Android eSIM transfer tool could come to more phones, taking the headache out of switching devices

Close up of SIM card inside Google Pixel 7 Pro phone
(Image credit: Future / James Ide )

Android’s eSIM transfer tool could slowly become adopted by other carriers, allowing users an easier process when transferring contracts to new devices.

The eSIM transfer feature was introduced by Google last year at MWC (Mobile World Congress) and was initially only available on Google Pixel devices but that may have changed with the Samsung Galaxy S24.

According to Android Police, the feature was first noticed by Google Pixel 8 users, and it has now been spotted on the Samsung Galaxy S24 which could indicate the feature is no longer locked to Google Pixel devices. However, for now, the eSIM transfer tool only appears to work for eSIMs linked to T-Mobile, with no clear indication if and when other networks could adopt its use. 

As Samsung is one of the most popular Android phone manufacturers this could be a positive sign that other manufacturers and networks will jump on board to accelerate its adoption to the rest of the Android market.

The Android eSIM transfer tool should make it much easier to move your contract to a new device. Previously, you might be required to visit a store or use an app unique to your network provider, which could involve users going through the whole setup process again.

However, the standardization of the Android eSIM transfer tool could do away with individual devices' or networks’ own SIM transfer tools and existing compatibility issues by having all Android devices use Google’s eSIM transfer tool, thus ensuring smooth communication between all Android devices like eSIM transfers on Apple devices. 

What are the advantages to eSIMs?

An eSIM functions just like a physical SIM card, containing the data needed to access the carrier network but it is stored in your device instead of a removable card.

There are some advantages to using them too. For example, an eSIM can allow you to have multiple profiles on one device, e.g., for a work account and a personal account. They're useful if you're changing to a new device as you no longer have to swap cards when changing carriers. 

When you purchase a new contract you won’t have to go to a shop for a physical card or wait for its delivery, eSIMs offer the ability to buy and download your preferred package from your carrier and set it up quickly and securely by yourself. 

Other advantages of switching to eSIM could include seamlessly switching networks with just a few taps on your device. 

The shift could even change our phones, if eSIMs become the norm, then the physical space SIM cards used to inhabit on phones could be used to put in a larger battery, camera, or more effective cooling system. Also as they aren't physically SIMs, they can’t be removed if your phone is lost or stolen giving you a better chance of retrieving it.

While physical SIM cards are not extinct yet this could be a nail in the coffin for them and even be a sign that the shift to digital-only SIMs is closer than we think, but it also could be a step towards a more unified Android OS.

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Staff Writer, Mobile Computing

James Ide is a writer for TechRadar specializing in phones and tablets, having previously worked at The Daily Mirror since 2016, covering news and reviews.  

James loves messing with the latest tech, especially phones due to their incredibly rapid pace of development.

When not surrounded by various devices and/or tinkering with gadgets while putting them through their paces, James has a love of handheld consoles.

He is almost the textbook definition of a geek, who loves sci-fi, comics, games and of course, all things tech. If you think you have a story for him or just want to challenge him at Smash Bros, get in touch.