How To Install and Activate an Airalo eSIM: Your Complete Guide

How to activate an Airalo eSIM

If you’ve ever had to deal with a physical SIM card (which we’re sure you have), then you know how great it would be to switch to an eSIM. From instant connectivity when you travel to easy installation and activation steps, what’s not to like?

eSIM providers like Airalo (yes, that’s us!) help you stay connected on the go. And we take away the hassle of SIM cards to provide you with instant connectivity in 200+ countries and regions worldwide.

As with any new technology, you may need a bit of help getting started. In this article, we’ll take you through the steps to install and activate your Airalo eSIM.

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woman choosing an eSIM from airalo app

How To Activate an Airalo eSIM in 4 Steps

Before you install and activate your eSIM, make sure your device is:

  • Carrier-unlocked. This means that your device isn’t tied to a contract with a mobile carrier. If you bought your device outright, without any mobile service agreements, then your device is likely unlocked. If you aren't sure, we recommend calling your carrier to double-check!
  • eSIM-compatible. If you have a smartphone that was manufactured in 2018 or later, then your phone most likely supports eSIMs. Check our comprehensive list of eSIM-compatible devices to see if your phone is included.

Now that you’ve confirmed your device is carrier-unlocked and supports eSIMs, it’s time to follow these four easy steps to install and activate your eSIM!

Step 1: Buy an eSIM

First, you’ll need to purchase an eSIM. Here's how:

  • Go to the Airalo website or download the Airalo app (available on iOS and Android).
  • Choose an eSIM for the destination you're traveling to.
  • Consider factors like the amount of data you need, the eSIM’s validity period, and its price.

woman paying for esim on airalo app

Step 2: Install Your eSIM

Once you've purchased your eSIM, you'll need to install it on your device. Before starting the installation process, ensure you have a stable Wi-Fi connection.

Here are three different methods to install an Airalo eSIM:

  • Direct: Go to the Airalo app and follow the step-by-step prompts to install your eSIM.
  • QR Code: Scan a QR code to start the installation process.
  • Manual: Enter your eSIM details manually in your device's Settings section.

For more details on how to install your eSIM, follow the steps outlined in these links:

As you follow the installation steps, you’ll be prompted to label your eSIM. For example, if you’re visiting Egypt, you can label your line as “Egypt eSIM” to distinguish between your main SIM and your eSIM. It makes life a lot easier – especially when using your SIM card for calls and texts, and your eSIM for data.

woman looking at a Japan eSIM on the Airalo app

Step 3: Activate Your eSIM

Your eSIM's activation policy tells you when its validity period will begin. There are two types of eSIM activation policies:

  • eSIMs that activate when you connect to a supported network. Most eSIMs will activate when you turn on your eSIM line and connect to a supported network at your destination. Once you connect, your validity period will begin and you can start using your eSIM data.  
  • eSIMs that activate upon installation. Some eSIMs will activate immediately upon installation – even if you haven't left home. For eSIMs that activate immediately, we recommend installing them just before you travel so you can make the most of your eSIM data.

You can find the activation policy in your eSIM's Additional Information section:

  • Open the Airalo app.
  • Select the eSIM you wish to purchase.
  • Tap BUY NOW to view its details (don’t worry, you don't need to purchase the eSIM just yet). 
  • Scroll down to Additional Information.
  • Read the Activation Policy.

Airalo app in airplane

Step 4: Connect to a Local Network

Now that you know the two types of eSIM activation policies, let’s review the steps to turn on your eSIM line and connect to a local network.

Here's how to turn on your eSIM line on iPhone:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap Cellular.
  • Tap your eSIM line.
  • Toggle on Turn On This Line.
  • Toggle on Data Roaming.
  • Tap Network Selection and select a supported network (you can find a list of networks in the eSIM's Additional Information section).

And how to do it on Android:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap Network & Internet.
  • Tap Mobile Network.
  • Turn on your eSIM.
  • Turn on Mobile Data.
  • Turn on Data Roaming.
  • Select a supported network (you can find this in the eSIM's Additional Information section).

Airalo eSIM for Spain open on a smartphone

Choosing a Local, Regional, or Global Airalo eSIM

Using an Airalo eSIM enables you to connect in over 200 countries and regions around the world.

Even better, you can choose an eSIM package based on your travel needs. Choose from a:

  • Local eSIM: If you’re traveling to one destination, it makes sense to opt for a local eSIM. This type of plan gives you coverage in a single country.
  • Regional eSIM: Connect across borders without having to switch your eSIM. This type of plan gives you coverage in several countries in a particular region. It's perfect if you’re island hopping, going on a Euro trip, or seeking adventure in Africa!
  • Global eSIM: If you’re keen on traveling the world, a global eSIM is the perfect solution to keeping you connected. A global eSIM plan gives you coverage in several destinations worldwide.

Benefits of Using an Airalo eSIM

eSIMs have many benefits over traditional SIM cards, such as instant travel connectivity and more. Using an eSIM from Airalo comes with many benefits, including:

  • No roaming fees. Airalo eSIM plans are prepaid. You'll only pay for the data you purchase upfront or top-up along the way.
  • You aren't tied to a specific carrier. You can choose the eSIM data plan that best suits your needs and easily switch plans as you travel.
  • You can connect like a local. Airalo works with local providers to ensure you get the best prices and service during your trip.
  • Contact us 24/7. Our support team is available 24/7, so you can get the assistance you need, no matter your time zone.

woman holding a smartphone

FAQ About Airalo eSIMs

You might have a few questions as you consider using an Airalo eSIM for your travel needs.

How long does it take to activate my eSIM?

It takes no time!

Depending on your eSIM's activation policy, it will either activate as soon as you install it or when you connect to a supported network at your destination. 

In both cases, you need to turn on your eSIM line and connect to a supported network to use your eSIM data.

Do I need to reactivate my eSIM when my package ends?

No need! Your Airalo package already has preloaded data, based on the package you buy. If your data runs out or your validity period expires, you can easily top-up in your Airalo app. 

If your eSIM package doesn’t have a top-up option, you can download another eSIM package to stay connected. 

What can I do with my Airalo eSIM?

You can do the same things with an Airalo eSIM as you would a traditional SIM, including: connecting to a mobile network, browsing the internet, using your favorite apps, and using internet-based calling and messaging apps (like WhatsApp).

Can I use my SIM and eSIM together?

Absolutely! Most devices will allow you to use multiple SIMs and/or eSIMs at the same time. You can use your home network SIM for calls and SMS, and your eSIM for data.

If you still have questions on how to activate an eSIM, visit our Help Center or drop us an email at [email protected].

Looking to use an eSIM to stay connected during your trip? Browse Airalo eSIMs to connect in 200+ countries and regions.

Ready to try eSIMs and change the way you stay connected?

Download the Airalo app to purchase, manage, and top up your eSIMs anytime, anywhere!

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