Living with 2 iPhones or be satisfied with one?

Hello Mac Power Users,

The other day, I was thinking about something which is not happening yet for me but which will, in a couple of months, become a reality! This is about starting a new job in 2023 where my future employer will generously give me a company phone. I don’t know to what extent this phone will be “watched” by them (it’s an American company and I’ll be based in Europe) but it’s clear that they simply “lease” the iPhone to me (probably a 13 or even a future 14) during my work contract and also cover the mobile plan that comes with it. I have the option to keep my current number that is used with my 3-year old iPhone XR which I’m supposed to upgrade for the upcoming 14.

When I ask this question to my (young, freshly graduated) friends, their reactions all follow the same direction: it’s a no-brainer to keep one phone for simplicity, to keep one number (so ask for the transfer at the start of my employment) and live with a “free” phone. The old one (XR) will be sold.

Although this seems very handy, it also highlights several weaknesses in my opinion:

  • Keeping one phone only mixes work and personal life together. Isn’t it bad for productivity? Could someone at work contact me on the same number I use for my friends and family?
  • More importantly (and this needs to be clarified with my company phone policy), what about privacy? Does my company check what is installed on my phone? Also, I read multiple times on Reddit that it was possible to “wipe out” the phone in case of a loss or theft…which would mean wiping out my personal data too?
  • Using two phones also put less pressure on the battery life/storage of my personal (bought by myself) phone, thus increasing its longevity.

After all those points, is it worth it to keep 2 phones though? Having to carry them both during the week, to pay for my own phone and data plan (financial cost), to charge them both…Why not keeping one Android phone as my personal phone (my geeky side speaks here), but this will create a mess in my Apple ecosystem. Indeed, I plan to keep a personal computer (MBA M1), so why not keeping a personal iPhone?

Any similar experience would greatly help!


It all comes down to how you like to use your “own” phone, how important it is for you (and the company) that personal stuff and job stuff are being separated (or not).

If the company is using MDM, they can basically do whatever they want with the company iPhone.

That is what most companies do. And depending on the kind of work somebody is doing, the company even might be obligated to so: data protection and data safety have to be enforced sometimes… Long story.

The possibilities are almost endless. With eSIMs, a single iPhone can handle more than one number (and more than one contract) without issues - which means that you could keep using your personal phone number AND the new work number with a single iPhone if this is something that is allowed by the company.

So, what would I do? Being the geek I am, I want to have a personal phone that is mine and under my control for my personal stuff. And this definitely will be an iPhone. So, I probably would have two phones just because of that.

But there are other options and scenarios for sure.

Keep your own phone for personal stuff. It will help maintain some separation and you can leave the work phone at home when going out for the night or over the weekend. You can of course manage your notification settings to not bother you at off-hours for work emails and reminders, but it’s nice to keep this stuff off your main phone.

There will most probably be MDM installed, so while it might not give your employer access to all areas of your phone, they will be able to remotely wipe it in case it gets lost.

I mainly use my work phone for 2FA and hotspot cell-data when away from home or office wifi. Taking Teams calls / meetings while roaming about can also be quite helpful.

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I would definitely use my private phone for private stuff, and my company phone for the company stuff.
Several reasons for that (incomplete list :wink:)

  • You will probably end without a phone for some time, if for any reason your new job become terminated.
  • You can switch off, or lay aside, your company phone, while not working. This will not be possible, if you only have and use one phone, with one number.
  • You can make sure, that your private communication will not interrupt you during bad moments on the job.
  • You are not in Danger, that your private communication will be checked by your company.
  • You are not in conflict, if your company ban certain apps on their phones.
  • And so on…

BTW: I was forced to use Androids as Phones on the Job for a couple of years.
If you can compare AndroidOS and iOS like this, you would never ever spend a second for thinking about buying an Android for any reasons!

I would have 2 considerations for this:

  • Moving your number to the new contract: make sure you can also take it back if/when you decide to. I’ve seen this happen far too often in my business that people are happy to move their number in, but can’t move it back out. The reason for this is often competition clauses in labour contracts, so be careful
  • Whatever I do on my phone is my business. Companies usually want to add their own software, and that always includes a certificate allowing them to “wipe the phone” … well, that same cert usually gives them full access to everything on the phone, so again: be careful

I always have a private phone and a company phone.
Not just because of the above, but also for the simple reason that I want to shut off the company phone when I’m off work , and I can’t do that if it’s the same phone as my personal one.

Talk to your employer and find out the extent to which they’ll have control over the phone as the policies and procedures that pertain to their issued phone and what they recommend in this situation. Ask about their privacy policy(ies) too.

As has been mentioned, anyone who configures a phone for you can have a great deal of control over and visibility into that phone: You’ll have to find out how much, how it will be used, and whether personal use is even permitted. Once you have that information, you can make an informed decision as to whether the convenience is worth any risks.

It’s not clear whether you would have to transfer the phone number to the company? If this is the case, they would have control of your number and could keep it indefinitely whether you like it or not

I’ve been in both situations and preferred having 2 phones for the separation, but I don’t miss having to carry 2 phones about.

My company allows for ‘reasonable’ personal use of company technology. But they caution that they can monitor everything and that I should have no expectation of privacy. This is a major reason I keep company and personal technology separate.

Think long and hard about the company seeing your texts and selfies, etc.

And best of luck with your new job!

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I would suggest it’s more than an iPhone decision- It will come down to your work/life philosophy- do you want these parts of your life joined or separate. There is no right or wrong answer- just what you are happiest with.

I have a strictly separate approach. E.g work iPhone- (no MDM whatsoever just an older model than I prefer) & a personal phone iPhone. Work laptop (at work) & personal MacBook (at home).

The work kit lives in my work bag and gets turned off overnight.

It’s all about boundaries imho. Everything for me is separated including software & logins- calendars, task managers, photos, emails… the lot.

I’ve been at this company for 8 years with no intention of leaving - but if ever there was a need it would take me about 30 seconds to give all my work kit back with zero data loss/impact for my future life whatsoever.

Sorry if I went a bit Zen there and you just wanted to know the practicalities - yes it’s a heavy pocketful carrying 2 phones and a pain charging them all the time :joy:


Or if they decide they no longer need you in their employment. It can be very sudden. I had one job where I gave notice and then watched as I was logged out of each system within minutes … and my work phone reset itself before I had a chance to hand it in.

Most large U.S. companies I’ve come across won’t let you put work email, etc., on your personal phone unless you install a certificate allowing it. I’ve never gotten a really good answer about what that certificate lets them do remotely – wipe the work email? Wipe everything? No idea.

Not something I want to find out if I’m already going through an abrupt change of job (to put it politely). I recommend keeping separate work and personal devices.


My experience with this was back in the flip phone days. I carried the “on call” phone when it was my week but also carried my own phone. No personal data on the phone except for the occasional photo. If I had that situation today I would definitely keep my own phone and keep them separate.

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I am 30 plus years into my career and have made a few job changes - I have acquired a number of contacts along the way. Many are subcontractors or former coworkers who I consult with. The two phones worked for awhile but had to re-create the contact when I turned in my last company phone. On the next job I moved to a single personal phone to keep the contacts. I have been independent for the last 4 years and although the last company closed my email access, they did not purge the phone.

I recommend keeping your personal phone and using the two phones, one for work, one for personal. Many have already enumerated the different reasons, and I echo them. I prefer having a personal phone with my “stuff” on it and not having to worry about my phone going away if something changes with my employment, or my employer having full control of the phone and service.

  • Work phone for work strictly.
  • I don’t want work to track me where ever I go on my personal device or track what ever I browse.
  • I would be unhappy if they blocked some apps due to their profile on my personal phone. Like VPN Software or services like iCloud or Dropbox.
  • On top of that they will have permission to wipe out the device. Big NOOOOO

I have 2 iPhones, 1 is my personal one that I do all my personal stuff. The 2nd one is my work iPhone. I keep them both separate.

I use my personal phone with a SIM card provided by my employer. No MDM is involved so I am basically safe here. As soon as MDM is enforced, I would request a company-issued cell phone and, of course, switch it off on non-working hours :stuck_out_tongue:

Edit: I also have an older iPhone 5S with my personal SIM card that is just there forwarding calls and SMS to my main phone. --I thought that forwarding could be done at carrier level but got erratic results with lost messages and calls, so this older phone is always on. There is some cost involved in call forwarding but I find it pretty much negligible compared to the convenience of only carrying one cell phone.

This is just how the cookie crumbles.

I’ve been in the unpleasant situation of blocking all access on a G Suite enterprise account to an unsuspecting person that was just entering the room prior to contract termination. I also requested their laptop computer to be given to me and the guy said he had some personal stuff there, I stood besides him as he downloaded some family pictures to a USB drive. This was uncomfortable to me at the least, but was terrible for the other party, who was nervous and understandably subjected to distress.

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Two phones works great for me. I can turn my work phone off when I don’t want to be contactable. Mail on my work phone is set up with my work email; Mail on my personal phone is not – so I can check my personal email without seeing adrenalinising work messages!

Interesting to see if these benefits of a two-phone setup can be replicated with new focus filters in iOS 16. But I don’t think you can filter by the phone number then the caller has used for you(?)

Exactly. My point wasn’t to criticize employers. Rather, employment can change suddenly, and if/when that happens – whoever initiated it – the last thing I want to be worrying about is whether I’m able to disentangle my own data from my employer’s equipment.

Hey everyone, I’m so surprised this thread received so much attention and I loved reading all of your answers carefully. There seems to be a huge consensus for the 2 phones approach (iPhones hopefully as some of you mentioned, it’s great to be able to sync with the rest of my devices and to be used with my personal Apple Watch) as it allows a much clearer work/personal life separation and, most importantly, it removes the burden of living with MDM and a device which can be taken back by the company anytime. As for the phone number, I indeed meant transfering my current number on my new company phone (because they will pay for my plan so I can transfer my current personal number to their mobile plan if I wish to) but I completely ignored that it could be impossible to have my number back should my work contract be terminated…

I actually tried to check the policies related to digital devices but those seem to be accessible only via the company Intranet. To be followed before my future employment starts thus…

Thanks again MPU forums!