Take a look at the spec sheet for the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and you might notice something unusual: instead of a regular Apple SIM, the kind we saw debut with the iPad Air 2 that supported multiple carriers and made it easy to get access to cellular data, Apple’s latest iPad permanently embeds that SIM within the tablet. What does that spell for users who want to jump between networks? After all, shortly after the Apple SIM debuted we learned about certain carriers locking the SIM card down, preventing it from being used with other networks – and the solution there was going out and buying a new Apple SIM. How are you going to do that with an embedded SIM? It turns out you do have some options, but that doesn’t make the situation any less confusing.
The new iPad Pro features both an embedded Apple SIM and a user-accessible SIM slot. Some carriers (like Verizon) won’t use the embedded SIM at all, and getting online with their networks will require the insertion of one of their own SIM cards.
Other carriers (like T-Mobile) will use the embedded SIM but not do any funny business with locking, leaving you free to swap data providers at your leisure.
Then there are carriers (like AT&T) who will use the iPad Pro’s embedded SIM, but depending on how you activate the device, will permanently lock the SIM to the carrier’s network. Luckily for users, there’s always the external SIM slot, and even if your internal SIM is AT&T-locked, you can pop in another SIM of your choice.
Basically, the embedded Apple SIM is a bit of a crapshoot: you might use it, you might not, and your carrier might ruin it for use with future networks. But no matter what happens with the embedded SIM, the tablet’s external SIM slot is always going to be accessible, free for you to do with as you choose.