What is iPhone model? Simple but very important for iPhone buyers

Today, iPhone become the most popular cell phone all around the world. Some research indicates that Apple sell 849,450 iPhone per day and this amount is not count used iPhone sales.

Maybe you who are reading this article are going to buy an iPhone at this time. But let me ask you some questions: What is iPhone Model? Do you really know which model fits you?

You may think that how silly the question is. I just want to buy an iPhone 7/iPhone 6S, which is definitely the model I need.

what is iphone model

Sorry, iPhone 7/iPhone 6s is just the product name not the model. Here below will show you what the iPhone model really is and why it is so important for an iPhone buyer.

Model number always starts with the initial “A”

We all know that iPhone is a kind of product from Apple. All products from Apple will have model number, and iPhone are no exception. They all have same format: The initial letter “A” and a 4-digit number (e.g. A1778/A1660 etc.)

There usually have more than one model number under a same Apple product. Why? They may have different tech specifications.

For example, Apple Watch Series 1 has two model number: A1802 and A1803, due to their two different specifications (size of case): 38mm and 42mm.

Another example, Apple iPhone 7 also has two model number (in USA): A1778 and A1660. That is because there has two different network specifications. A1660 will support both GSM and CDMA network, but A1778 will only support GSM network.

what is iphone model


For iPhone, we can find the model number on the back of iPhone (iPhone 7 generation and previous), on the SIM slot (iPhone 8/8 Plus, iPhone X), and iPhone Box.

where to find iphone model



Model number is important for iPhone buyers

Knowing iPhone model is very important. We already know that different model number means Apple use different specifications. For Apple Watch, different model number means different size of case. For Apple Mac, different model number means different CUP, RAM etc. For Apple iPhone, different model number means different network supporting.

So, before you buy an iPhone, whatever brand new or used, you need to know which cellular carrier you will exactly use and which model will support your carrier’s network.

There has a BIG MISTAKE a lot people made that they think unlocked iPhone will support any network. Buying unlocked iPhone will solve all problems. Then they buy an unlocked iPhone but find out that they cannot activate the phone. Some buyer will complain the seller that why sold them a “broken iPhone”, some buyer will bring this iPhone to their carrier and finally, the carrier staff tell them that their phone are not compatible with the carrier which means the carrier’s network is not supported by this unlocked iPhone. Choose wrong model means waste of time and money.

How to choose the right iPhone by model number?

Now, we already know that the model number does matter when we choose an iPhone. How should we choose a right model for our carrier? First, we need to know which type of carrier our carrier belongs to. There are two kinds of carrier: GSM carrier and CDMA carrier.

In USA, carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile (also contains their MVNO) is GSM carrier. They use SIM card and all user’s information is within that removable SIM card. For a GSM carrier user, they could choose any model to use, as all iPhone supports GSM network. All they need to do is to pick an unlocked iPhone.

But for CDMA carrier user, it will be more complicated. Almost all non-compatible case happened to CDMA carrier users. If you are CDMA carrier user, you have to check well before buying to avoid RETURN and RE-BUY. In USA, carriers like Verizon, Sprint and US Cellular (also contains their MVNO) is CDMA carrier.

But thing is that not every CDMA iPhone model will support all CDMA carrier. For example, iPhone 6 Plus generally has two model number in USA: A1522 and A1524. Both models will support ATT and T-Mobile. A1524 will support Sprint, Verizon and US Cellular but A1522 will only support Verizon, Sprint and US Cellular will not be supported.

This situation happened mainly on previous model like iPhone SE, 6/6 Plus etc. From 6S/6S Plus generation until now (iPhone X), their model has been simplified a lot.

Here below I listed some popular iPhone model and their network support for your reference.

iphone model table

The most ideal iPhone for every buyer

From the table above, we could find that from iPhone 6 generation till the latest iPhone generation (iPhone X), There always has some model which supports almost all GSM and CDMA carrier. For example, if you want to buy an iPhone 6/6 Plus, you can buy an A1586/1524 model iPhone for full network support. In similar way, we can find the full network support model for an iPhone 7/7 Plus, 8/8 Plus, X and SE. Those models should be the most ideal model for every buyer to choose and they are much easier to be sold out in the further.

Especially when buy a brand new iPhone, Apple sells same iPhone but different model (for example, iPhone 7 A1778/1660) for same dollar, why don’t we choose the better one?

But if your carrier is not listed on the table or if you still not 100% for sure which model you need to choose, Here is another way to verify. Ask your carrier before you buy or have the IMEI and check before you buy. Most carriers have the BYOD check(bring your own device). If you can get the IMEI before you buy, you can check it on their official website.

Let’s take Verizon for example.Click here and you can go to the Verizon BYOD check page. (Choose “I am not with Verizon” then enter IMEI) I have two iPhone 7 IMEI here, first one is A1778 and the second one is A1660. Next pictures will show that A1778 is not compatible with Verizon but A1660 works.

A1778 not work on CDMA

A1660 work on CDMA and GSM

Choose the best model is easy, it’s all about check

We already know that model number is really important and after iPhone 6 generation, all generation iPhone have full network support model. All we need to do is to check and find those best model out. (You can check from my table listed above)

Hope all readers will not have any trouble when facing different model number but If you still have question regarding the BYOD check or model number question for very old iPhone such as iPhone 5S or 5C before you buy, please leave comment below and we can discuss it there.








  1. Thanks for the great information in your post about different Iphone models. I didn’t even realise the ID number was so important but turns out i’ll have to pay more attention to it then usual…

    I’m going to share this valuable article to my contacts!

    Take care:)

    • Thank you. Yes, it is simple to check but always be ignored. Check before your buy will help save time and money.

  2. Thank you. Been an Android user and just switched over to Iphone. So much different! Bought a used one and had no idea about all of the loops to jump through to activate it. Turned out it wasn,t even compatible with my provider. Had to resell it for less. Wish I had found your site earlier. Next time!

    • Thank you for comment. Sorry to hear your experience. it might be the bad ESN or you bought a carrier locked one. This website is just solve all these problems for reader before buying. Will keep sharing more info with each other.

  3. I have never really thought it important about the phone model or id number. people these days change their mobiles as regular as changing their socks . If the the next phone looks better than the one they have they buy it.

    • Yes, but the thing is that if someone purchased a wrong model iPhone, the phone may not work with his/her carrier. In this situation, buyer has to return it back or bear this lost. It is a waste of time and money. That’s why it is important. Checking iPhone model before purchase will help to avoid these troubles.

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