ARTICLE – May I vent for a few minutes? First of all, let’s go back in time when I was happily hating on the iPhone and loving Android. Back then, I was happy using the Pixel 2 XL, and later the Huawei P30 Pro as my daily driver. Every year when the new iPhones would roll out, I would buy one thinking that it would be the year when I’d switch back, and each time, I would change my mind almost immediately and return the iPhone to Apple. This went on for several years until 2020 when I was bored and decided on a whim to buy the iPhone 11 Pro Max. But, this time I didn’t send it back to Apple. I also ended up buying the iPhone 12 Pro Max that same year along with an Apple Watch and the latest iPad. Those devices along with my long-time use of MacBooks caused me to “suffer” what people call being locked into the Apple ecosystem. I didn’t care though. I was happy.
When the iPhone 12 Pro Max was launched, I bought one, and again, I was happy with it. When the iPhone 13 Pro Max was launched I bought one. Again, I was happy. But then in 2022, the iPhone 14 Pro Max was launched and that’s when my feelings started changing. Why? eSIMs.
eSIMs make a reviewer’s life too complicated
With the iPhone 14 Pro Max, Apple decided to remove physical SIM card slots in their phones. For most people, this isn’t a big deal. Most people don’t ever take the SIM cards out of their phones. I’m not like most people. I’m The Gadgeteer, and that means that I get the opportunity to test and review a variety of smartphones. And those smartphones aren’t iPhones. And those phones have SIM card slots which make it extremely easy to take the SIM card out of my current phone, pop it into the new phone, and go along my merry way. This changed with the iPhone 14 Pro Max. So I didn’t buy one.
A few months ago the iPhone 15 Pro Max was launched and I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and buy one. Switching an eSIM from the iPhone to the next Android phone I was offered to review couldn’t be that hard, could it? I found out a few days ago and the answer was no and yes.
I ordered the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra the day it was launched. When it comes to Android phones, Samsung reminds me of the good old days with Palm and Sony PDAs (personal digital assistants) when there seemed to be new devices released every few months with cool new never before seen features. Samsung has DEX, new AI features, a built-in stylus, etc. So I bought one and it was delivered this past Friday afternoon. I immediately unboxed it and when it prompted me to put in a SIM and gave me the option to move an eSIM from another phone, I threw caution to the wind and clicked the button to transfer the eSIM from another phone (my iPhone) and within a minute or so, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra was on the T-Mobile network with my existing phone number. Wow, that was easy.
Juggling eSIMs between phones is easy as long as…
But a few hours later I was having regrets about switching the eSIM and wanted to go back to the iPhone as my primary phone. That’s when the nightmare began. I looked for options on both phones to transfer the eSIM back to the iPhone and didn’t find anything. I Googled and didn’t find anything there either. So I went into the T-Mobile app on the iPhone and clicked on the live support chat feature. It told me someone would help me soon. One hour later someone came online and said they would help. I would answer a question and wait 10 minutes for a new response. Finally, the support person asked me for the IMEI number on the iPhone and told me he was processing the switch. Then he asked me for the EID number, which I gave him. I then received a popup on the Samsung phone saying that the eSIM was ready and did I want to activate it. Ummmmm… wrong phone. But before I could get help with that problem, the T-Mobile app kicked me out and asked me to log back in. No problem right? Well, yes, there was a problem because to log back in, it required me to type in a verification code that needed to be sent as a text message to my phone. And the text message never arrived. A quick test made me realize that calls or texts could not be received from either phone. ARGGGGGGGH! At this point, it was 9 pm and I decided to just go into my local T-Mobile store the next morning.
The next morning with iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in hand, I went into the store and explained the problem. The two guys there tried several things without luck. Twenty minutes later after many tries, they finally fixed the issue. I asked if there was any way that I could have done the switch on my own with an online tool or app and they said no. Moving an eSIM from an Android phone to another Android phone can be done easily but moving an eSIM from an Android phone to an iPhone would always require a visit to a store. UGH. Not what I wanted to hear. Again, for normal consumers, this won’t be a problem that comes up. But for someone who reviews phones, it’s a major hassle.
Is there a good solution?
As I see it, I have only a few choices.
- Ditch the iPhone and go back to using Android phones exclusively.
- Get a 2nd phone line that I only use with Android phones.
- Don’t test calling features when I review phones.
Am I missing any other possible solutions? At this point, I feel trapped by Apple. Even though I enjoy the perks of the Apple ecosystem, experiences like this one have left a bad taste in my mouth.