Google is working on a feature that will allow Android users to seamlessly transfer eSIM across Android phones, by just using QR codes. The company announced the development of eSIM transfer functionality at this year’s MWC in Barcelona. The latest beta builds of Android 14 have started to show this feature, hinting at a nearing rollout.
The eSIM technology has existed for almost half a decade, but it has received a massive push after Apple introduced eSIM-only iPhones in the US. Although the transfer of eSIM across devices has become easier, it still takes around an hour to complete to process and also needs approval from cellular providers in some cases.
Transfer eSIM across Android Phones Using QR Codes
As spotted by a Twitter user AssembleDebug, the latest beta versions of Android 14 appear to have an eSIM transfer feature using QR codes. This option will be available while setting up a new phone, to ensure seamless connectivity transfer from one Android to another.
Google says that is planning to make eSIM transfer as easy as sharing images. The developer who noticed this feature says that this feature is currently not functional. It looks like Google is still working on this project. We can expect this feature to first arrive on the Pixel 8 Series, with a wider rollout to all other devices running Android 14.
The eSIM transfer function comes as no surprise, as Google had already announced it in February 2023, at the MWC in Barcelona. Android developer and researcher Mishaal Rahman also spotted eSIM transfer profiles in some beta builds of Android in January.
As for converting a SIM profile into an eSIM profile, that’ll probably be even more limited, as it’d depend on whether the carrier of that profile supports eSIM activation.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) January 9, 2023
How Will eSIM Transfer Work in Android?
Google appears to making eSIM transfers quick and simple. The older device will show a QR code, which will be required to scan from the newer device. Once the verification gets completed in the backend, your eSIM should get transferred without any intervention from your network provider.
As of now, shifting your eSIM across devices is still a longer process when compared to simply transferring the physical SIM card. Hence, users who keep changing their devices frequently, or overseas travellers find it difficult to switch SIM cards within a short time.
The eSIM transfer feature in Android 14 will give a huge push to the adoption of eSIM technology. Apple has already started its crackdown on physical SIM cards with the iPhone 14 Series, which is expected to continue with the iPhone 15 as well.
Phone manufacturers prefer to provide an eSIM as it helps to reduce the number of holes in the device, making it easier to make phones water resistant. It also saves space within the phone, as the physical SIM tray needs to reside in the phone. eSIM will also help in cases of phone thefts, as phones will be easier to track when thieves can’t remove the physical SIM.
We can expect the official announcement of the eSIM transfer feature during the launch of the Pixel 8 Series in October. However, Google has not shared the exact timelines for the launch.