Seeing a message that your “Number changed to Primary” on your iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR when you send text messages using the Message App? Wondering what it means?
Seeing this message is a new feature on these iPhone models that have dual SIM capabilities, including physical and eSIM. It is absolutely normal due to that dual SIM/eSIM functionality available on the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max.
- 1 Quick Tips
- 2 Using and XS/XR with iOS 12.0 (first release)?
- 3 What’s an eSIM?
- 4 Set-Up Primary and Secondary SIMs on Your iPhone XS and XR
- 5 Reset iMessage
- 6 Reader Tips
Follow These Quick Tips To Get Rid of Number Changed To Primary Message in Message App
- Toggle iMessage Off, wait 20-30 seconds, and toggle back on to refresh the connection to Apple’s Servers
- Set Up Primary and Secondary numbers for SIM and eSIM support, when using dual-SIM capabilities
- Set your default line options
- Change the number in iMessage and FaceTime line setting
- Check your phone numbers as listed in the Phone App. If it has the country code added, try removing it and then send a text to a friend or family member. Sending a few texts back and forth and see if the problem goes away
- Some folks found that adding the country code to their phone numbers also helped–so if you DON’T see the country code, try adding it into your numbers and see if it makes a difference
- Remove phone number in iMessage and then add it back in via signing out and back into your Apple ID
Please note that some of these options are not available in the first iOS 12.0 release
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Using and XS/XR with iOS 12.0 (first release)?
If you see this message on your new iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR and it’s using iOS 12.0–update to iOS 12.1 (if available or you are a beta tester) or wait for that next update to get the supported dual SIM features and settings on your phone.
To check your iOS version, go to Settings > General > About and scroll down to version.
What’s an eSIM?
An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to activate a cellular plan from a carrier without having to use a physical SIM card. eSIMs are stored digitally on your iPhone–there is no physical card to insert.
That means you can have two different phone numbers (or data plans) on your iPhone XS or XR! Like one for home and one for work. Or one for domestic and one for international calling while traveling or away on business.
Using different mobile carriers?
To use two different carriers, your iPhone must be unlocked. If locked, both your physical SIM and eSIM must be from the same carrier.
However, if a CDMA carrier provides your first SIM, your second SIM won’t support CDMA.
Since both of your phone numbers can make and receive voice calls and texts, you need to specify your primary and secondary numbers on your iPhone.
Set-Up Primary and Secondary SIMs on Your iPhone XS and XR
Once you activate a second SIM or eSIM, you must label your plans and choose which one is your primary. iMessage and FaceTime use your default line to call and send messages.
If using iOS 12.0 (Settings > General > About >Version,) you won’t see these options! Update to iOS 12.1 or above
Label Your SIM and eSiM
- Go to Settings > Cellular and tap the number to label it
- Tap Cellular Plan Label
- Select a prefilled label or create a custom label
Seeing Set Default Line Screen?
- iMessage and FaceTime require you to set up your default number
- Choose your options
- Set Primary as default–voice, SMS, Data, iMessage, and FaceTime all use your primary number
- Use Secondary–voice, SMS, Data, iMessage, and FaceTime use your secondary number
- Set Secondary for Data only–keeps primary for voice, SMS, iMessage, and FaceTime but data uses your secondary number
To change which line iMessage & FaceTime Uses
- Go to Settings > Messages.
- Tap iMessage & FaceTime Line
- Select which phone number you want to use for these services
Change Your Default Voice Line
- Tap Settings > Cellular > Default Voice Line
- Tap to change
Change your cellular data number
- Go to Settings > Cellular
- Tap Cellular Data
- Select which phone number you want to use for your data
If you set-up all your SIM and eSIM information and you still see this message, try resetting iMessage (or FaceTime)
- Go to Settings > Messages or Settings > FaceTime
- Toggle Off, wait 20-30 seconds, and toggle back on
If that doesn’t work
- Remove your phone number from iMessages
- On your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive
- Select your Apple ID and tap Sign Out
- Then go to Settings > FaceTime, select your Apple ID and tap Sign Out
- Sign back into FaceTime and then iMessage with your Apple ID
- Just delete the message threads from the contacts that say “number changed to primary.” That message goes away and it didn’t come back for me!
- Go to Settings > Phone > My Number. Mine had a “+1”(country code for the USA) before the area code. I removed that country code so now my number only shows up as a nine-digit number. I just texted my wife; when I did, the one I sent still popped up “Number changed to primary”, but her reply and every reply sent back and forth since hasn’t had it anymore. So try removing your country code from all your phone numbers!
- I would just wait until iOS 12.1 releases with the dual SIM/eSIM support. I don’t want to delete any threads or conversations because they have important information I want to save!
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.