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While most iPhone owners know what model they have, not everyone knows, and sometimes you come across an iPhone and have no idea what it is. This is usually due to the fact that some iPhone models share the same casing, so it can be very difficult to distinguish them at first glance. For example, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S look almost identical, the iPhone 3G and 3GS also look practically identical, and the iPhone 5 and its successor (5S?) Will likely look essentially the same as well. The easiest way to distinguish between an iPhone if this isn’t immediately obvious is to look at the actual iPhone model number and then compare that against a list of devices to determine what the iPhone really is.
The other benefit of determining the iPhone by model number is that you can know what the device is, even if it is phone is turned off, which means that if the device is broken, won’t turn on, is bricked by a software glitch, or has a dead battery, you can still know what you’re working with. That’s invaluable in performing iPhone repairs, both knowing which parts to use and restoring or updating through IPSW so you can use the correct firmware for the device.
Look for the iPhone model number on the case
- Turn the iPhone over and look at the small text below the ‘iPhone’ badge
- Write down where ‘Model AXXXX’ is and compare it with the list below
This is the best approach to use, here’s what to look for and what to look for:
You want to match the model number with that information up to the actual phone model, which is important for cases where it is not immediately apparent by visible inspection.
Find iPhone Product Version Type (#, #)
Sometimes you will see iPhone versions referred to as “iPhone 9.2” which is the product ID version number, here’s where to find that in iTunes with a device connected to the computer:
You need to click on the serial number to dial to the product version ID of the device. You will also see the IMEI number and some other details in this screen. Just keep clicking until you see the product type ID in the (#, #) format.
The product type ID number is basically version control system, such as “the 8th iPhone released, second model” for iPhone 8.2.
List of iPhone model numbers
- A1533, A1457, A1530 – iPhone 5S (GSM)
- A1533, A1453 – iPhone 5S (CDMA)
- A1532, A1507, A1529 – iPhone 5C (GSM)
- A1532, A1456 – iPhone 5C (CDMA)
- A1428 – iPhone 5 GSM (Standard GSM model in the US for AT&T, T-Mobile, and so on)
- A1429 – iPhone 5 GSM & CDMA (normal CDMA model in the US, Verizon, Sprint, etc.)
- A1442 – iPhone 5 CDMA China
- A1387 – iPhone 4S, CDMA and GSM
- A1431 – iPhone 4S GSM China
- A1349 – iPhone 4 CDMA
- A1332 – iPhone 4 GSM
- A1325 – iPhone 3GS China
- A1303 – iPhone 3GS (GSM only)
- A1324 – iPhone 3G China
- A1241 – iPhone 3G (GSM only)
- A1203 – iPhone (original model, GSM only)
The model numbers are also often the easiest way to distinguish CDMA and GSM models when the device is not running on a cellular carrier to identify it that way, which is especially true as many CDMA models also have a GSM compatible SIM card slot.
You can then use the model identifier to find out which iPhone version the device is and thus which firmware files to use:
- Phone 3G – iPhone1,2
- iPhone 3GS – iPhone2,1
- iPhone 4 (GSM) – iPhone3,1
- iPhone 4 (CDMA) – iPhone3,3
- iPhone 4S – iPhone4,1
- iPhone 5 (GSM /) – iPhone5,1
- iPhone 5 (CDMA) -iPhone5,2
- iPhone 5S (GSM)
- iPhone 5S (CDMA)
- iPhone 5C (GSM)
- iPhone 5C (CDMA)
If for some reason the model number is missing from the case, you can also get model information from iTunes.
Find the iPhone model through iTunes
- Connect iPhone to a computer (via USB or Wi-Fi sync)
- Select the iPhone from iTunes and look under the “Summary” tab and find the model of the device clearly labeled at the top
Please note that iTunes will not provide the technical model number, but instead will provide you the actual iPhone model name (ie: iPhone 6, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, etc.).
If you were hoping to find that information on the iPhone itself via iOS, it turns out that it just isn’t there, despite detailed technical information such as the modem firmware and baseband versions, order numbers, serial number, IMEI and ICCID numbers. Curious, but that’s the way it is for the time being.
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