iOS 12.1 Unlocks Dual SIM Card Support on iPhone XS, but There's a Catch

You might want to check if you're eligible.

An upcoming version of iOS 12 enables the use of two phone numbers on one phone, but not everyone will be able to take advantage. A Wednesday reports signals that beta versions of iOS 12.1 unlock the functionality on the iPhone XS and XS Max, suggesting the feature will arrive soon, but users may be disappointed to find their carrier doesn’t support the feature.

The two phones hit retailers earlier this month with the promise of dual SIM card support further down the road. While phones sold in China uses a SIM tray that supports two physical cards facing back-to-back, the version sold in other markets relies on using one virtual eSIM alongside the physical SIM. At the time of writing, only three carriers in the United States support eSIM: AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. MacRumors noted on Wednesday that while the feature has cropped up in beta versions, the limited support on the carrier side could keep it out of reach for some consumers in the short term.

iPhone XS dual SIM in action. Note the second set of signal bars under the larger set in the top right.


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Dual SIM card support is coming to the iPhone XR as well, a cheaper device announced alongside the XS and XS Max with a starting price of $749. The 6.1-inch device touts an LCD screen and just one camera lens, but it offers the same face-sensing technology and extended battery life. Pre-orders are set to begin on October 19 before shipping out on October 26. Analysts are already expecting serious shortages.

Current beta versions of iOS 12.1 also suggest a number of welcome changes coming to the iPhone XS. The Group FaceTime feature promised for iOS 12, with support for up to 32 participants, is set for a wider rollout. The company is also set to offer new depth control features on the camera. In-code hints also suggest that a new iPad is on the way with support for 4K external displays and USB-C.

The update has no firm release date, but with the iPad hints in the code and rumors that an upgrade could launch this year, iOS 12.1 could arrive sooner than expected.