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You can now activate Google Fi via eSIM on newer iPhones

You can now activate Google Fi via eSIM on newer iPhones


You’ll need an iPhone that supports Dual SIM

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Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge

Google’s wireless network, Google Fi, can now be activated on an iPhone via eSIM, as spotted by 9to5Google. That means you can use a Google Fi number on your iPhone in addition to your phone number that’s hooked up to the physical SIM card that sits in the SIM tray in your iPhone. It also means you can get a Google Fi number without having a SIM card mailed to you or having to buy one at a retail store like Best Buy.

However, there are two caveats to the new feature. Google says that only new Google Fi users can activate via eSIM on iOS, and activation over eSIM is only supported by iPhones with Dual SIM functionality: the iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, and 11 series of phones.

Activation over eSIM is only supported by iPhones with Dual SIM functionality

If you’re a new Google Fi customer and have a supported iPhone, Google has a support page with instructions about how to activate your Google Fi via eSIM. You’ll need to sign up for Google Fi on the Google Fi website, opt in to “Quick setup” on the website, and download the Google Fi iOS app to be able to activate over eSIM. Once you have everything set up, visit on a device that’s not your iPhone, such as your laptop, then sign in to your account and follow the instructions.

Google offers two types of plans for Google Fi: a flexible plan, which has a lower base monthly rate for unlimited calls and texts but requires you to pay an additional $10 for every gigabyte of data you use per month, and an unlimited plan, which has a more expensive but consistent monthly fee that lets you use unlimited data (with some caveats) in addition to unlimited calls and texts.

However, Google Fi for iOS is in beta, meaning that the wireless service doesn’t have all of the same features as it does on Android phones that are designed for the service, such as the Pixel 4. You’ll have to tweak your iPhone’s settings to be able to send texts to phones that aren’t iPhones, for example, and you won’t be able to use Google Fi’s VPN.