I am so excited about what happened today. I checked my phone to see if any updates are available and to my surprise, Samsung is pushing the Android 12 / One UI 4 update right now to both the Galaxy Note 20 5G and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G unlocked versions.
When the Note 20 was first revealed to the public in 2020, I immediately pre-ordered my Note 20 Ultra from Samsung.com. I bought the unlocked version and paid the full price for it. This avoids all the bloatware network carriers put on the phone. There was still quite a bit of that on there which Samsung installed.
Anyway, the big reason why buying the Note 20 Ultra 5G (SM-N986U1) was the eSIM feature. eSIM is a digital SIM card instead of a physical SIM card in your phone. This feature is only available on the Ultra version of the Note 20. This will also allow me to use two SIM cards in my phone. One physical SIM and one eSIM. My plan was to get my current plan as eSIM on my phone so I can use th physical SIM card slot when I travel abroad. This would allow me to have two lines on the phone and easily switch between the two of them.
Yes, this was really one of the main reasons for me buying this phone. My previous phone was a Galaxy Note 8, which had outlived its purpose.
eSIM wasn’t available right out of the gate and I knew that. But did I imagine waiting almost 1.5 years to just get the feature unlocked in my device? Yes, that’s right, 1.5 years. In 2021, Samsung didn’t release a new Galaxy Note model, only a Galaxy S model and two foldable phones.
Carrier Support for eSIM
T-Mobile was the first carrier who provided e-SIM functionality for the Galaxy Note 20. This was back in April of 2021. That’s already an eight-month waiting period to get an eSIM on a device that was promised with this feature. It’s not that T-Mobile was new to eSIM, no they offered eSIM for iPhones starting in 2018. At the same time, T-Mobile also offered eSIM for Google Pixel devices. A little hack, which included flashing the T-Mobile firmware onto your unlocked Galaxy Note 20 Ultra gave you eSIM support back then. However, I wanted to stay as much stock as possible.
The next one in line was Verizon. Verizon rolled out eSIM support for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra back at the beginning of November 2021. That’s more than one year since the launch of the phone. Verizon allowed eSIM also if you bring your Note 20 Ultra from another carrier. However, if you had an unlocked model, you still couldn’t use eSIM as the firmware wasn’t supporting it yet. I called Verizon and Samsung multiple times about this issue but it’s always the same when you call a hotline. You get someone on the phone who barely knows who they are actually working for.
Android 12 / One UI 4 Upgrade
Today, January 12th, 2022, was the day I was able to download this firmware. First of all, I was super excited and I gave up to get eSIM support with this upgrade.
However, once the installation was complete and the phone rebooted, the SIM card manager popped up right away. The SIM card manager is essential to use eSIM and even add the eSIM to your Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
- Open Settings on your device
- Tap on Connections
- SIM card manager is in the lower third of the screen.
From here you can add an eSIM and deactivate your SIMs if needed. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra allows Dual SIM – Dual Standby. This means that you can use both SIMs at the same time. You can receive calls on either of the phone numbers.
Besides getting eSIM functionality you also got the latest Android version as well as Samsung’s latest launcher which is called One UI and it’s version 4 with this update.
Personally, I don’t care much for One UI. Samsung’s launcher has been horrible in the past and got better over time. However, I am sticking with my very much loved Nova Launcher. There are a few reasons for that. Nova Launcher can be better customized, it can be used on Android devices of different manufacturers and you always have the same layout and it is a super feature-rich launcher. Nova Launcher has more features than I ever will need.
Overall, I am very excited about finally being able to use eSIM. Let’s see how this works. Now “all” I have to do is, getting my eSIM, which I have tried before. You wouldn’t believe how surprised Verizon guys look at me when I ask to activate eSIM. Some of them don’t even know what it is and when they figured it out, they still don’t understand why I would like to do this, as I already have a SIM card on my phone. Even after explaining to them, they are still confused. Well, I just hope I find a decent tech somewhere who knows how to do this. I will update this post once I get eSIM all set up on my phone.
By the way, you might think the breaking news title sounds like clickbait. Well, maybe! For me, this was breaking news. After waiting more than 1.5 years and already giving up on ever getting eSIM, this was definitely something unexpected. You can search the internet, many of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra users were upset that they never got eSIM until now. Many had the same reason to buy this phone and even switch from a different manufacturer. Even the Samsung support forum is full of complaints. Samsung was pretty much just lying to its customers for 1.5 years. It wasn’t a full lie, more a “half-lie” as the hardware was there to support eSIM, but it never got activated in the firmware.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.