How To Transfer eSIMs Between Android Devices

SIM cards are required in devices with an active mobile plan to authenticate that device. While phones traditionally use physical SIM cards, in recent years, eSIMs have taken over. The issue with this change is that transferring an eSIM to a new device can be a little tricky and can sometimes require you to contact your provider or even go to the actual store for assistance.

Some manufacturers have tried to make the process easier. For example, Samsung also has an eSIM transfer tool. At MWC 2023, Google announced an eSIM transfer tool. The service first made an appearance on Pixel devices; however, it is now being rolled out to other devices.

The process is not complicated but can differ depending on your service provider and phone manufacturer. That said, it can be more confusing than swapping a physical card. This guide will also outline how to convert your physical eSIM to a digital one if it is not already, in addition to listing the benefits of doing so. It will also explain how to delete the eSIM off your old phone before initiating the transfer in applicable cases.

How to transfer on select devices

Galaxy and Google smartphones can transfer eSIMS through the first-time setup process or the settings menu after the device is initialized. In one reported case, a LG V60 ThinQ user claimed to have transferred the eSIM to a new Galaxy S24 Ultra, the successor to the "excellent" Galaxy S23. Google appears to be rolling out this feature to all compatible Android devices, so it may eventually be possible on your phone even if it is not a Google device. However, right now, this feature only works with T-Mobile devices — specifically, Galaxy phones with UI 5.1 OS and above.

Here's how to transfer your eSIM during a first-time setup:

  1. Place the phone you want to transfer the eSIM from and your new phone next to each other.
  2. Power on your new phone for the first time.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to progress through the prompts until you get to Connect to a Mobile Network.
  4. Tap Transfer SIM From Another Device.
  5. Once you are on the next screen, tap on the popup at the bottom of the screen on your old phone that says ”Transfer SIM to (name of your device).” (Depending on your device, it may be a Google PlayStore popup. This is the case for Pixel phones.)
  6. Use your old phone to scan the QR code shown on your new phone.

Once complete, you may need to contact your provider to confirm the transfer.