How to Determine if iPhone is GSM or CDMA

Nov 15, 2012 - 11 Comments

Most of us geekier folks instantly know if our iPhones are CDMA or GSM models, but not everyone pays as much attention to the largely insignificant technical details of their phones. Not to worry, it’s extremely easy to find out if an iPhone is GSM or CDMA, all you need to do is look at the model number of the device.

To find out if the phone is CDMA or GSM, flip the iPhone over and look at the back. Locate the string number alongside “Model” as highlighted in this image, and then and compare it against the list below:

Determine if iPhone is GSM or CDMA

Once you have made note of the model shown on the back of the phone, you can determine if it’s GSM or CDMA by matching it:

iPhone GSM Model Numbers

  • iPhone 5: A1429 (* World GSM & CDMA)
  • iPhone 5: A1428
  • iPhone 4S: A1387 (* dual band CDMA & GSM world phone)
  • iPhone 4S: A1531 (GSM China)
  • iPhone 4: A1332
  • iPhone 3GS: A1325 (GSM China)
  • iPhone 3GS: A1303
  • iPhone 3G: A1324 (GSM China)
  • iPhone 3G: A1241
  • iPhone 1: A1203

iPhone CDMA Model Numbers

  • iPhone 5: A1429 (* World GSM & CDMA)
  • iPhone 4S: A1387 (* dual band CDMA & GSM world phone)
  • iPhone 4: A1349

Knowing the model numbers is guaranteed and is pretty quick, and it’s also the best way to determine what model an iPhone is that won’t turn on. For customers in the USA, another easy way to tell if it’s GSM or CDMA is just to find out what cell carrier the iPhone uses. AT&T is always GSM, T-Mobile is always GSM, while Verizon and Sprint are always CDMA. You can also generally assume that if it uses a SIM card to get online, it’s a GSM iPhone, though some iPhone models like the iPhone 4S have both CDMA and GSM capabilities. The cell carrier isn’t always a reliable method though, because sometimes an iPhone won’t turn on, is out of battery or just plain dead, or it could even be a dualband world phone like the 4S.

What if the iPhone Model Number is Rubbed Off?

If the model number isn’t entirely clear, or it has worn off, you can still identify the device through iTunes to find similar information about the phone.

If that isn’t an option, you can also check on the device itself by opening Settings, tap General then “About”, and look under “Network” or “Carrier” instead, you’ll then need to just figure out of the carrier is GSM (AT&T, T-Mobile) or CDMA (Sprint, Verizon).

Why Does it Matter?

For the vast majority of iPhone users, it doesn’t, they’ll never need to know or care about their device being GSM or CDMA. This is really mostly helpful to those who use IPSW (IPSW is iOS firmware, basically the iPhone system software) to either update a device manually, for jailbreaking purposes, or for restoring a device in the event of a significant software failure. In that case, knowing which model a device is important when downloading IPSW files for iPhones.

Thanks for the tip jlfafi!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

11 Comments

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  1. Kingsford says:

    Or you can just know what cell phone provider you have… That’s probably an easier way.

  2. Houssam says:

    Guys,

    iPhone 5 – A1429 is worldwide GSM and not CDMA.

  3. Bhaskar says:

    come on guys!! dont give wrong information. No info is better than wrong info.

    http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

    A1429 is cdma in US and GSM worldwide.

  4. Demon says:

    LOL, you can check if you have a sim tray

  5. Michael P says:

    Wow I must have ordered my iPhone 5 so early that when i took it out of my case right now and looked at the back i just noticed that it only says iPhone on the back and no other information whatsoever. I like it!!!

  6. need Help says:

    I have iphone 3g and recently i updated the software to 4.2.1 have tried all the solutions but it gets stuck on waiting for reboot

    1) have tried to uninstalla and reinstall the driver

    2) i checked from the site its GSM set so i downloaded the required file of iPhone1,2_4.2.1_8C148_Restore would anyone plz tell me how to use this file to make my phone unlock…..

  7. Chris M says:

    You can also find the model number directly via: / / / /

    This displays a screen showing the info that is on the back of the phone and then some – including the Model number.

  8. Chris M says:

    (2nd try to re-do formatting…)
    You can also find the model number directly via navigating down through the settings menus: Settings, General, About, Legal*, Regulatory

    *(Legal is way down at the bottom)

    This displays a screen showing the info that is on the back of the phone and then some – including the Model number.

  9. Michelle says:

    My phone is a Verizon phone but according to the Apple site my model # (A1532) is GSM or CDMA?? http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3939

  10. Pritesh says:

    I hav iphone 5 A1429

    How to determine its CDMA aur GSM?

    Or it Supports both CDMA nd GSM?

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