›

For Android devices
  1. Tap Network & Internet from Settings.
  2. Tap + next to Mobile network/Add Mobile Plan.
  3. Tap don't have a SIM card?
  4. Scan the QR code.
  5. Tap Activate to add the eSIM to your device.
  6. Choose a number (SIM) to use.
  7. Turn on the Mobile Data on eSIM and keep the data roaming enabled to access the internet.

Does it cost money to switch to eSIM? ›

There are no fees to activate an iPhone with an eSIM.

Should I convert SIM to eSIM? ›

With that being said, unless you are signing up for a new plan with a carrier and are getting an eSIM to being with, we don't recommend you convert your physical SIM to an eSIM just yet. While there is a chance everything will work as expected, there's also a chance you'll be left without service for hours on end.

Does AT&T have a free trial of eSIM? ›

Verizon and T-Mobile both offer eSIM free trials to everyday consumers, though sadly, AT&T does not. If you want to try out AT&T's network, the easiest way to do it is through a Cricket eSIM trial. Just be aware Cricket won't have the roaming agreements or the data prioritization you'd get with AT&T directly.

Can you have an eSIM and physical SIM from the same carrier? ›

If your phone is carrier locked then the second (e)SIM needs to be from the same carrier. You cannot mix carriers unless the phone is unlocked. When both the SIM and eSIM are active you can make and receive calls on either number, but the phone will only connect to one cellular network at a time.


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