Apple Iphone Model, Region & Version Terminology

Iphone versions and models Explained ...

1/29/20235 min read

How to identify different iPhone versions?

An iPhone version can be identified using two numbers. First is the Model Number, which points to their Region. Second, the Part Number identifies the specific country where Apple intended to sell it. To check the iPhone’s model number, Go to Settings, then General, and select About. You can toggle between the model number and part number by tapping on the fourth row, containing the term “Model Number”.

The fourth row in the image above display’s the Part Number for the unlocked iPhone 11 128 GB green which is MWM62AE/A. AE being Apple’s way of identifying the United Arab Emirates. Similarly, LL is the way apple identifies US iPhones. For example, the unlocked iPhone 11 128GB Green US version has the following part number MWLK2LL/A.

Likewise, iPhone 11 with the same color and storage option (128GB Green) for Canada ends in C/A (MWLK2VC/A). For China Mainland, it ends in CH/A (MWNE2CH/A). For Hon Kong ZA/A (MWNE2ZA/A). Japan uses J/A (MWM62J/A), and there’s also B/A for the United Kingdom (MWM62B/A).

iPhone Model numbers

Let’s switch to the Region Model number. In this case, it is A2221 which places it in the fourth Region. It’s worth noting that, two iPhones can have different part numbers but the same model number.The iPhone 11 128 GB green which I have here is the UAE version. Its model number is A2221 but its part number is MWM62AE/A. The same phone, sold in the UK also comes with the model number A2221 but its part number is MWM62B/A. It means that both phones are for different countries in the same region.

iPhone regions

Apple recognizes four main regions. I’ll explain this using the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max as a case study. The First region is the United States. iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max for the US come with the following Model numbers A2341 and A2342 respectively.

The second Region is comprised of five countries, we have Canada, Guam, Japan, Puerto Rico, and USVI. Apple supplies them with the following models: iPhone 12 Pro A2406 and iPhone 12 Pro Max A2410.

The Next Region contains China Mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao. The 12 Pro model for this region is A2408 and that of the Pro Max is A2412. All other areas not mentioned above fall in the fourth Region. And that includes; the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Australia, and the rest of Asia. They use the following models for 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max A2407 and A2411 respectively.

iPhone versions

What’s the difference?So how do these versions differ? I’m still using the iPhone 12 Pro as an example. The 12 Pro from different regions would have exactly the same specs such as battery, display, ram, processor, etc. They would also have the same performance. But there could sometimes be a few tiny things that set them apart.

iPhone version differences

5G and LTE bandwidthsThe main difference is their supported cellular bands. Here is a comprehensive post that compares the various bandwidths for the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Max for each region in 5G and 4G networks.If an iPhone is not locked to a specific carrier, you can use it anywhere in the world. But it may not be able to connect to certain LTE or 5G bandwidths if it doesn’t support them. For Example, the Canadian iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max can’t use the n260 (39 GHz) and n261 (28 GHz) 5G bandwidths.

Apple probably didn’t include those bandwidths because telecom providers in Canada don’t use them. However, the n260 and n261 are used on US cellular networks and so the US iPhone version can support them. So if you were to take the Canadian model to the US, and connect to a 5G network that uses the n260 and n261, the phone would either revert to the nearest compatible bandwidth or simply drop to LTE.

iPhone version differences – specific country rregulations/requirements

The next difference results from specific country requirements. In various countries, service providers and telecom authorities may impose regulations on Apple. UAE (Dubai) – Middle east iPhone versionsIn the United Arab Emirates iPhones don’t have Facetime preinstalled. However, since the advent of iOS 13.6, it has been possible to get facetime working on a UAE-specific iPhone by simply switching to a different country through the phone settings. Nonetheless, FaceTime still wouldn’t work in the UAE without a VPN. Previously, Saudi Arabia also had this same restriction, but they’ve moved on and now allow the use of facetime on their networks.

Japan – iPhone versions

People who unknowingly buy the Japan iPhone version soon find themselves stuck with an obnoxious shutter sound each time they take a picture. That’s because iPhones made specifically for Japan don’t have the option to turn off the camera shutter sound from the phone settings. And the only way to bypass that would be to either set a silent shutter sound or jailbreak the phone.

Hong Kong / China – iPhone versions

While iPhones from the rest of the world have only one nano sim card slot with the option to use a second mobile number through the e-sim, the Hong Kong and China mainland versions instead have two nano sim card slots. But in the Chinese iPhone, there’s no option to make Audio facetime calls. They only support video facetime calls.

iPhone version differences – Locked iPhones Vs unlocked iPhones

Now, let’s talk about locked, vs unlocked iPhones. Sometimes an iPhone can be sold together with other services under contract by a carrier for a monthly payment. In that case, you would only be able to use the phone with a sim card from that particular carrier throughout the duration of that contract.The sim lock can usually be removed by entering a special code or numeric password. The unlock codes can be obtained either from the carrier or from third-party companies that sell the codes. On the flip side, a Factory unlocked iPhone is not locked to any specific carrier and can be used with any sim card. In certain situations, people buy a Factory unlocked iPhone, use it for a few months, and then it gets blocked and becomes totally useless. If that happens, then there are high chances that the phone was reported stolen and Apple has probably blocked it on purpose.