Build difference(s) between AT&T, Verizon/Sprint iPhones?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by SPNarwhal, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. SPNarwhal macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    I thought there were no differences in build between all 3 carrier phones? I thought they made them compatible with any carrier so all models were exactly the same?

    I'm only asking because I'm looking at a backplate on e-Bay that says "Compatible with AT&T iPhone 4S ONLY"

    And yes it says 4S and not 4.
  2. saving107 macrumors 603


    Oct 14, 2007
    San Jose, Ca
  3. cyks macrumors 68020


    Jul 24, 2002
    Westchester County, NY
    They're all built identical, but they're each locked to their own carrier.
  4. SweetLou122 macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2011
    I was told the cdma and gsm versions have different vibration motors. Thats all I know of.
  5. David085 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 9, 2009
    Like Saving107 said its locked into there own carrier
  6. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    If it only works on the AT&T 4S, I have a bad feeling they simply copied their text from an listing that said only the AT&T 4 and added an S and the AT&T iPhone 4 is different from the Verizon iPhone 4.

    So either this thing only works on the iPhone 4 or they have incorrect information because the iPhone 4S for GSM and CDMA is one and the same.
  7. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    Bad description. It's either GSM iPhone 4 backplate and they typed the "S" accidentally, or they did a copy & paste from an iPhone 4 backplate description and search/replaced all the "iPhone 4" with "iPhone 4S".
  8. ericrwalker macrumors 68030


    Oct 8, 2008
    Albany, NY
    Nothing is technically different ( though you can only use voice and data at the same time with the GSM iPhone), they are still the same, the difference is in the networks they use.

    Of course AT&T does have more bars in more places.
  9. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    If you look at apple's specs page, the AT&T version of the 4S, AND the factory unlocked 4S, will not work on Sprint or Verizon.

    The reason behind the AT&T version not working is obvious: carrier-locking. But, the factory unlocked version not working is for two main reasons: software, and policy.

    The 4S is in fact identical in hardware regardless of carrier. What makes the CDMA version different though, is that they are assigned MEIDs. GSM models are given IMEIs.

    Technically, both ID types are mutually compatible. But, they can also be used to restrict what a carrier will activate, and what it won't. Sprint won't activate anything that doesn't have an MEID, and on top of that, the MEID needs to be in its inventory database. Verizon is apparently the same way.

    So, when you bring a factory unlocked iPhone 4S to Sprint or Verizon and they laugh at you, it's not because the hardware is different. It's because they've baked in a process, using serial numbers, that ensures that they activate only the phones you buy from them.
  10. SPNarwhal thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    That's a way to go. Except in their e-Bay store, it has categories which include "AT&T iPhone 4, Verizon iPhone4, AT&T iPhone4S." So that has to be purposely done.

    I'm thinking the seller just doesn't know what he's talking about.
  11. Wide opeN macrumors 6502a

    Wide opeN

    Aug 27, 2010
    I wonder if some Senator will ever get the bright idea about not being able to take your 4S with you across carriers.

    Not saying it shouldn't be this way (it should) but these guys like to nitpick about anything that comes to their mind.
  12. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    As always, consider the source.

    Can't speak to your intent but that above is a bit misleading. The CDMA devices have to have IMEI's or else they wouldn't be able to operate on GSM networks for international roaming.
  13. scaredpoet, Dec 14, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011

    scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    I can't speak to your intent either, but I can speak to mine. My intent is to inform.

    You think so? Okay then, show me where I can find the IMEI on a CDMA-provisioned iPhone.

    By the way: even if they did have IMEIs (which they don't, but the TIA has policies in place to make sure that MEIDs are perfectly compatible with GSM systems when one is assigned to a world-capable device), this still doesn't change the fact that Sprint/Verizon will not activate an iPhone not in their inventory, even if factory unlocked.
  14. nunyabusiness macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2012
    Why can't anyone seem to answer the questions?

    I thought there were no differences in build between all 3 carrier phones? I thought they made them compatible with any carrier so all models were exactly the same?

    I'm only asking because I'm looking at a backplate on e-Bay that says "Compatible with AT&T iPhone 4S ONLY"

    :confused: The reason i'm so puzzled is becuase you are obviously so intelligent that you read a post and then ramble on about every thing except what the post was about! This had nothing to do with the carriers network differences. He or she simply wants to buy a Back Plate for the Iphone 4 or 4s and needs to know if there are any differences between them so not to purchase the wrong one! So to answer the actual question: Yes there are many diffences between back plates sold online depending on the carrier that the plates were made for. Verizon, At&t and Sprint all have different Plates front and back. I recently made the mistake of purchasing a Front and Back plate for Verizon and tried to install them on my Sprint Iphone 4. The screw placements were completely different. I basically took the entire phone apart for nothing but a button replacement since the plates did not fit. Now I have to order the correct parts and start over. Benefits of this mistake are now I can pull apart and put together an iphone without watching a You Tube video on how to do it, and I was able to answer this question! Hope this was helpfull. Peace...
  15. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    4S's should be the same. There were some physical differences with the 4 between gsm and CDMA with the silence switch and volume buttons.

    You should be fine with that back plate assuming its really for a 4s. Even if it's not I was under the assumption all back plates were the same anyway but don't quote me to that.
  16. Tea-Aholic macrumors 6502


    Dec 8, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Yes, that is correct. The 4S and CDMA 4 have very similar characteristics, one being the new vibrational motor and the same 4-slit antennae bands.
  17. mrbrown macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2004
    Ozark, Missouri
    Apple says they do... although it's referred to as an "IMEI/MEID".
  18. datumax, Mar 22, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012

    datumax macrumors newbie


    Feb 24, 2011
    What am I missing?

    I seem to have an IMEI and and MEID on my Sprint 4S. What gives?


    I recently got AT&T to add my "ESN" to their system and send me a SIM to see if I can activate my CDMA 4S on their network. I purchased my 4S on launch day, before the Sprint press release about phones shipping locked after a certain date, whereas previously sold devices shipped unlocked. However, I've also read about a carrier update that might have "locked" (BB update?) my phone all over again. I figure either way, it's worth a shot to see if I can get it activate. My only question procedurally at this point is whether or not to remove the 4S from my Sprint profile (swap it out for a Nexus S) before I pop in the AT&T micro SIM.

    Any thoughts?
  19. b24pgg macrumors 65816

    Jan 28, 2009
    Physically, they are identical. The only difference is the firmware.

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