Can I Use eSIM on a Locked Phone
How-Tos & Tutorials

Can I Use eSIM on a Locked Phone? Understanding Compatibility and Unlocking


In the scuddling realm of mobile phone technology, eSIM offers users a convenient alternative to traditional physical SIM cards.However, leveraging this innovative technology depends on whether your phone is locked or unlocked to a specific carrier’s network.

A “locked phone” restricts usage to a designated carrier, limiting the flexibility to switch networks or utilise eSIMs from different providers. On the other hand, an “unlocked phone” offers the freedom to connect to any carrier’s network and supports using eSIMs for enhanced versatility.

While the usage status of eSIM might seem perplexing to you at times, this article aims to be your go-to resource to demystify this confusion.Therefore, we will have a closer look at the compatibility and unlocking procedure, along with various other intricacies such as:

  • The distinction between a “locked phone,” which is tied to a specific carrier’s network, and an “unlocked phone,” which allows flexibility to connect to any carrier.
  • Methods that can be used to ascertain whether a phone is locked or unlocked.
  • Actionable steps for users with locked phones seeking to utilise eSIMs.

Are you excited to learn more about this? Let’s get straight into it.

Can I use eSIM on a locked phone?

No, generally, you cannot use eSIM on a locked phone. A locked phone is restricted to a specific carrier’s network, preventing the use of eSIMs from other carriers.

To use eSIM functionality, the phone must be unlocked by contacting the carrier and fulfilling any requirements, such as paying off the phone or completing the contract term.

Unlocking the phone enables compatibility with eSIMs, offering flexibility to use different carriers and data plans.

Moreover, the data stored on eSIM can only be used during the validity period and gets lost after its expiration,

What is a Locked Phone?

An “unlocked phone” is a mobile device not restricted to a specific carrier’s network. When you use a mobile phone, it relies on a carrier to make calls and access mobile data.

Carriers provide access to their network so your phone can function.

You can connect to any carrier’s network if your phone is unlocked.

Conversely, if your phone is locked, it is limited to connecting to only one specific carrier’s network as part of your contract.

How to Check if Your Phone is Unlocked

To determine if your phone is locked or unlocked and its compatibility with eSIM, follow these methods based on your device type:

General Methods:

Purchase Source:

  • Phones bought directly from the manufacturer (e.g., Apple or Samsung) are usually unlocked.
  • Devices purchased from telecom providers may be carrier-locked.

Test with Another SIM Card:

  • Borrow a SIM card from a friend or family member on a different carrier.
  • Insert the new SIM card into your phone.
  • Your phone is likely unlocked if you can make calls or send messages using the new SIM.

Specific Device Check:


  1. Open “Settings” on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on “General” and then select “About.”
  3. check for “Carrier Lock” or “Network Provider Lock.”
    • If a specific carrier’s name is displayed, your iPhone is locked to that carrier.
    • Contact your carrier to request unlocking for eSIM usage.

Google Pixel

  1. Navigate to “Settings” on your Google Pixel.
  2. Tap on “Network & internet.”
  3. Disable “Automatically Select Network” to view available carriers.
    • If only one carrier is listed, your Google Pixel may be locked to that carrier.
    • Contact your carrier to request unlocking for eSIM usage.

Samsung Device

  1. Access “Settings” on your Samsung phone.
  2. Tap on “Connections,” then select “Mobile Networks.”
  3. Choose “Network Operators” and disable “Automatically Select Network.”
    • If a specific carrier’s name is displayed, your Samsung phone is likely locked to that carrier.
    • Contact your carrier to request unlocking for eSIM usage.

Unlocking Process:

  1. Recent phone purchases or those under payment plans may have unlocking restrictions.
  2. Contact your carrier about unlocking your device for eSIM compatibility.

Using these methods and checking specific device settings, you can determine whether your phone is locked and ensure compatibility with eSIM technology.

If necessary, unlocking your phone will enable you to enjoy the benefits of eSIM functionality seamlessly.

How Can I Use eSIM on a Locked Phone?

To use eSIM on a locked phone, follow these steps:

Contact Your Carrier:

  • Reach out to the carrier listed in your phone settings (Settings > General > About > Carrier Lock or Network Provider Lock).
  • Inquire about unlocking your phone to enable eSIM functionality.

Request Phone Unlocking:

  • Ask your carrier to unlock your phone specifically for using eSIM.
  • They may require you to fulfil certain conditions, such as paying off any outstanding balance on your phone or completing your contract term.

Consider Paying Off Your Phone:

  • If unlocking requires paying off your phone first, evaluate the cost versus the benefits.
  • Using an eSIM can offer cost-effective mobile data options, especially useful when travelling, as you can download a SIM card (eSIM) for your destination.

Recommended Read: Will Factory Reset Delete eSIM?

Wrap Up

All in all, leveraging eSIM technology on mobile devices begins with understanding your phone’s lock status. A locked telephone restricts users to a single carrier, limiting network flexibility and eSIM compatibility.

Conversely, an unlocked phone unlocks a world of possibilities, allowing seamless connectivity across various airlines and enabling eSIMs for enhanced convenience.

By following the outlined methods to determine phone lock status and taking proactive steps to unlock devices when necessary, users can harness the full potential of eSIMs.

Whether for international travel, flexible data plans, or seamless network switching, eSIMs offer a versatile solution in the ever-changing landscape of mobile connectivity.

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