iPhone 6s rose gold

Apple is shipping four different models of iPhone for its yearly refresh. The iPhone 6s sports two models—A1633 and A1688, while the iPhone 6s Plus feature models A1634 and A1687.

Although both iPhones in the 6s and 6s Plus lines are virtually the same, the model numbers differentiate the cellular LTE band capabilities of each phone. Thus, by familiarizing yourself with each model number, you can learn what networks each phone will support.

Why is this important? Say you wanted to order a new iPhone 6s in rose gold. As you might have heard, rose gold is proving to be very popular, and is selling out quicker than some of the other iPhone color options. Rose gold 64GB iPhones designated for T-Mobile and Verizon are now on backorder for 2-3 weeks.

But some rose gold models remain available—for example, some Sprint-designated rose gold models are still shipping on 9/25. By using our knowledge of iPhone model numbers, we might still be able to obtain a rose gold iPhone 6s to use with a provider like T-Mobile or Verizon by purchasing the Sprint model…

iPhoen 6s rose gold order

By visiting Apple’s designated LTE page, we can quickly discern which model numbers support which networks.

To put it simply, the A1688 & A1687 models support the majority of the major wireless carriers in the U.S. That model supports Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. This may seem a bit weird since T-Mobile and AT&T are both GSM providers, but as you’ll see, the AT&T model features an additional band.

The A1633 & A1634 models support AT&T. Those models also support the majority of the smaller carriers and MVNOs that you find available in the U.S.

So what’s the real difference between each model class? Well, judging from Apple’s LTE page, the only major difference is the inclusion of a 2300 Mhz (band 30) on the AT&T supported model numbers.

The 2300 or 2.3 Ghz spectrum is also referred to as Wireless Communications Service (WCS). In 2012, AT&T acquired the spectrum for a little over half a billion dollars from the now defunct NextWave wireless. NextWave merged with an AT&T subsidiary a year later.

Regarding WCS, RVMobileInternet.com had this to say:

WCS is not well suited to long distance coverage, but in dense areas it will allow AT&T to substantially increase speeds and add capacity to places where the current AT&T LTE network is becoming overloaded.

In other words – AT&T is building a new express carpool lane onto the AT&T LTE network.

AT&T also supports bands 17, 2, 4, and 5, so even if you buy a A1688 & A1687 model phone, it should still work on AT&T. You just won’t get support for the less-saturated band 30.

I know you probably didn’t come into this post expecting to be schooled on mobile spectrum and the like, but the big takeaway from this post is that you can buy a Sprint, Verizon, or T-Mobile iPhone 6s and use LTE with any of those three networks. If you use AT&T, you’ll want to stick with the A1633 & A1634 models.

iPhoen 6s rose gold order 2

This was a long way of saying that if you want a rose gold iPhone 6s, you can order a Sprint version, and use it with T-Mobile or Verizon. Keep in mind that if you don’t buy it off contract, you may have to deal with unlocking, since it’s possible that it might be factory locked.

One last thing to note is that the A1688 & A1687 models also support a good portion of the world’s foreign cellular carriers as well. I’m no expert on LTE spectrum and bands, so I’m not sure on all of the particulars and reasoning behind this, but going by Apple’s page, these models support LTE on many of the world’s cellular providers.

Based off all of the aforementioned details on carriers and bands, I’d say that the T-Mobile/Sprint/Verizon iPhones are the best iPhones to get unless you happen to be on AT&T.

If you have any additional details that you could provide on Apple’s model numbers, bands, and spectrum, then please drop me a line down in the comments below. I’d certainly welcome the insight.

  • Justin W

    Aren’t the GSM models needed to get Edge on AT&T and T-Mobile?

    • I don’t know if you can really call it a “GSM model” anymore, because T-Mobile, who is GSM, shares the same model as Verizon and Sprint, traditional CDMA.

      • Justin W

        This feels as if there are differences?

      • The only difference is band 30 from what I can tell. That’s the difference I brought up in my post.

      • Justin W

        That’s AT&T only. So if everything else is the same why not just make everything with the AT&T radio?

      • I don’t know. I don’t know enough about this stuff to speculate as to why.

      • coLin

        probably the price per chip is more expensive to produce the ATT models, I’m just guessing

      • Ousmane Sokona

        You must know otherwise why are you promoting the Sprint model even though the AT&T model has more bands?

      • Manuel Molina

        So this means most of these phones are unlocked? But when you go through selling options with carriers to do a trade-in, everywhere you check gives you less money for any brand unless it’s Verizon.

      • NeftyCorrea

        jeff out of topic but is your 6 plus still jailbroken ?

      • Myron Marvin

        For all intents and purposes, GSM and CDMA (both 2G technologies) are near death and have been overtaken by 4G and LTE. So for the latest generations of smart phones, CDMA and GSM are no longer discussion points.

  • Ron

    So why not just buy an A1633 or A1634, which which has the maximum compatibility with all carriers?

    • Well, you would, unless you have AT&T. I admit that I still don’t understand everything about this, though. I’m hoping someone will chime in to educate me.

  • OneBigInFiniteJoinT

    Jeff. what model, storage and color are you getting ?

    • OneBigInFiniteJoinT

      you deleted your reply Jeff ?

      • Seba

        It is girly for sure. My girlfriend and her friends (girls) are getting Rose gold. 🙂

      • OneBigInFiniteJoinT

        well i have ordered rose gold and space grey.. time will tell which one i stay with.. i have been using iPhone 5 for 3 years now and kind of sick of space grey and i don’t like the silver or gold variants so left with rose gold. and my girl went for space grey. LOL so things are not normal as of now.

      • Johnson Noel

        Rose gold is more of a pink. I’m tired of space grey too. I think the silver is cool. Put a nice case on and your good.

      • Jeffrey

        How could you not like gold if you like rose gold?:P

      • OneBigInFiniteJoinT

        it’s not really gold is it ? rose gold does not look pink to me at all .. kinda looks like orange on chrome.. but then i will have to see it in store to know to for sure

      • Jeffrey

        Yeah I know, but I mean how can you like pink better than ‘gold’ hahah

      • JohnMiller2013

        It’s the “I want everyone to know I spent lots of money on the latest model” color; gender neutral.

      • Jeffrey

        Yeah I personally think rose gold is pretty girly…

  • KingR

    Hey Jeff, im not trying to be a grammar police…just want point out that last 3 articles all had “Sport(s)” instead of ‘Support(s)’.
    Thanks for the info though. Appreciated.

    • No problem. Actually, “sports” is an English (perhaps American only?) idiom. It was intentional, and not a typo. Though, maybe I shouldn’t use this?

      • Roto

        Hi Jeff, I can confirm we use the expression in British English too, e.g. “The new iPhone sports the latest 3D Touch technology” etc anyway, please DO continue using it 🙂 btw, love your articles and vids as always!

  • iJumeira

    I paid the full price for t-mobile version to use it in UAE, now the article says it might be locked!! Last year when I was in the US I got an iphone from store and it was unlocked (t-mobile version)! any conformation guys?

    • If you paid full price, it shouldn’t be locked (T-Mobile phones aren’t locked anyway). If it is locked (Sprint), you can simply request an unlock. Verizon phones aren’t locked either. I know that AT&T is kinda shady with its locking practices. I mainly just wanted to cover all basis here. Most phones are going to be unlocked, especially if paid in full.

      • iJumeira

        pheew, thanks man 🙂

      • Nathanial Wayne Langston

        actually its not as simple as just asking it has to be out of contract and not on a lease or Installment billing. #SprintEmployee

      • Greg Warren

        I paid full price for an AT&T one from AT&T, and full price for another AT&T one from Apple. The one I bought directly from AT&T was locked when I got it. I had to go on their website and request an unlock code, which took a few hours to get to me (they said it could take a few days). The one I bought directly from Apple was unlocked right out of the box. Moral of the story: don’t buy from AT&T. Ever.

    • dudeimmexican

      I was able to pre order a 6s+ 64GB silver for a 9/25 shipping even after 6 hours later

    • Chase Richard Carbajal

      I was told the T-Mobile version is unlocked.

  • Justin W

    I would like to see an article showcasing the 70% speed difference of the CPU and the faster Touch-ID

    • Dany Quirion

      let them get the phone first XD

      • Justin W

        I understand that. Just because they have doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily compare it to last generation. And sometimes companies give out models to tech sites to review early.

      • Jeffrey

        Apple only does that to the VERY large blogs, probably not to iDB

  • I’m curious, does this make AT&Ts band better?

    • WCS (AT&T’s band 30) is not well suited to long distance coverage, but in dense areas it will allow AT&T to substantially increase speeds and add capacity to places where the current AT&T LTE network is becoming overloaded.

      In other words – AT&T is building a new express carpool lane onto the AT&T LTE network. So it should be faster due to less saturation, but not as good at providing long distance network access.

  • Robert Donnelly III

    Does band 30 just improve AT&Ts coverage? When I preordered I chose to pick up and pay in store to get an unlocked one. Will I need to specify I want one to use on AT&Ts network when i pick it up?

    • Yes, band 30 is only for AT&T’s network, and in theory, it adds faster LTE. See the post, as I updated it with details.

      • Robert Donnelly III

        thanks jeff! Any idea why apple wouldn’t just sell models 1633 and 1634 since it includes all the bands of model 1687 and 1688?

      • Merman123

        AT&T “owns” band 30 support.

      • Robert Donnelly III

        yeh but its not like other networks can use it

      • Merman123

        That’s irrelevant. The FCC regulates bands and AT&T is paying for the infrastructure.

      • Robert Donnelly III

        I’m confused on why att paying for the right to use that spectrum prevents apple from making 1 iPhone to rule them all

  • Merman123

    ” I’d say that the T-Mobile/Sprint/Verizon iPhones are the best iPhones to get unless you happen to be on AT&T.”

    How so? If anything my takeaway is the opposite. Buying an AT&T phone allows for all the same capabilities of other phones with every carrier, with the additional band 30 support, if you ever choose to go with AT&T.

    • Robert Donnelly III

      i agree

    • Good point… Hmmm…. I guess there’s just not enough information to know at this point.. but you do make a good point.

    • KariNeko

      +1

    • Sergio

      I’m getting the AT&T model just because of that, even though I use Simple Mobile as my provider, I’m just curious if the ATT phones come unlocked as the verizon ones. If not I’ll just have to change to cricket to use the phone :))

      • Greg Warren

        AT&T phones are unlocked if you pay full price and buy them from Apple. If you buy them directly from AT&T, you have to go to AT&T’s website and request an unlock code. They told me it could take a couple of days, but it took more like 2-3 hours.

  • johnsm

    Thanks Jeff!

  • Cristian B

    So does that mean that the unlocked t-mobile version 6S off Apple won’t be as fast if I use AT&T on it?

  • Jose Rivera

    In my opinion, go with the Verizon model… The 6 Plus I have is a Verizon model and it supports almost (if not all,) every carrier. It tested it out on Sprint and it loaded the SIM and service, and I kept switching SIM cards from other places and they all work. But now they all have the same things, except the band 30 support, so I say go with the AT&T just in case you do chose to go with them like it was mentioned in the comments by another reader.

  • ttluv2004

    Ordered contract free T-Mobile 6s Plus, anyone know if the phone will be shipped unlocked to be used on AT&T? Thanks.

    • kabomber

      yes you will be fine

    • blake247

      Nope you will be locked. You can request an unlock after 40 days of service on Tmobile.

      • ttluv2004

        Confirmed, got mine on 9/25 and was unlocked out of the box. Just replace with AT&T Sim and good to go.

  • Nathanial Wayne Langston

    Ever since the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s the phones have a DSU ability. Also the iPhone 5s and up also have a ISU ability. which means that you can take an iPhone to any carrier in the US and select carriers internationally. Gone are the days of the GSM and CDMA models of iPhones. #SprintEmployee

    • Hi there. I ordered a Sprint 6s off-contract. Do these things come unlocked? My plan is to simply pop the Sprint SIM out before I even turn on the phone. This should, in theory, help me avoid the Activation fee altogether, right?

      • Nathanial Wayne Langston

        Yes in theory it should not have a fee however if you have never had a Sprint account then there is nothing to bill it too

    • iJumeira

      I am thinking to get sprint iphone 6s with pay in full option, will it be unlocked for overseas use? I am not sprint customer

  • Toh Woo Kim

    Model A1688 & A1687 support CDMA, while A1633 & A1634 do not. That’s the key difference. LTE band support is the same except for Band 30 (as pointed out)

    Apple now include China 3G/4G standard into both model in 6S, while there was a separate China-specific model in iPhone 6

    • That’s not true, though.

      The only difference, according to Apple, is band 30. Unless Apple’s documentation is wrong, they’re exactly the same outside of that additional band.

      Just go here and scroll to the bottom of the page where it lists cellular specs: http://www.apple.com/iphone-6s/specs/

      • JimS

        I, too, noticed a difference in CDMA support between the models on Apple’s tech specs page when I first looked at it last week, but now it looks the same. Perhaps they had it wrong and updated the page?

  • Jim Woolley

    Seems that using an iPhone and the Apple Store App to purchase an Iphone 6S as a full price, no contract option, the programmer either incompetently or with an agenda, left out the option to select AT&T as the intended carrier the buyer will use. One ONLY sees an unlabeled rectangular box with the T-Mobile logo in the section that seems associated with the selection of Apple Care. When you tap on this logo it changes to the word NONE. Not understanding what model either of these selections would grant me, I bought a phone using both options to only find the next morning (Sept 12) validated by Apple Support, that I had bought 2 of the same model phone and that model was the A1687, which, of course, is not optimized for AT&T use. The support person walked thru the ordering process and noted the same error. How is this possible, no testing before making available to the world. I could only cancel my 2 orders of the wrong phone and go to the end of the line to again, order the right phone but this time use the PC web interface. They could not simply change my incorrect model to the right model, especially when the fault was ENTIRELY theirs. Only blogging this so another end user isn’t tortured to the degree I was. BTW: the correct model for AT&T is the A1633.

    • Larce5401

      That sucks. From what the blog community is posting is that if you are already or planning to be on AT&T you need to get the models (A1633 or A1634) that have the new LTE band 30 chipsets to take advantage of Big Blue’s new spectrum. I also heard that if you reserved one at the store for pick-up, you will be getting the A1687/A1688 models. These are the models they will be using for the iPhone upgrade program. The reason why they wouldn’t just include all the models with the LTE band 30 is I’m assuming that the extra chipset must cost more. I was owed an upgrade from AT&T so I ordered through the Apple Store an iPhone 6s Plus with the Next option AND also reserving one in the store so I can use their iPhone upgrade program (they don’t offer the program online). The first one should be arriving today and I verified the product number as MKTW2LL/A (A1634). As for the second one I will make sure it’s the same model but if it’s not I will probably just let it go and ask them to transfer the iPhone upgrade program to the one that I first mentioned. The only reason I want to enroll in the iPhone upgrade program is that iMore is reporting next year this program will allow you to get the newer iPhone 7 with the least possible hassle. When I tried to order the iPhone 6s Plus this year the Apple Store was momentarily down so I went to the myAT&T app and their expected shipping date was already at Oct. 3rd. And this was at 12:02 a.m.! Luckily I was able to add my orders. I will try to convey this to the Apple specialists this morning because they should offer the AT&T optimized versions to all the Big Blue customers that reserved their phones this morning.

  • kabomber

    I wonder if the “unlocked” apple payment plan apple store “at&t” reserved phones are actually the at&t model?

  • Hey Jeff are their any spec differences between the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus the same as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus?

  • JayDee917

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised the rose gold is selling fast since it’s a new color… But are there any guys that bought the rose gold option?

  • Tom Berry

    I pre-ordered a gold 128 GB T-Mobile 6s from Apple, because it comes unlocked. On my order, it says (GSM). So which model am I getting?

  • Andrea Verocio

    So will models A1633 & A1634 also allow me to use LTE on T-Mobile,verizon, sprint AND AT&T ?

    Is there no one model that rules them all ?

    If not which model has the most bands that also works on the most carriers ?

    I don’t care about LTE I care about accessibility and QUALITY OF SERVICE!

  • chromedream

    For anyone still following this, I bought an iPhone 6s+ AT&T model (A1634) to use with my T-Mobile SIM. Popped in SIM and activated on T-Mobile no problems. As mentioned, I could not do the iPhone Upgrade Program at the store without activating at the on the specific carrier. I bought the AT&T version outright.

  • Obed Musajja

    i have models( a1687 and a1688) iPhone 6s however they are failing to Pick LTE yes same network previous was working in the normal iPhone 6

  • yagami light

    @JeffBenjam:disqus, so can you confirm if the att variant and the “sim free” variant both have the same model number; A1633 ?

    meaning they both have band 30?

  • Crom!

    So I have the A1688 model running on At&t. But I got two problems. One VoLTE doesn’t work. When making or receiving calls, phone switches from LTE to 4G even though voice and data are toggled on in settings. Another issue is that WiFi-calling wont activate. I get an “opps” error and it asks me to call AT&T to get it resolved. So to my dismay, I found out that the A1688 model has not been certified by AT&T and therefore VoLTE and wifi-calling will be disabled until it becomes certified….

  • Nandita Bothra

    While ordering from the apple site is it possible to confirm that I get A1688?

  • Rojan

    iphone 6S model no (A1688) supports facetime?