Update 4/26/19: The latest iPad model numbers are included, as well as some additional China-only numbers.
You might think you know which iPad you have. The new one. The big one. the bigger one. The one in rose gold one. The mini. But when you need to know exactly which model you have, or better yet, which generation, it can get a little trickier.
You don't have to be an Apple Store Genius to figure it out, though you do have to know where to look... and what to look for. With so many lines over the years, iPads aren't nearly as easily distinguishable as iPhones are, so even if you know the size, we can help you tell whether it's an iPad, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, or iPad Pro.
This article is strictly about model numbers. For specs, buying advice, and all the details on current models, be sure to check out Macworld's comprehensive iPad buying guide.
How to find your iPad model number
In addition to the marketing names that we all know so well, all iPads have a model number. Two of them, actually. The first one is on the device itself. If you flip over your iPad, you'll see a bunch of tiny writing below the word "iPad." That's where you'll find the all-important model number.
At the end of the top row, you'll find the world "Model" in tiny letters followed by an "A" and a four-digit string of numbers. Those numbers are what tells you the screen size and generation of iPad you have, as well as whether it's cellular-equipped. There is also a serial number printed below the model number, but it's unlikely you'll ever need it.
For example, the latest iPad Air is A2152 for the Wi-Fi model, A2123 for the GSM LTE version, and A2153 for the Verizon friendly CDMA one. Here's a chart to help you understand what it all means:
If your number isn't listed above, there may be a couple of reasons. Some cellular-equipped fourth-generation iPads and first-generation iPad minis have an "MM" version indicating CDMA compatibility—though you'll see that designation only on spec sheets. Or you may have a China Mobile specific model. Specifically the third-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro (A1983), 11-inch iPad Pro (A1979), second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro (A1821), 10.5-inch iPad Pro (A1852), third-generation iiPad Air (A2154), and fifth-generation iPad mini (A2125). Additionally, some iPad Air (A1476) and iPad mini 2 (A1491) models from 2014 may have numbers representing TD-LTE designations.
In any case, the chart above represents most of the iPads in circulation.
The second model number (which is really an internal SKU number) is in Settings. If you tap General and then About, you'll see a Model tab that lists a completely different number than the one on the rear of the device. This is a much more specific identifier, which provides information about the capacity and country, as well as the type of iPad.
If you're selling or buying an iPad internationally on eBay, that internal SKU is an important number. Otherwise the number on the back will tell you everything you need to know.
This article originally posted September 27, 2013.