Apple Watches are a modern tool capable of texting, calling, giving directions, and more.
They come in two main varieties, GPS-only watches and GPS + Cellular watches.
But if you’re looking to boost your storage on your Apple Watch, you may be wondering whether or not they have SIM cards.
Do Apple Watches Have Sim Cards?
GPS + Cellular Apple Watches contain a SIM card, specifically an eSIM card. An eSIM is a SIM card that is built into the device and cannot be removed. Apple Watches that are GPS only, however, do not have a SIM card, nor can they have one put in.
Before you buy your Apple Watch, decide if you want cellular features, or if you think you ever will.
Remember an eSIM cannot be added later, it must be built into the device from the start.
If you think you might want the added features of cellular connectivity, it is likely best to go with the GPS + Cellular Apple Watch.
Does my Apple Watch have an eSIM?
This depends on if you have a GPS only Apple Watch or a GPS + Cellular Apple Watch.
If you can’t remember which one you purchased, or if you purchased a used Apple Watch, there are a few ways you can discover which version you have.
The easiest method is to look at the button on the side of the watch, referred to as the digital crown.
If the digital crown has a red ring or red dot on it, then the watch has cellular capabilities.
Alternatively, you can flip the watch over and look at the back.
There should be engraved writing that details the series number, the case material, the size of the case, the screen material, and if it is GPS only or GPS + Cellular.
If the above methods still leave you feeling uncertain, then you can also check the model number online.
This is a more involved process, but it is also guaranteed to tell you what type of device you have, and if that device can connect to a cellular network.
To find your watch’s model number, follow the steps listed below.
- Go to “My Watch”.
- Click on the “General” option.
- Click on the “About” section.
- Scroll down to where it says “Model”. There should be a string of letters and numbers beginning with the letter M.
- Click on this to see a new string of letters and numbers, now beginning with the letter “A”.
- Write down the model number that begins with “A” and go to Apple support’s watch identification page, linked here.
- You can now enter the model number that begins with “A” into the search bar. You should now see exactly which type of Apple Watch you have.
What exactly is an eSIM?
An eSIM is a type of SIM card. The “e” stands for embedded, meaning that the SIM card is built into the device and cannot be removed.
It is popular in small devices that require an independent connection to wireless networks.
The eSIM, once added to your cellular plan, will allow the device to stream music, receive calls and texts, get directions, and use Siri.
An eSIM functions the same as a regular SIM card.
The only difference is that an eSIM is significantly smaller and permanently attached to the device.
An eSIM is 60 times smaller than a nano-SIM, measuring only 2.5 mm x 2.3 mm x 0.2 mm.
In addition to the SIM itself being smaller, the fact that it’s embedded means that there is no need for a slot to house the SIM.
These features combined drastically reduce the overall space needed to house the SIM card.
The lack of a port for the sim card also makes the device stronger.
One less port on the device means one less place that water and dust can enter and potentially damage your device.
It’s also one less breakable part.
An additional feature of eSIM cards is that they are rewritable.
This means that a user can sign up for a local number when traveling abroad and continue using their device.
They don’t need to buy an entirely new SIM card, nor do they need to worry about losing their original SIM card.
This makes for an easier and more secure user experience.
eSim cards continue to grow in popularity.
Each year they are integrated into more devices, and they may one day make traditional SIM cards obsolete.
How do I activate the eSIM on my Apple Watch?
First, you want to check that your current cell carrier supports eSIM cards.
You can check their website, or you can give them a call.
Most cell carriers in the USA support eSIM devices, while many abroad are still in the process of supporting these types of devices.
Once you know you have an Apple Watch capable of connecting to a cellular service, and a cell service that supports eSIM devices, you will want to call your cell carrier or visit the store.
They can activate your eSIM card and set up an account for your Apple Watch.
Note that most cellular service providers charge extra per month to activate the eSIM on your Apple Watch.
Most carriers charge around 10$ per month, though your carrier may differ.
Do I really need cellular service for my Apple Watch?
Whether you need cellular service on your device depends on what you personally plan on using your device for.
Many people really enjoy having a separate device that has the full functionality of their smartphone.
GPS-only watches need to have their connected phone nearby in order to function.
They cannot tap into wireless cell networks, and therefore cannot receive calls or texts on their own.
This means that if you are going for a jog and want to stream some music, you must also take your phone with you if you are using a GPS-only Apple Watch.
Cellular compatible Apple Watches avoid these pitfalls by giving the watch its own cell connection.
If you are the kind of person who wants to leave your phone behind, but still stay connected to the digital world, a GPS + Cellular Apple Watch is likely the right choice.