There are many useful features that people look for in their smartphones. The ability has two phone numbers, through the use of two SIM cards, is one prized by many. It’s an option many iPhone users like to have, but Apple has been reticent to offer this in major markets, even though all the hooks and supports are hiding inside the iPhone’s software and hardware.
Outside of the Chinese market, modern iPhones do support two SIMs; only the first is a physical SIM card, while the second is a digital eSIM. Not every network supports eSIM, and for many, it may be more convenient to have two physical SIM cards in their phone.
Apple does not offer this solution to its customers, the only iPhone configurations are around colour and storage. Could western iPhones support two physical SIMS? Hugh Jeffreys decided to find out; after all the iPhone already has two IMEI numbers, and the SIM component is modular.
Ordering a replacement dual-SIM component for a Chinese iPhone, Jeffreys got to work on the physical side of things. Disassembling the iPhone (not the simplest of tasks), he was able to access the module. Curiously it is simply screwed into the board, with a simple flex cable and connector. In other words, a very simple switch out of the two components.
On rebooting, the iPhone picked up on the dual-SIM module, reconfigured the Settings app to deal with two physical cards, and Apple’s smartphone ran happily with two physical SIM cards.
Curiously, there is no hardware lockout that third-party repairers have to deal with when replacing a TouchID sensor, nor are there any warnings about using unauthorised parts as you can see when a battery is replaced outside of Apple’s domain. That the module is easily switched out, rather than heavily glued and soldered in place is also notable.