How to check what kind of phone you have
So, you’re asking yourself, “Is my phone GSM or CDMA?” Here are the easiest ways to find out.
Which carrier sold you the phone?
If you bought your phone from your carrier, then that can usually tell you what kind of technology it uses. Or, if you’re like me, and you inherited your stepdad’s old phone, then ask him where he originally got the device.
Sprint sells CDMA phones, while AT&T and T-Mobile sell GSM phones. Verizon uses CDMA technology in its networks, but usually sells phones that are equipped with both technologies.
If you bought your device “factory unlocked” or directly from the manufacturer, then it is likely equipped with both technologies.
Check your phone’s settings
It would be nice if your phone just said what kind of technology it used on the back, next to the model number. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy. But you can use your phone’s settings to figure out whether it’s GSM or CDMA.
How to check whether your phone is GSM or CDMA using settings:
- On an iPhone: Go to the Settings app, click on General and then About, and look for an MEID, ESN, or IMEI number near the bottom of the menu.
- On an Android device: Go to Settings, click on System and then About phone, then click on Status and look for an MEID, ESN, or IMEI number.
If your phone has an MEID or an ESN number, it’s CDMA. If you see an IMEI number then it’s GSM. If you see both, then your device supports both technologies (lucky you!).
Look up the model number
You can use those same About settings to find your model number on both iPhone and Android devices. Model numbers are also often printed on the back of your phone.
Once you’ve got your model number you can use a simple Google search to find out if it’s a GSM or CDMA phone. Here’s what it looked like when I looked up my iPhone 6 model.
Check for SIM card slot
There used to be a really easy way to determine what kind phone you had: just see if it has a SIM card slot. GSM phones did have SIM card slots, while CDMA phones didn’t.
However, since the widespread adoption of 4G LTE technology, most phones use SIM cards, even CDMA devices. So, while this trick is less helpful now, it still applies that if your phone doesn’t have a SIM card slot (either in the side or in the back with the battery), then it’s almost certainly a CDMA device.