I'm wondering if there is a way to turn off the Physical sim and use only the eSim on my iPhone XS Max. I travel a lot and I'm loving the use of eSIM.

I understand that I can turn off the eSIM if its required, but I wanted to know if there was any way to turn the Physical Sim off and leave only the eSim ON.

Note - I have an unlocked iPhone XS Max.

  • Do you have a carrier locked or unlocked iPhone?
    – Nimesh Neema
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 12:01
  • @NimeshNeema Unlocked iPhone in India.
    – Jash Jacob
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 12:02

2 Answers 2


I found the option buried under Mobile Data Settings. There is an option which states "Turn On this line". Toggle this ON/OFF to turn off the network. This works for both Physical SIM and eSim.

At any given time, You could -

  • Have Physical Sim ON and eSim OFF.
  • Have eSim ON and Physical Sim OFF.
  • Have both the Sim turned OFF.

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  • I had to turn mine on, then off again, to make the extra bars in the iPhone status bar disappear.
    – Freewalker
    Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 1:55

You cannot as such turn off the physical SIM card only.

You can however take out the physical SIM-card from the holder. The phone will still work, and you'll be able to use the eSIM to access carrier services.

If you haven't got an eSIM already, and you want the same carrier for the eSIM - please check your carrier's web site or support contact. Some times it is possible to transfer your subscription free of charge to an eSIM instead of a physical SIM - leaving the SIM-slot free to use for other carriers when travelling.

Not all carriers support eSIM yet though, so your mileage might vary!

If you really want to just turn off the physical SIM card without removing it from the phone, you could turn off and on the phone without entering the SIM PIN-code. The SIM card will not be active then (even though it is physically powered on). However, it will be annoying as the phone prompts you to enter the PIN-code when trying to make calls, etc.

  • I do not want to take the physical SIM-card out from the phone. That's why I asked if it can be turned off.
    – Jash Jacob
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 15:44

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