How to Tell if an iPad Is GSM or CDMA

By Brian Flax

The Apple iPad is designed for GSM, CDMA and LTE networks, but compatibility depends on the model you own.
i Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Whether your iPad contains a GSM or CDMA radio depends on the carrier you purchased it for and the iPad model. The iPad Mini and iPad with Retina display purchased from Verizon Wireless or Sprint contains a GSM radio, CDMA radio and LTE radio. If you purchased an AT&T model, the iPad contains only GSM and LTE radio. Older iPad models usually only contain one type of radio or the other. For example, the iPad 2 only contains a CDMA radio when purchased for Verizon Wireless.

Sprint and Verizon Models

If you purchased a Verizon Wireless iPad with Retina display, your device contains a CDMA, GSM and LTE radio. Your iPad can be used on both Verizon 3G CDMA networks and GSM networks with a compatible SIM card. This can come in handy if you're traveling to a different country that only supports GSM frequencies. The Sprint version also includes a CDMA, GSM and LTE radio. The same applies to the iPad Mini purchased through both Verizon Wireless and Sprint. The iPad 2 for Verizon Wireless only contains a CDMA radio and cannot roam on to GSM networks. An iPad 2 model is not available for Sprint.

AT&T Models

If you purchased an AT&T model iPad with Retina display or iPad Mini, the device only contains a GSM and LTE radio. The AT&T iPad models will not roam on to CDMA networks like those used by Sprint and Verizon. If the iPad is unlocked, you may be able to use your AT&T iPad when traveling outside of the country on other GSM networks. Like Verizon Wireless, the iPad 2 model for AT&T only contains a GSM radio and will only work on GSM networks.

Wi-Fi Only Models

The iPad you own will only work on cellular Internet if you've purchased a model that contains a cellular radio, whether it's GSM, CDMA or LTE. Apple also offers Wi-Fi only models of the iPad, iPad 2, iPad with Retina Display and iPad Mini. If you own a Wi-Fi only model of any of these devices, you won't be able to connect to cellular Internet. The iPad will, however, connect to any open Wi-Fi network or private network as long as you have the password to connect.

Identify Your iPad Model

If you're still unsure whether your iPad contains a GSM or CDMA radio, visit the Apple website to identify which type of iPad you have based on the model number on the back of your device (link in Resources). Once you've located the model number on the back of your iPad, compare it to the list of models on the website. The model number will tell you whether you own an iPad with a cellular radio or if it's Wi-Fi only. Apple's website can also help determine the year your iPad was manufactured and the available storage capacities.