iPad connectivity can be divided into two broad categories: those with Wi-Fi connection and those that support cellular network connections (Apple calls them Cellular). But, within this last group, there is a subdivision: those with a physical SIM card and those that support virtual SIM (or eSIM). And in this post we are going to see which iPad models have this feature.
These models have eSIM
Activating a virtual SIM card is much faster and more immediate than activating a physical SIM. This arrives instantly and, thanks to a QR code or some credentials, we can activate a mobile network plan in a few minutes. Although WiFi + Cellular iPad models have a mobile network connection through a physical SIM, not all iPad models have eSIM. Devices that support virtual SIMwith their corresponding model numbers, are the ones you will see below:
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation): A2014, A1895
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation): A2609, A2232
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation): A2461, A2379
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th generation): A2764, A2437
- iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation): A2013, A1934
- iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation): A2068, A2230
- iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation): A2459, A2301
- iPad mini 5th generation: A2124, A2126
- iPad mini 6th generation: A2568
- iPad Air 3rd generation: A2123, A2153
- iPad Air 4th generation: A2324, A2325 and A2072
- iPad Air 5th generation: A2589 and A2591
- iPad 7th generation: A2200 and A2198
- iPad 8th generation: A2428, A2429 and A2430
- iPad 9th generation: A2604, A2603
- iPad 10th generation: A2757
These iPad models, in addition to having physical SIM card support, also support virtual SIM cards. The only exception of iPads with a virtual SIM card affects mainland China, where these will only be compatible with a physical SIM card. We have not included the model numbers of the iPad WiFi + Cellular sold in mainland China in the above list, since they are not eSIM-enabled for use.
What is Apple SIM
Some iPad models with a SIM card (both physical and virtual), they had a proprietary protocol called Apple SIM. Both in the form of a physical SIM card and an eSIM, this card was owned by Apple and was characterized by having the possibility of grouping several mobile network operators in the same place.
Although the physical Apple SIM card was not available in all countries, it could be contracted and activated virtually. However, as of October 1, 2022, this service is no longer available. If we want to activate a mobile data plan using the Apple SIM service, we will no longer be able to. If we want to contract a mobile network plan through eSIM, we must make sure that our telephone operator offers this type of service.
Although there are iPad models with eSIM, compatible with Apple SIM, we can activate a data plan using the operator’s credentials. It is not necessary, therefore, to go through the Apple SIM service to have a mobile data connection on the iPad. In fact, the most recent iPad models don’t even mention this feature anymore, since Apple has disabled it.