The recent development that newer versions of Android will enable easy SIM to eSIM conversion has only confirmed suspicions that eSIMs will render SIM cards obsolete in the near future.

The recent ‘Convert to eSIM’ feature on Android 14's latest beta version is a significant indicator of this shift. The option allows users to transform their SIM cards into eSIMs directly from their phones, signalling a move towards a more integrated, software-based approach in mobile connectivity.

Android is currently the world’s most popular mobile operating system, holding a market share of 70.48%. iOS follows with a 28.8% share, and other operating systems like Samsung, Unknown, KaiOS, and Windows hold marginal shares.

While this transition simplifies overall user experience in dealing with eSIMs, it also aligns with the broader trend of digitalisation in technology, where physical components are increasingly being replaced by software solutions.

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The state of SIM to eSIM conversion

Currently, the process of converting a SIM card to an eSIM is typically managed by mobile carriers.

Users have to request the conversion from their service provider, who would then deactivate the physical SIM card and provide the user with an eSIM activation code, usually in the form of a QR code, which the user would scan with their device to download and activate the eSIM profile. This conversion process essentially transfers the SIM card's information, including the phone number, onto the eSIM.

While, this may sound straightforward, it involves the user to get in touch with the mobile carrier. Some carriers offer an online process, while others require a phone call or a store visit.

Additionally, they are required to backup important data to preserve it after the transition.

SIM to eSIM conversion on Android

In the latest Android 14 beta version users can find a Convert to eSIM button right in the phone's settings, under the Network and Internet section.

Right now, this button is just for show and doesn't do anything yet.

But it's a big hint that soon, Pixel phones running Android 14 might let you switch your regular SIM card to an eSIM directly on your phone.

This means you wouldn't need to physically move SIM cards between phones anymore. Most Android phones still have a slot for a SIM card, so it's not a must-have feature yet.

However, the move is strongly linked to Apple ditching SIM card trays in iPhones in the US earlier. Having this feature built right into your phone makes it super convenient, so you won't have to rely on your phone manufacturer or service provider to make the switch.

How eSIM conversion on Android could differ from eSIM conversion on Apple

Android's new 'Convert to eSIM' feature, unlike iOS, offers more flexibility.

On the iPhone 14 and 15 in the US, without a physical SIM slot, eSIM conversion happens only during initial setup or when moving from an older iPhone with a SIM card.

But with Pixel phones and most Android flagships supporting both eSIM and physical SIMs, this conversion could be done anytime, not just when setting up a new phone. This gives Android users the freedom to switch to an eSIM whenever they choose.

What to watch out for in Android 14

Android 14 is set to roll out across a range of recent Android devices, with a phased approach for different models.

Google Pixel phones, known for receiving timely updates, are among the first to get the new version.

The update includes Pixel models from the Pixel 8 series down to the Pixel 5, with notable inclusions like the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet. The Pixel 4a 5G marks its last update with Android 14, while the non-5G Pixel 4a is capped at Android 13.

For Pixel users eager to explore the latest features, joining the Android beta program is an option for early access to the QPR beta version of Android 14.

Meanwhile, Android 14 introduces several exciting features aimed at enhancing user experience and device functionality. Key updates include:

Centralized Software Updates Panel

Simplifies access to system and Google Play system updates, plus a shortcut to the Play Store for app updates.

Weather in Clock App

Adds weather forecasts to the Clock app's widget, displaying current conditions for multiple locations.

Phone as Webcam Feature

Allows the use of your phone as a wired webcam, compatible across various desktop operating systems.

New Lock Screen Clock Style

Introduces 'Metro,' a multicolor clock style that integrates with Material You.

Lock Screen Customization

Offers various lock screen clock styles and a complex interface option for additional information like weather.

Battery Health Feature

Provides insights into your phone's battery health, including charge cycles and remaining capacity.

Optimized Background Operations

Enhances standby battery life by prioritizing user-facing tasks and giving developers better control over background tasks.

Ultra HDR for Photos and Videos

Supports a backward-compatible Ultra HDR format for enhanced image and video quality.

These features reflect Android's ongoing commitment to improving user experience with practical and innovative updates.