Hope iOS 15 brings improvements to iPhone Dual SIM functionality

Dual SIM functionality in mobile phones, not just smartphones, has been around for about two decades. But it wasn’t until 2018 that Apple hoped to catch that bandwagon with the launch of the iPhone XS and iPhone XR.

Let’s face it. For years, the iPhone was primarily an American phone designed for the American user. In a market where carriers control almost all smartphone sales, dual SIM functionality has never been an option.

This model also meant that even Android vendors like Samsung that sold dual-SIM phones outside of the United States had to comply with carrier requirements or lose a shelf in stores.

No operator wants to sell you a phone that has room to insert a second SIM card from another operator. In fact, operators lock down phones on their network more, preventing one from hoping for another operator.

Of course, there is still room to unlock the locked phone, but even so, it won’t give you a second SIM card slot. In China, India and other parts of the world, dual SIM functionality is an old concept.

Smartphone sales are not heavily dependent on carriers in these parts of the world, which means network-locked phones are as rare as they come. Almost everyone has a dual SIM phone.

And there are various reasons why one would want dual SIM capabilities on their phone. This is precisely why many Android smartphones have had two or even more SIM card slots for over a decade.

HTC-Desire-V
HTC Desire V – one of the oldest dual SIM smartphones

The main reason I prefer dual SIM phones over single SIM models is that I no longer have to carry two phones or manually switch SIMs.

As stated before, you also get rid of the hindrances of using a single network, which means that you are free to switch to any network provider you want at any time.

There are many other reasons for choosing a dual SIM phone, including easily separating work and personal affairs, enjoying greater coverage, accessing cheaper rates from competing local or even overseas carriers, and more.

Even with all of these perks, Apple had to wait until 2018 before hoping to ship dual SIM with the release of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR handsets.

iphone xs
iphone xs

With this technology, iPhone users could finally use the physical SIM slot to house a second card, essentially converting iPhones to dual SIM smartphones for the first time.

Unfortunately, Apple was almost 10 years behind in the dual SIM market compared to Google. It also meant Cupertino’s dual-SIM functionality lagged behind Android in some aspects.

Three years and two iPhone iterations later, Apple still hasn’t caught up with Google on some of the more basic dual-SIM features.

Of course, Tim Cook and the group can be forgiven. After all, Google has had nearly a decade to perfect Android’s dual-SIM feature. But given the amount of resources at Apple’s disposal, implementing basic functions shouldn’t be a big deal.

The first major hurdle you have to face is having only one line that works with iMessage and FaceTime. You can still use the second line for basic text and picture messages.

Of course, these are loopholes that I can handle, but then comes the problematic part. On the latest iOS 14.7.1, I cannot have SMS conversations using different lines with the same contact.

For some reason, the phone never asks which line to use to initiate an SMS conversation and instead reverts to the line that was used in the previous or existing conversation with the contact in question.

The only time you have the option of choosing which SIM card to use when writing a text is if you are contacting the person in question for the first time on your iPhone.

Apple can easily solve this problem by allowing users to switch between SIM cards by tapping “Use primary for this conversation” or by adding a toggle on the “Info” page below.

iMessage-dual-SIM

It starts to get more annoying when you find out that there is no place to set a different ringtone for each SIM card, but perhaps the most frustrating thing is that you can never choose which line to use when calling. a contact recorded in real time.

Instead, you only have the option to force a default row for each contact or configure it to always revert to the “Last Used” row. And that doesn’t happen in real time either. You must change the settings before initiating the call.

Dual SIM iPhone functionality

In contrast, Android has a very easy to use dual SIM user interface where pretty much everything happens in real time. Want to text someone? Just open the messaging app and in the text box choose the preferred SIM card to use and boom, you’re good to go.

This means that you can start conversations from different lines but have them all in the same chat room. You can also have your Android phone ask for the line you want to use to make a call each time rather than forcing a default line.

There’s probably more to this dual SIM feature that I haven’t explored yet since I’ve only been on iOS for a few weeks now after being a staunch droid.

But as previously reported, Apple has only had about three years to work on its dual-SIM feature compared to Google’s ten-year-old work, so we can all agree that there is still room for improvement.

It is not yet known whether the next update to iOS 15 will bring much-needed improvements. But I would like to imagine that Apple is at least working to bridge the gap between iOS and Android when it comes to the dual SIM user interface and functionality in general.

Having said that, we would also like to hear from you. How was your experience with dual SIM on iOS, especially if you had the chance to use the feature on Android?

Share your thoughts via the poll and comments section below. The article will be updated after a week to reflect the poll results, so be sure to vote as soon as possible.

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