How to link Messaging and Phone tiles on the dual-SIM Lumia 950 XL

If you picked up a Microsoft Lumia 950 XL recently, you might have had the interesting surprise to learn it is dual SIM. This feature means you can add two separate SIM cards from different carriers in one phone with both active for SMS and phone calls (however, only one can be used for data).

Nonetheless, for many in the U.S. dual-SIM phones are still the exception. And although you do not have to use both SIMs the OS by default creates two Messaging inboxes and two Phone tiles to manage those SIMs. Alternatively, maybe you just want a unified inbox for calls and messaging for both of your phone numbers.

If you are only using one SIM, we'll show you how to link those Tiles, remove the numbering and clean things up.

1. Open Messaging

Pick one of the Messaging tiles from the Start screen or menu. Tap the ellipsis […] at the bottom right corner. From the menu, you should see Link tiles as the third option.

Follow the menu prompt and hit the Link button. The second, non-used Tile should now disappear from the Start screen and menu. Likewise, the icon will lose the superscript '1' and '2' from the Tile icon.

If you ever add a second SIM and would prefer separate inboxes for SMS messages, you can just follow the same steps but choose Unlink instead. This action will reverse the merging.

1. Open Phone

From the Start screen select the Phone icon or Phone from the Start menu. From the menu, you should see Link tiles as the third option.

Follow the menu prompt and hit the Link button.

The second, non-used Tile should now disappear from the Start screen and menu. Likewise, the icon will lose the superscript '1' and '2' from the Tile icon.

If you ever add a second SIM and would prefer separate inboxes for SMS messages, you can just follow the same steps but choose Unlink instead. This action will reverse the merging.

About that 2nd SIM notification icon

While these actions clean up your device with the creation of single, unified inboxes for phone calls and SMS message it does not get rid of the icon for the non-used SIM in the notification area.

In fact, there is no known way to do this yet on Windows 10 Mobile. Although it is just superficial, it is rather annoying too. It would behoove Microsoft to add a mode where the system can act completely like a single SIM system instead of leaving odd remnants laying around as reminders that you don't have a second SIM installed.

Under System > Network & wireless > Cellular & SIM you can turn off the second SIM, but as noted above this has no visual change within the OS. Instead, it is a control for those who wish to temporarily suspend one of their SIMs from being active. You would think turning off a SIM would disable its icon in the notification area but alas, it does not.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks with the new Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL and devices upgraded to Windows 10 Mobile!

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Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

76 Comments
  • Just thought of something... A dual SIM phone can actually be of good use here in the US...
    ....
    Cheaters no longer would need to carry two phones... Dual SIM, problem solved... Especially if they could hide the dual SIM feature from their spouse... Lol.
  • Sounds like you're speaking from experience there, sir.
  • Lol.. Nope. I'm a lot of things, but no cheater....
    I steal, I don't kill..
    I beat, I don't cheat..
    I twerk, but I don't work..
  • Great portfolio there.. :¬)
  • Thanks! I strive for perfection.
  • It would also have saved Walter White's ass in Breaking Bad...
  • Good point! Actually, that's a really good point. Lol.
  • No, not really. I mean, if you link the phone or messaging apps, than everything shows up in one place. So if your spouse/significant other goes looking through your phone, they still see everything. 
  • That's why I said if you could hide the DS feature... A phone with hidden DS capability.. Some FBI shizzle...
  • Made my day
  • It was just "for example"...
  • Odd, works for my Messaging, but not Phone apps.
  • The only problem is that then you get an ugly tag in the Messaging app for SIM 1 and SIM2 on each conversation. It also adds SIM 2 to the dropdown inside a conversation (SIM 1, SIM 2, Skype). Also, it leads to receiving a pop-up everytime you go to make a call ; "Which SIM would you like to use?". What I want to see added (preferably before 2016) is automatic UI adaption based on SIM count. In that, if I only have 1 SIM card, and it's in SIM slot 1, all SIM 2 UI components disapear, except in the settings app, where it would indicate that I have the option to add a second SIM card, but not display any options. This way there's no SIM 1 - SIM 2 version of Phone and Messaging, no indicators/labels in the action bar, no prompts to select which SIM to use, no labels affixed to all my conversations or calls. Keeps everything nice and clean. :)
  • Yup, good points and agreed.
  • Hoping that Microsoft does include this in an update. Really have no choice on my end since only the Dual SIM version was announced here. I just don't feel Dual SIM devices are premium. I'd rather much pay for the extra charges for trying to contact someone on a different network or get another device. At the very least I'd get twice the battery than having to use a single device.
  • If it makes you feel any better, the Android devices I have that are dual SIM act and display in the same way. MS seems determined to create consistency with Android, so this functionality may be intentional.
  • There's no popup asking for selecting a SIM when making calls.
  • I guess that happen when you link both phones( from sim 1 and 2)
  • Correct. This only happens if you link the two Phone tiles/apps.
  • While it doesn't get rid of the little 1 by the tiles you could just unpin the tiles for SIM 2 and then you don't have a SIM 1 tagging every message.
  • Awesome. I was wondering about that. You guys are awesome sauce
  • Some one knows if is possible to enable visual voicemail on the 950 xl . On at&t?
  • Anyone know how get get Enhanced 4G LTE Services on 950xl on att? I found it on an att branded 950
  • Seems to be a firmware issue or not possible with dual SIM.
  • In general, there seems to be quite a few issues popping up for the Dual SIM 950XL, which unfortuantely is the only option in the US. 
  • Thanks for reply. Ugh. I didn't think I would be sacrificing anything by getting the 950 XL. Whoops...
  • Go to Settings > Network & Wireless > Cellular & SIM. Go to SIM 1 settings (if that's the one you use) and then under Cellular, deselect Automatic. Tap "Search for networks" and after a fairly long wait choose AT&T LTE. Restart. Then you can go back in and set it back to automatic. Worked for me. I'm on LTE instead of 4G now.
  • Didn't work.
  • I didn't do anything on my Lumia 950 xl and shows LTE all the time with using it on At&t
  • I am on LTE also. Just no Visual Voicemail or the enhanced call quality options that the 950 AT&T branded has. Do you have visual voicemail?
  • That cleared up two slight annoyances for me on my dual SIM 950. Now, if only our friends at Windows Central would put out a post on a magic way to enable AT&T Visual Voicemail on the unlocked dual SIM 950 (and XL).
  • Heh 'magic' is the key word there ;) Wish there was something we could do, but not yet.
  • This has me very seriously thinking about returning my XL and considering a 950, though I really don't want to. Is there anywhere I can go to get a single sim XL? I haven't been able to find one yet. I've also noticed my XL is getting "LTE" signal but is only getting around 1.5 Mbps, even with totally full bars. I'll need to test this one out a little bit.
  • No contacts at