The iPhone Model Numbers and Their Meanings

One thing that I have been paying attention to when I buy a new iPhone is the model number. I am not talking about the  differences between the iPhone 5, SE, 6, 6S, 7, 8 or X. I am speaking about the actual model number found on your device, its compatibility with your current carrier or switching to another carrier, and possibly its trade in value.

This is something I learned about two years ago, and at that moment in time, I was not aware that an iPhone that you buy from AT&T directly will not work on Verizon’s network., even if you had it successfully unlocked by AT&T. But if you buy an iPhone from Best Buy on behalf of AT&T or directly from the Apple Store, after it’s paid off you can move to any carrier you’d like.

Why does this happen?

It’s simple. The carrier (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile) and sub carriers (Cricket, Total Wireless, Boost, etc) create a legal binding agreement with Apple in order to have the iPhone made to fit their own network, so the carrier can do two things:

1. Financial security. Make sure that you pay off your phone entirely before you’re able to move to another provider (if applicable), simply because the carrier doesn’t make money off of their phones as much as they do their monthly service fees.

2. Customer Satisfaction. They want your iPhone to work at its best on their network. It costs money to have customers call tech support for every little issue, plus they want the user to have the best experience possible.

Lets talk about the model numbers. I have an iPhone 7 Plus (yes, I always buy the previous year’s model to save money when they go on sale and a new iPhone is released), I will compare the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.  I am only going to cover the carrier. If you want Bandwith  specific information, please go to Apple.com or your carriers website.

This information can be found under Settings -> General -> About -> Model number -> tap on the longer model number to reveal the short version as seen below:

iPhone 7: A1660 Global Phone (carrier unlocked), can be used on GSM (AT&T / T-Mobile) and CDMA (Sprint / Verizon)

iPhone 7: A1778 Global GSM (Full service capability on AT&T / T-Mobile only), model typically sold directly from AT&T and T-Mobile Stores or online from their website. You can use voice services with Verizon and Sprint, but you will only have data services through AT&T / T-Mobile.

iPhone 7: A1779 Japanese Global version (difference is a the ability to use Apple Pay in Japan), covers GSM and CDMA networks.

iPhone 7 Plus: A1661 Global Phone (Carrier unlocked), can be used on GSM (AT&T, T-Mobile) and CDMA (Sprint, and Verizon)

iPhone 7 Plus: A1784 Global GSM (Full service capability on AT&T / T-Mobile only), sold directly from AT&T and T-Mobile stores on direct from their website. You can still use voice services over Verizon and Sprint, but you will not have data services on these networks.

iPhone 7 Plus: A1785 Japanese Global version (Apple pay capable in Japan), covers GSM and CDMA networks.

So there you have it. Now you know what you’re getting when you shop online on eBay and Amazon or if you’re looking to buy an iPhone directly from Apple, your existing carrier or a reseller (like Best Buy). Based on my personal experiences with reselling my old phone, if you have one that is unlocked for GSM and CDMA carriers, you usually get a bit more for the iPhone. Some resellers may charge you a small difference in pricing compared to your carrier, but you’re getting the most for your money when it comes to reselling it yourself or avoid a huge headache if you want to switch carriers.

I hope you enjoyed this article about the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Pleas feel free to Like and Share my post. Also, don’t forget to clap for me on Medium!

Namaste.