How to Tell an iPhone 4 from a 4s: A Step-by-Step Guide

Identifying an iPhone 4 from a 4s may seem challenging, but with a few simple checks, you can easily distinguish between the two. By examining the exterior design, checking for the presence of a SIM card slot, reviewing the system’s settings, or looking at the model number, you’ll be able to tell the two models apart.

After completing the action, you’ll be able to confidently identify whether you have an iPhone 4 or a 4s, which can be useful for troubleshooting, selling, or buying purposes.


When it comes to iPhones, the differences between models can sometimes be subtle, yet significant. Knowing exactly which iPhone model you have is crucial for a variety of reasons. It can affect the value of your device, compatibility with software updates, and even the type of accessories you can use. The iPhone 4 and 4s, for instance, look virtually identical at first glance, but there are key variations that set them apart. For the untrained eye, these disparities can be hard to spot, but they’re there, and they’re important.

Whether you’re a tech enthusiast, a second-hand buyer, or a curious iPhone owner, being able to tell the difference between these two models is a handy skill to have, and it’s not as complicated as it might seem. So sit tight, and let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of distinguishing an iPhone 4 from a 4s.

Step by Step Tutorial: Identifying Your iPhone Model

The following steps will guide you through different methods to determine whether you have an iPhone 4 or a 4s.

Step 1: Check the Exterior Design

Look for any noticeable design differences between the two models.

The iPhone 4s is almost identical to the iPhone 4 in design. However, one minute detail to look for is the placement of the antenna band breaks. On the iPhone 4, the breaks are situated toward the top of both sides, whereas on the 4s, one of the breaks has been moved to just above the mute switch on the left side. This subtle change was made to improve the antenna’s performance on the 4s.

Step 2: Look for the SIM Card Slot

Check for the presence of a SIM card slot on the right side of the device.

If your iPhone has a SIM card slot on the right side, it is an iPhone 4s. The iPhone 4 only comes in a CDMA version without a SIM card slot (except for the later GSM model) while the iPhone 4s supports both GSM and CDMA networks, which necessitated the SIM card slot.

Step 3: Review the System Settings

Navigate to the system settings to find specific model information.

Go to Settings > General > About and look for the model number. The iPhone 4 model numbers are A1332 and A1349, while the 4s is identified as A1387 and A1431. This is perhaps the most foolproof method if you’re able to turn on the device and access the settings.

Step 4: Examine the Model Number

Locate the model number found on the device’s exterior.

If you can’t turn on the iPhone, look for the model number etched on the back cover near the bottom. It’s tiny, but with a bit of light, you should be able to make it out and cross-reference it with the numbers provided in Step 3.


Easy IdentificationKnowing the specific model can help with troubleshooting as some issues may be prevalent in one model over the other.
Increased Resale ValueIf you’re looking to sell your iPhone, being able to accurately identify it can ensure you get the right price for it.
Accessory CompatibilitySome accessories are model-specific, so knowing your iPhone model can save you from purchasing incompatible items.


Similar DesignThe models’ similar design makes it hard to differentiate at a glance, potentially leading to confusion.
Limited System AccessIf the iPhone won’t turn on, it’s harder to identify the model through the system settings, making other methods necessary.
Model Number VisibilityThe etched model number on the back cover can be hard to see, especially on older devices with worn exteriors.

Additional Information

When trying to tell an iPhone 4 from a 4s, it’s essential to consider that the 4s typically has better specs, including a faster processor and an improved camera. Additionally, the 4s was the first iPhone to feature Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. If you can activate Siri by holding the home button, then you’re likely dealing with a 4s.

Remember, while these methods are reliable, they may not be foolproof in cases where the iPhone has been altered or if it has a custom housing. Always cross-reference multiple signs to ensure accuracy in your identification. It’s also worth noting that the iPhone 4s usually runs smoother with newer iOS updates compared to the iPhone 4, which may be another clue to look out for when distinguishing between the two.


  1. Inspect the exterior design for antenna band breaks.
  2. Check for a SIM card slot on the right side of the device.
  3. Navigate to the system settings to find the model number.
  4. Look for the model number on the back cover of the iPhone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the iPhone won’t turn on?

If the iPhone won’t power on, you can still check the model number on the back cover or examine the exterior design for antenna band breaks.

Can I tell the difference by the screen size?

No, both the iPhone 4 and 4s have a 3.5-inch screen, so screen size won’t help differentiate between the two models.

Does the iPhone 4s have any unique features?

Yes, the iPhone 4s introduced Siri, the virtual assistant, which was not available on the iPhone 4.

Are the iPhone 4 and 4s compatible with the same iOS version?

No, the iPhone 4s typically supports newer iOS versions compared to the iPhone 4 due to its improved hardware.

What do I do if the model number is not visible?

In that case, your best bet is to check for the presence of a SIM card slot or try to power on the device and access the system settings.


Distinguishing an iPhone 4 from a 4s might seem tricky, but with these simple steps, you’ll become an expert in no time. Whether you’re troubleshooting, planning to buy or sell, or simply curious, knowing the specifics of your iPhone is undeniably beneficial.

Keep in mind the pros and cons of each method and remember to always double-check your findings. The next time you come across an iPhone 4 or 4s, you’ll be able to tell them apart with ease and confidence.