Google quietly releases eSIM Transfer Tool — why it's a big deal

A digital image of a smartphone with an eSIM design in the middle, demonstrating how to set up an eSIM on iPhone and Android
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google appears to have released its eSIM transfer tool for some users, albeit in a very quiet manner. But there are still some limitations on what it can do.

Google originally announced that it would support eSIM transfers across devices back during the Mobile World Conference in 2023, but the function did not arrive before the end of the year. However, a recent report from Android Police shows that the feature is apparently available on the Galaxy S24 during its setup period.

eSIMs, or electronic SIM cards, make shopping for new coverage much simpler. Because they are built into the device there is no need to remove the card when you want to switch plans. The main draw is that it should, in theory, make the changing of providers much more streamlined. However, that hasn’t always been the case and there have been reports of some annoying hoops that need to be jumped through. 

The biggest issue is that, when moving your plan, you will need to go through the whole set-up process again. Add to this certain complications when moving over to new devices and it became more of a hassle than it was likely worth. Google's Transfer tool would allow for a safe and secure transfer and help the eSIM to become far more efficient. 

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The first model to see the tool was the Pixel 8, with customers being able to transfer their T-Mobile eSIM from older devices. This led many to believe that it was only available on Google-brand phones, but it looks like that isn’t the case. An Android Police reader was supposedly able to bring up the feature on their phone from an LG V60. This led to the option of transferring the eSIM over using a simple QR code.

Originally Samsung had implemented a SIM transfer tool back in the One UI 5.1 release which only allowed transferring profiles between Galaxy devices. However, a tipster on Reddit, named FragmentedChicken, noticed that the language had been changed after the One UI 6.1 update. Apparently, the tool now lists itself as compatible with non-galaxy devices which could hint at a broader usability.

However, there is currently one large caveat that limits the service. It appears that it is locked to T-Mobile eSIM profiles. This isn’t that surprising as Google had mentioned at MWC 2023 that Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile, would be one of the first carriers to support the feature.

In essence, Google has released the eSIM transfer tool in relative silence, and it seems to be working as intended. However, the support is limited at the moment but this is still a large step in streamlining the transfer process and could mark a major change in SIM technology. 

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Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.