Apple no longer activates its proprietary SIM cards for iPads with cellular data

You'll have to use a carrier card or an eSIM to get online without WiFi.

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Jon Fingas
October 3, 2022 12:36 PM
In this article: news, gear, Apple, tablet, iPad, SIM
Apple 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2017)
Chris Velazco/Engadget

You may need to perform some extra legwork to connect an earlier iPad to cell networks. MacRumors has learned the company stopped activations for the Apple SIM in certain iPads as of October 1st. If you're affected, you'll have to either contact your carrier (and likely obtain a SIM card) or use an eSIM in newer tablets. This won't affect you if cell service is already enabled.

Apple included a conventional SIM with cellular versions of the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, 5th- and 6th-generation base iPads and the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro. An embedded version of the card was included with 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch and second-gen 12.9-inch iPad Pros. All iPads released from fall 2018 onward support eSIMs.

This decision is part of a broader trend. Apple has been shifting toward eSIMs in recent years, and went so far as to kill the SIM tray in US versions of the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro. The technology saves the cost and space of including a physical slot, and is more broadly supported than Apple SIM. Still, this could be a hassle if you planned to use cellular data on an older iPad and didn't set up the SIM until 

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Apple no longer activates its proprietary SIM cards for iPads with cellular data