People orbiting the tech industry—and especially folks employed within it—tend to mischaracterize the average person's relationship with their smartphones, laptops, gizmos, and gadgets. No one is more guilty of this than me: after all, it's my job to examine these products under a magnifying glass, sometimes literally.
So when a blockbuster item like a new iPhone hits the shelves, my industry friends and I tend to assume most shoppers are as well versed in iPhone history as we are. This is—as I'm sure you know, since you found your way here—not the case. The truth is, most people have no idea which iPhone they use every single day, let alone the differences from generation to generation.
Here's the good news: Finding out which version of the iPhone you own is a relatively easy, two-step process.
Step 1: Find your iPhone's model number
The easiest way to determine which iPhone you're holding is by locating its model number.
For most iPhones, this is as simple as turning it over and looking at the back case of the phone—the model number will be printed towards the bottom along with a bunch of other information. You should be looking for a 5-digit alphanumeric code beginning with the letter "A."
For anyone with an iPhone 8, an iPhone 8 Plus, or an iPhone X, the process is a little more complicated. Turn over any of these newer iPhones—and, in all likelihood, future iPhones that postdate this article being published—and you won't find any of the phone's hardware information.
Instead, you'll need to take a quick dip into your iPhone's settings menu in order to ID your model.
Open your phone's settings, scroll down to "General," then open the "About" section. From here, locate the field that says "Model." As a default, the 5-digit alphanumeric code isn't displayed, and instead, the phone's SKU—which also identifies the storage capacity and color—is listed.
From here, you can do one of two things: You can either Google your iPhone's SKU and see which model shows up in the search results, or you can tap the SKU to reveal the iPhone's 5-digit model number.
Step 2: Use the 5-digit model number to ID your iPhone
Once you've determined your iPhone's model number, you're ready to figure out which version of the phone you're using.
Apple lists all of the iPhone model numbers on its website, but I went ahead and sorted them in an easy-to-read chart so you don't have to scroll through their page.
Simply note your iPhone's model number and cross-reference it with the corresponding model on this list.
iPhone X: A1865, A1901, A1902
iPhone 8: A1863, A1905, A1906
iPhone 8 Plus: A1864, A1897, A1898
iPhone 7: A1660, A1778, A1779
iPhone 7 Plus: A1661, A1784, A1785
iPhone 6s: A1633, A1688, A1700
iPhone 6s Plus: A1634, A1687, A1699
iPhone 6: A1549, A1586, A1589
iPhone 6 Plus: A1522, A1524, A1593
iPhone SE: A1723, A1662, A1724
iPhone 5s: A1453, A1457, A1518, A1528, A1530, A1533
iPhone 5c: A1456, A1507, A1516, A1529, A1532
iPhone 5: A1428, A1429, A1442
iPhone 4s: A1431, A1387
iPhone 4: A1349, A1332
iPhone 3GS: A1325, A1303
iPhone 3G: A1324, A1241
The older the iPhone, the less likely you are to be using it—unless, of course, you're trying to identify the old-looking iPhone you just dug out of a box in your attic.