How do I install eSIM? Is it complicated?

Spoiler: no it’s not! Nothing could be easier.

Nomad team

Nomad team, UX Lead

Sep 29 · 4 min read

The funny thing is, eSIMs are the easiest thing in the world to install. Yet, we hear it often enough from our customers all over the globe: “how do I install my Nomad eSIM?” or “I’ve installed the eSIM, now what?” Actually there are several steps involved in the eSIM installation process. But fear not, it’s super easy and takes just 5 minutes to install.

Here we will break down the steps, and get you connected right away! For a more general introduction to eSIM, check out our other article.

Before installing (indeed, before buying) - just check: is my phone compatible with eSIM?

It might sound obvious, but of course you aren’t going to be installing any eSIMs in a hurry if your phone simply is not an eSIM-compatible, unlocked phone. But fear not - these days most of the flagship models of major manufacturers support eSIM, so don’t get left behind!

Check here for the latest and most updated list of eSIM compatible smartphones. New eSIM-compatible models are released every quarter so check back often.

Installing your eSIM - 2 Methods

We recommend installing the eSIM soon after purchasing the plan, to make sure you can start using the data when you need it. Note that installing is not the same as activating. Installing your eSIM in advance will not start the expiry of the plan, expiry starts only after you activate the plan.

There are a few ways to install your eSIM Data Plan, and Nomad has tried to streamline the process as much as possible. As with all eSIM providers - not just Nomad - there are 2 options to install your eSIM:

The recommended way to install your eSIM is through the QR code we provided via in-app instruction and email (if you’re not on Nomad, most providers will email you the instructions).

a. Print out the QR code or display it on another screen

b. On iOS: Go to Settings > Cellular (or Mobile Data) > Add Cellular Plan (or Add Data Plan), then scan the QR code

c. On Android (Google Pixel): Go to Settings > Network and Internet > SIMs > Add More > Download a SIM instead, and then scan the QR code

d. On Android (Samsung): Go to Settings > Connections > SIM Card Manager > Add Mobile Plan > Scan QR code

2. Install eSIM via Manual Input

Though not recommended, for various reasons you may prefer to install the eSIM through manual input. This is possible on iOS devices and some Android devices.

a. Simply to go Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plan and click "Enter Details manually" on the bottom.

b. Enter these information provided in your Nomad in-app instruction or purchase email:

  1. SM-DP+ address
  2. Activation Code
  3. Ignore the Confirmation Code field as it is not required

Activating Your eSIM

When you are ready to use the plan, simply go to your phone’s settings and turn the Nomad eSIM on:

  1. On iOS: Settings > Cellular > toggle the Nomad eSIM on
  2. On Android: Go to Settings > Network and Internet > SIMs > Tap the Nomad eSIM > toggle Use eSIM
  3. Make sure "Data Roaming" is enabled
  4. Make sure to select the Nomad eSIM as the “default” or “primary” for cellular data
  5. Keep your home SIM or phone number as the “default” or “primary” for call and texts, so that you can continue to receive and send calls to your home mobile while abroad
  6. Final step: go back into the Nomad app, or log into your account on the Nomad website > navigate to the My eSIMs page > click the blue Activate Data Now button ( see screenshot ). Not all of our plans require this step - some plans are automatically activated upon landing in your destination and once connected to the local network. Always be sure to turn on Data Roaming and set the eSIM as primary for data in your phone’s settings, however!

Troubleshooting common issues in eSIM Installation & Activation

If you have trouble installing eSIM, activating your plan or using the data, please refer to these common solutions:

  1. eSIM only works on an unlocked phone. If you see the message "Cellular Plans from This Carrier Cannot be Added. Your device can only use cellular plans from a different carrier", you probably have a locked phone with a carrier. In this case, please reach out to customer support if you would like a refund.
  2. Make sure the eSIM is turned on in your phone settings (the radio button is selected)
  3. Check if you have enabled "Data Roaming" for the line
  4. Select the Nomad eSIM for Cellular Data (in Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data)
  5. Turn on Airplane mode on your phone, wait for 15 seconds, then turn off airplane mode. This will reset the network connection and hopefully allow the phone to connect to the eSIM network successfully.
  6. If you have done all of the above, try turning off your phone and restarting it

Bonus: Adding More Data

If you already have an active eSIM installed, you can seamlessly add more data to it without the hassle of installing another eSIM. Simply go to eSIM page in Nomad app, click "Add more data" and enjoy connectivity without interruption. Please note that this method only works if you data is not used up or expired, so make sure to add more data in advance. The add-on will automatically turn on once data from your current plan is used up or expires.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this has been a helpful guide on how to install an eSIM and how to top-up data. See how easy that was? When was the last time it took you just 5 minutes to install… anything? Don’t wait and join the eSIM revolution with Nomad today. As always, we wish you the best on your travels.