What is GSM and what is CDMA?
GSM phones are the most common band of phones in the United States and throughout the world. In the United States, the largest GSM phone carrier is AT&T. In Canada, the largest GSM phone carrier is Rogers. This is important because the parts for GSM phones typically do not work with CDMA phones.
CDMA phones are common in the United States with Verizon and Sprint. These phones often look a lot like GSM phones, but they are on a different spectrum of carrier waves than GSM phones.
Just to make things a little more confusing.
iPhone 4 GSM
The first phone we will be looking at is the iPhone 4 GSM, which was originally built for use on AT&T/Rogers networks. A GSM phone requires a small chip called a SIM card in order to receive service. This SIM card usually goes in a special compartment on the side or top of your phone. In the case of the iPhone 4, the SIM tray is found on the right side and can be opened with a paper clip or SIM tray opening pick. The bracket configuration on an iPhone 4 GSM screen contains a space for the SIM tray, but also has an off-set corner bracket on the top of the phone by the headset jack. In addition, the iPhone 4 GSM does not have SIRI voice commands.
Look on the metal mid-frame. Is there a black line above the volume & mute buttons? Now, is there a SIM card tray on the right side of the mid-frame? These are the things to look for.
The iPhone 4 GSM will always have a SIM card tray. The SIM card tray is located on the right side of the mid-frame, and yes, there is a black line near the bottom, but it’s like that on all of the iPhones.
iPhone 4 CDMA
Next, we have the iPhone 4 CDMA, which was built for Verizon and Sprint networks. Sometimes, you will also find this device on Cricket and other small CDMA carriers. The big difference between this one and other iPhone models is that this one does NOT have a SIM tray door. In addition, the bracket configuration on the screen will have a bracket blocking the spot on the right side of the screen where you would normally find a SIM card tray. Although the iPhone 4S shares the same REAR trim/door as the iPhone 4 CDMA, the front trim (which is attached to the LCD/Digitizer assembly) is different.
You will notice on this model there are 2 black lines located at the top of the mid frame on both the left and right side.
The iPhone 4 CDMA model will not have a sim card tray on the right side of the mid-frame.
Finally, we have the amazing SIRI-Enabled iPhone 4S. Unlike it’s predecessors, the iPhone 4S is cross-carrier compatible, which means it only has one set of hardware regardless of the band it is programmed for. One of the most common mistakes made when identifying an iPhone 4S is the SIM tray, which sometimes gets misidentified as an iPhone 4 GSM phone. Unfortunately, the iPhone 4S trim bracket configuration will not fit an iPhone 4 GSM, so again it is important to identify your device prior to picking out your replacement parts. Here is a picture of the iPhone 4S and what to look for when verifying the model.
You will notice on this model there are 2 black lines located at the top of the mid frame on both the left and right side. The iPhone 4S will also include a SIM card tray.
Another quick way to tell if you have an iPhone 4S is to see if you have SIRI on your phone. To check for Siri, hold down the Home button on your iPhone 4S. You’ll hear two quick beeps and see “What can I help you with?” on the screen.
Well that’s it for this week. By now you should have a good idea on how to tell the difference between an iPhone 4 GSM, an iPhone 4 CDMA, and an iPhone 4S.
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