How to change Dual SIM settings on Android: all you need to know

If you're using a Dual SIM Android smartphone, you should know how to change its Dual SIM settings according to your preferences. You can select a preferred SIM card for mobile data and choose which SIM your Android smartphone uses when you're making calls or sending SMS messages. You are also able to customize your SIM cards if you need to differentiate between them more easily. If you are wondering "How do I set up Dual SIM?", this tutorial answers the question and illustrates all you need to know about SIM management on Android:

IMPORTANT: Android is available in many versions and customizations. To help as many users as possible, we used two different Dual SIM smartphones for this guide, ASUS ZenFone Max Pro and Huawei P20, both running Android 9 Pie. To help you follow everything, in our screenshots you can see the stock version of Android 9 Pie on the left and the personalized EMUI version made by Huawei on the right. The procedures are similar on all Android-powered devices, so you should be good to go even if you have a smartphone from Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus, or some other manufacturer. If you do not know your Android version, read How to check the Android version on your smartphone or tablet.

Access your Android's Dual SIM card settings

To tinker with the Dual SIM settings, you first need to access them. Open the Settings of your Android smartphone and tap on "Network & internet" or "Wireless & networks."

Open Network & internet or Wireless & networks

Open SIM cards or Dual SIM settings, depending on how the category is named on your Android smartphone.

Access SIM cards or Dual SIM settings

At the top of the SIM cards or Dual SIM settings screen, you can see the two SIM cards inside your smartphone and their status. The rest of the screen displays other Dual SIM settings, which can be grouped in sections like "Preferred SIM for" and General Settings on certain Android devices.

The SIM cards or Dual SIM settings screen

The rest of the settings vary based on your Android smartphone and the Dual SIM implementation used by its manufacturer. However, you should see some of the following:

  • Cellular data or Default mobile data - decide which of the two SIM cards is used by your Android smartphone when connecting to the internet.
  • Calls or Default calling SIM - set how Android behaves when you initiate a call.
  • SMS messages - set how Android behaves when you send a text message.
  • Call forwarding between SIM cards - tapping this option opens a menu where you can choose how calls are forwarded between your two SIM cards.
  • Enable dual card 4G or Dual SIM 4G - enable it to activate 4G connectivity on the two SIM cards and switch seamlessly between the 4G networks.
  • Switch data connection during calls - enable this option if you want your Android to switch to the secondary SIM's data connection when you're on a VoLTE call on that card. To learn more about VoLTE calls, read What is Wi-Fi calling? How do I use Wi-Fi calling on Android and iPhone?

How to set the default SIM for voice calls in Android

To decide which SIM is used when you're making a call from your Android smartphone, you can set a Preferred SIM for Calls or use the Default calling SIM option. Tap on the setting displayed on your device.

Tap on the setting to choose the SIM used for calls

A menu should pop up, and you can decide which SIM card you want to use as the default when you make a call. We recommend tapping on the SIM with the best plan for phone calls. However, you can use the Not set or Ask every time setting if you prefer to switch between the two SIM cards.

Decide on a default SIM card for calls

If you don't choose a default card for this option, Android prompts you to choose the SIM every time you initiate a phone call.

Choose which SIM is used when making a call

As you can see in the image above, on some devices, you can choose to "Remember this choice," and the Android smartphone automatically uses the selected SIM to call that contact from now on. Other devices let you know the SIM last used.

How to set the default SIM for mobile data on Android

In the Dual SIM Android settings, you must decide on the preferred SIM for connecting to the internet. Since you can have only one active data connection, you have to set a Preferred SIM for Cellular data or a Default mobile data SIM card. Depending on your device, press on the option to change the default SIM or tap the box corresponding to the SIM that you want to use.

Choose the default SIM for mobile data in Android

On the next screen, tap on a SIM to select it or confirm your choice by tapping Switch.

Finish setting up a new SIM for data connections

How to set the default SIM for SMS text messages on Android

On some devices, like those with stock Android, you can also choose a default SIM card for SMS text messages from the Dual SIM settings. In the Preferred SIM for section, tap on SMS messages.

Press SMS messages

You get a "Select SIM card for SMS" pop-up, where you can choose which SIM to use. We recommend selecting the SIM card with the best plan for text messages.

Select the SIM to use for sending SMS messages

Regardless of whether the option above is present in your device's Dual SIM settings, you can select the SIM card whenever you send a message. Open a text message conversation, and you can see the SIM currently in use in the bottom-right corner. Tap on it.

Tap on the SIM card displayed

A menu opens, letting you select the other available SIM for your next message. Tap on the name of either SIM to make a selection before sending your message.

Press on the SIM you want to use to select it

When you send a message, you can see the SIM used to deliver it displayed underneath.

The SIM used is shown under the message

Personalize your SIM cards to identify them faster

We've been staying at home, so, as you might have noticed, the SIM cards we had at our disposal to create this tutorial belong to the same carrier, which can be a challenge at times. If you're dealing with the same issue, you should know that Dual SIM Android smartphones help you differentiate between your two SIM cards. In the Dual SIM settings, tap on one of the SIM card names or the Edit option next to them.

Tap on the SIM card or the pen icon next to it

On the next screen, you should be able to insert a new name of the SIM card and, for some devices, change the color associated with it.

Choose a new name for the selected SIM card (and a color, if available)

That's it. The new name you selected for the SIM card is now displayed throughout your Android device, together with any color associated with it. This helps whenever you choose the SIM card that you want your Android smartphone to use for a specific action.

Do the Dual SIM settings in this tutorial match the ones on your Android?

In the world of Android smartphones, there are many different Dual SIM implementations. To make things more complicated, there are also many Android versions and customizations made by manufacturers. We hope this guide is of use to users, no matter which smartphone they are using. If our instructions were not easy to follow on your device, please let us know what smartphone you have (the exact model) and what did not work for you. Comment below and let's discuss.