iOS 16 to support eSIM transfer via Bluetooth

When Apple unveiled iOS 16 at their WWDC 2022 keynote event, there were loads of small features that Apple did not talk about. One among them is the ability to transfer eSIM connections between iPhones via Bluetooth.

Apple first introduced eSIM capabilities with the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. It has been supported on all iPhone models released since. It is essentially a digital SIM that can be activated by the carrier without needing a physical SIM card. This also allowed the iPhone to enable dual SIM support with a single SIM slot.

One of the ways an eSIM can be activated is by scanning a QR code that is provided by the carrier. In iOS 16, there appears to be a new method – Bluetooth transfer. It looks to be available in multiple countries, such as the the United States and the United Kingdom.

In the Settings app on an iPhone with an active eSIM, there is an option called Set up eSIM. Tapping on it will bring up a screen to transfer an eSIM and its associated phone number from another iPhone via Bluetooth. A requirement for this transfer is that both phones should be nearby and running iOS 16, should be unlocked and have their Bluetooth turned on. Another requirement is that carriers will need to support this feature from their end.

At the moment, Apple has released the developer preview of iOS 16, and the public beta will be available in July. The stable version of iOS 16 will arrive sometime in the fall of 2022, making this eSIM transfer available to all users.