There has always been one drawback when it came to most iPhones, which is that they never featured physical dual SIM support, unlike many of their competitors. Though if you own an iPhone XS or newer, your device would technically have dual SIM compatibility, since you could enable an eSIM in addition to a physical nano-SIM.
However, folks in mainland China, Macao and Hong Kong are luckier in that respect. If you purchase an iPhone XR or newer from these countries, you get to enjoy dual nano-SIM capabilities on your iPhone as they are available out of the box.
Nevertheless, this didn’t stop YouTuber and DIY repairman Hugh Jeffreys from taking matters into his own hands, literally. He purchased a modular dual SIM tray intended for the Chinese variant of the iPhone 12, with the intention of installing it into an iPhone 12 5G model from the US.
The dual SIM iPhone 12 replacement came with a SIM reader, tray and eject pin, which cost him AUD 24 (about RM 75). Installing it into the iPhone 12 would be a walk in the park for Hugh, but the real success factor depended on the iPhone’s software, as he says many modular components of the iPhone 12 are software-locked, which prevents third-party repairs.
He elaborated that some iPhones have lost Face ID capability after a third-party front camera installation, in addition to an iPhone losing TrueTone after a display replacement. Furthermore, the iPhone 12 that he was using already had an eSIM in use, so he hoped that the upgrade would override it.
Fortunately, upon installing the dual SIM reader and turning on the device, the iPhone’s SIM settings were different. The labels that first said “Physical SIM” and “Digital SIM” had changed to “Front SIM” and “Back SIM”.
Finally, Hugh then inserted two nano-SIM cards into the tray and a prompt screen to set a primary and secondary SIM automatically appeared. In other words, he successfully created probably the world’s first iPhone 12 that supports 5G mmWave that could take dual nano-SIM cards. Now that this new hack has been discovered, it is unclear if Apple is going to impose a software lock on its SIM readers in the future.