Latest Pixel beta update preps built-in eSIM conversion tool

Google Pixel 8 Pro

What you need to know

  • References to an updated eSIM conversion tool have been spotted in the latest Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3 version. 
  • Through the settings app and SIM Manager, Pixel phones will be able to convert a physical SIM card to eSIM.
  • This would serve as an alternative to having to go through a cellular carrier to transition to eSIM. 

Google is working on a tool for Pixel phones that will convert physical SIM cards to eSIM, according to references in Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3 spotted by 9to5Google. Though the feature isn't currently functional, it could become a better way to switch to eSIM than going through the cellular carriers.

For decades, phones have used physical SIM cards to connect to cellular networks. Apple made headlines when it ditched the SIM card slot on the iPhone 14 series, going all-in on eSIM. While most Android phones still have physical SIM card slots, eSIM on Android has been available for a while.

Now, Android users can choose to connect to cellular via eSIM over a physical SIM card. The idea behind eSIM is that it would make it easier to switch between phones, carriers, and more with little interruptions to service. It would also be better for the environment, as we wouldn't have to make any more SIM cards. 

However, there have been mixed results so far, as struggles with eSIM have involved loss of service for some users. Technical difficulties have also forced some users to go into a carrier's retail store to solve the problem, eliminating the convenience factor of eSIM. 

That could all get better with a Pixel eSIM conversion tool, which could change a physical SIM card to an eSIM while on any carrier. The following references were discovered by 9to5Google, showing some prompts you may receive when using the feature:

  • SIM converted
  • Can't convert SIM
  • Your [carrier] SIM card can't be converted to eSIM. You can contact [carrier] for help.
  • Something went wrong with converting your eSIM. To fix the problem, contact [carrier].

The above references presumably reflect the possible outcomes that can occur when trying to convert a SIM to eSIM. It won't work every time, but when it does, it could be a solid at-home solution.

9to5Google also found a Convert to eSIM button in the settings app on Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3. However, it's nonfunctional as of now. 

Since the eSIM conversion tool has only appeared in a pre-release build of Android 14, there's no guarantee if or when it'll come to public versions. However, Google already has a feature that can transfer an eSIM from an old Pixel phone to a new one. A natural next step would be to make the process of converting physical SIM to eSIM easier. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.