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How to tell which iPhone you’ve got

Since the launch of the original iPhone back in 2007, Apple has released many stunning gadgets to its adoring public. However, while some have been more distinctive than others, it’s not always obvious which iPhone you’re holding in your hand. Unless you’ve got a real eye for detail, it can be pretty difficult to tell an iPhone 7 from an iPhone 6. This is particularly true if you didn’t buy the iPhone yourself.

At first glance, this might not seem a big problem. But it’s important if you want to sell your iPhone, buy one second-hand, or simply find out if an app or iOS update is compatible.

That said, if you follow our handy ‘How to’ guide then identifying your iPhone model should be straightforward. Almost as easy as finding the right iPhone insurance with Gadget Cover.

With iPhones often costing big money, make sure you give our team a call to protect your device against theft, loss, breakdown or damage.


Our easy step-by-step guide to finding out which model you have

There are a number of different ways to tell iPhone models apart. In the case of recent models, you can simply dip into the iPhone settings and check which iPhone you have.

If you have an earlier model (and good eyesight), you can check the model number printed on the back of your iPhone. Finally, you can also tell iPhones apart by sight if you use our spotter’s guide below.

Find the iPhone model number in Settings

Simply go to Settings > General > About. The About page has lots of useful information about your iPhone including not just the model number but also what iOS you’re running and your storage capacity.

If you have a more recent iPhone (an iPhone 5a or later) running iOS 12.2 or later then you’ll also be able to see the model name itself. However, if you’ve an iPhone 5 or earlier then you won’t be able to update to iOS 12.2 and you won’t be given the model name in Settings.

Instead, you’ll have to find the model number and use that to check against the list of model names on Apple’s website. Each iPhone model has its own model number beginning with ‘A’ you can use to find out the model name. For example, a model number A1532 means you’re holding an iPhone 5c whereas a model number A1533 means you’re holding an iPhone 5s.

Be aware you might see a number beginning with ‘M’ or ‘N’. This number is quite handy as it provides even more specific information about your iPhone including storage capacity and even colour. However, it isn’t the model number – you want the one beginning with ‘A’.

Find the iPhone model number on the device

The only downside of using Settings to identify your iPhone is that if it’s not functional or you can’t access the iPhone then it won’t be of much help. Fortunately, you don’t even need to turn the iPhone on in order to find out the model number.

On an iPhone 8 or later, to find the model number on the device, remove the SIM tray and take a look in the slot. Providing you’re in a brightly lit area you should be able to see the model number on the upper side – the side nearest the screen.

If you have an iPhone 7 or earlier then Apple will have helpfully printed the model number on the back of your device. Depending on your eyesight it might be hard to make out – if you’ve got a magnifying glass then now’s a good time to use it. The number is pretty titchy!

As mentioned before, check the ‘A’ number against Apple’s list to discover which model you’ve got. Be aware that there are multiple ‘A’ numbers for some iPhones. This is because they refer to versions produced for different territories.

A spotter’s guide to iPhones

If, for whatever reason, you can’t use either of the above methods then you can still find out what iPhone you’ve got by looking at the handset design and features. Every model of iPhone has specific design tweaks to set it apart from its incredible brethren. Read our spotter’s guide and become an expert on these beautiful gadgets.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the biggest iPhone ever, with a whopping 6.7-inch screen, so it’s easy to identify. It’s got triple camera lenses on the rear, a textured matte glass back, no Home button, and the edges are sharp like the rest of its iPhone 12 siblings.

iPhone 12 Pro

Similar to the iPhone 12 Pro Max but with a 6.1-inch screen. It comes in silver/white, gold, black and dark blue.

iPhone 12

iPhone 12

It has a 6.1-inch screen but the back is glass and has only two camera lenses. It comes in black, white, red, light green, dark blue and purple.

iPhone 12 mini

The diminutive mini has a 5.4-inch screen, but otherwise looks very much like the larger iPhone 12.

iPhone SE (2nd generation)

The popular iPhone SE was brought back in 2020. Less compact than its predecessor, it has a 4.7-inch screen, a Home button with Touch ID, and a single camera lens on the glass back.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 series launched in autumn 2019 and featured three new models. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has three camera lenses on the textured matt glass back. It features a 6.5-inch screen. Unlike the iPhone 12-series it has curved edges.

iPhone 11 Pro

Similar to the iPhone 11 Pro Max, you can tell them apart by the size. The iPhone 11 Pro has a 5.8-inch screen.

iPhone 11

The cheapest of the iPhone 11 series, the 11 looks very similar to the earlier iPhone XR. But with one easy-to-spot difference: it has two cameras on the back. It has a 6.1-inch screen, no Home button, and comes in white, black, green, yellow, purple and red.

iPhone XS Max

The XS Max has a mighty 6.5-inch screen, no Home button, and a screen notch at the top. It comes in space grey, silver and gold.

iPhone XS

The iPhone XS looks pretty much identical to the iPhone X, so you’ll probably need to call up Settings for help. The only differences are that it came in gold as well as silver and space grey, and offered up to 512GB of storage capacity.

iPhone XR

The iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch screen, no Home button, a screen notch, and a single camera lens on the back.

iPhone X

You won’t find a Home button on the iPhone X, but you will find a notch at the top of the screen. It has two cameras on the back arranged vertically.

iPhone 8 Plus

The iPhone 8 Plus looks very similar to the iPhone 7 Plus with its 5.5-inch display and twin-lens camera configuration on the back. However, here the back is glass instead of anodised aluminium and there isn't a model number engraved on it. There were also different colour choices. No shiny Jet Black or rose gold here.

iPhone 8

This time the iPhone 8 is a lot like the iPhone 7. With a 4.7-inch screen and no headphone jack. Again, the main difference from the previous model is the choice of a glass back rather than anodised aluminium. The iPhone 8 doesn’t have a model number engraved on the back.

iPhone 7 Plus

The main difference between this and the iPhone 7 is the larger 5.5-inch display and the horizontal twin-lens rear-facing cameras.

iPhone 7

The first iPhone to come in red, the iPhone 7 has a 4.7-inch screen. There’s no headphone jack at the bottom, just a single Lightning port in the centre of the bottom edge. It has speaker grilles on either side.

iPhone SE (2016)

The original iPhone SE has a very similar design to the iPhone 5s. If you can’t get to Settings then look for the SE stamp at the back. If it’s rose gold in colour then it’s not an iPhone 5s as that only came in silver, space grey and gold.

iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus

Larger than the iPhone 6 these two are much larger with 5.5-inch displays. Physically the only way to tell them apart is that only the iPhone 6s Plus came in rose gold. While the iPhone 6s Plus had a letter S on the back, below the word iPhone.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s

With curved edges replacing the squarer look of previous iPhones, the iPhone 6 series looked very different to its predecessors. The screens were larger than earlier models and the back of the body featured horizontal lines at the top and bottom.

To tell these two apart, the iPhone 6s also came in rose gold and has the letter S on the back, below the word iPhone.

Remember, older models like the iPhone 6 series are still well worth protecting with iPhone insurance. Call the team at Gadget Cover to discuss all the benefits of having such cover in place from the get-go.

iPhone 5c

Perhaps the easiest iPhone to spot from a distance. It came in a range of very bright colours with a curved plastic back. You can also tell it apart from other plastic models (such as the iPhone 3G and 3GS) as it’s taller and squarer.

iPhone 5s

Almost identical to the iPhone 5, but with a Touch ID fingerprint scanner. You’ll also notice that the Home button is just a plain circle with no small square inside it.

iPhone 5

You can tell the difference between this and the iPhone 4 and 4s that it replaced by its size. The iPhone 5 has a larger 4-inch display. The iPhone 4 and 4s also have a stainless-steel band around the edges.

iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s

Good luck telling these two apart without checking the model number. If you’re desperate, storage capacity may offer a clue. The iPhone 4 was sold in 8, 16 and 32GB sizes. While the iPhone 4s was available in all of these as well as a 64GB model.

iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS

If the iPhone you’re trying to identify has a curved plastic back (but without the black band of the original iPhone), you've got an iPhone 3G or 3GS. A good way of telling the difference between these two is colour - if it's white, you've got an iPhone 3GS.

However, both models were sold in black. So, if yours is then check the shininess of the detailing on the back. If the Apple logo and the imprint below are the same shiny silver then you’ve got an iPhone 3GS. If the imprint is less shiny than the Apple logo then you’ve got an iPhone 3G.


The original iPhone from 2007 should be a doddle to identify. It has a grey/silver anodised aluminium back with a large black band across the bottom. The model number A1203 is etched on the back case.

If you’re in the market to buy a new iPhone then check out our ultimate guide to buying a mobile phone. There’s lots of helpful guidance and advice. A key point being to buy the right iPhone insurance to protect your investment from a whole range of hazards. 

Protect your new iPhone with Gadget Cover

iPhones have long been considered to be the best mobiles money can buy. That’s why Gadget Cover is always searching for the very best iPhone insurance policies suitable for your device, individual needs and budget.

The policies we arrange include protection against accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage as standard. And for an extra premium, your iPhone will be covered against loss, too.

Additional benefits include family cover to extend protection to your immediate family, worldwide cover to include use of your iPhone anywhere in the world, and e-Wallet cover up to £500.

Get a quote for iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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