Can I use eSIM on a locked phone?

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By Heather

Travel & Tech Writer

Am I able to use eSIM on a locked phone
If you’re travelling, you can’t use eSIM on a locked phone because it won’t have the freedom to connect to new networks.

When a phone is locked to a particular carrier, it’s only allowed to connect to that specific network. Having a locked phone will prevent you from being able to connect to the new networks available at your new destination.

Why does my phone need to reach new networks?

Typically, a travel eSIM package will support 1-3 different networks. By keeping your network selection on ‚Automatic,‘ your phone will automatically connect to the strongest supported network in any given location on your trip, so you always have a solid data connection.

How do I know if I have a locked phone?

Your phone settings will show if your phone is locked to one particular network, or if your phone’s unlocked and able to connect to any network. It only takes a minute to check.

Is my iPhone locked?

1. On an iPhone, go to „Settings“

2. Tap „General“ and then „About“

3. Scroll down to see „Carrier Lock“ or „Network Provider Lock“

If the name of a carrier is displayed, that means your iPhone is locked to that carrier. You can’t use eSIM with a locked iPhone, so you’ll need to contact your carrier and ask to have the iPhone unlocked.

If you have a brand-new iPhone 15 or you’ve purchased your iPhone within the last six months and/or you’re on a payment plan, they may refuse to unlock your iPhone until a specific date.

If you see „No SIM restrictions,“ or more than one carrier is listed, that means your iPhone is unlocked and should be able to use eSIM normally, assuming it’s an eSIM-compatible iPhone model.

Is my Google Pixel locked?

1. On a Google Pixel phone, to go „Settings“

2. Tap „Network & internet“

3. Toggle off „Automatically Select Network“ to see available carriers

If the name of only one carrier is displayed, it’s likely that your Google Pixel is locked to that carrier. In order to use eSIM on a locked phone, you need to contact your carrier and ask for it to be unlocked. (Recent phone purchases and/or phones on payment plans may get in the way of this.)

If your Google Pixel displays „No SIM restrictions“ or shows multiple carriers, your Google Pixel should be fully unlocked and able to use eSIM, as long as the phone model supports eSIM. (Not sure? You can use our device checker.)

Is my Samsung phone locked?

1. On a Samsung phone, go to „Settings“

2. Tap „Connections“

3. Tap „Mobile Networks“

4. Tap „Network Operators“

5. Toggle off „Automatically Select Network“ to see available carriers

If the name of a carrier is displayed, that means your phone is locked to that carrier. In order to use eSIM on your locked phone, you should contact your carrier and request to have the phone unlocked. (If you’ve bought your Samsung phone fairly recently or signed onto a payment plan, this may be delayed until a specific date.)

If you see „No SIM restrictions,“ or more than one carrier is listed, that means your Samsung phone is unlocked and should be able to use eSIM normally, as long as it’s a Samsung that supports eSIM.

How to use eSIM on a locked phone

1. Contact the carrier listed in your phone settings

2. Ask for your phone to be unlocked so you can use eSIM

3. If this requires paying off your phone first, it may be worth it in order to have cheap data on vacation by using a downloadable SIM card (eSIM) for your destination