I have a water damaged iPhone 5 from Verizon that doesn't work. My cellular plan is also with Verizon. I just purchased an AT&T iPhone 5 from a friend, not knowing that Verizon and AT&T iPhones aren't compatible (beyond incredibly frustrating).

I've opened up my water damaged iPhone and it seemed like the battery was screwed (air bubbles around the battery's lining), not necessarily any of the chips. Although I'm no expert and most of the chips have metal casings covering them. There was a small amount of a white-teal miss-coloration, probably from corrosion, around the battery's connectors but I cleaned that off with 100% isopropyl alcohol.

Can I take the battery from the recently purchased AT&T iPhone 5 and put it in the Verizon iPhone 5? If not, can I take the CDMA+GSM Verizon chip and switch it with the GSM only AT&T chip? Can I take any working parts from the AT&T phone and try them in the Verizon phone, preferably without damaging said parts?

I don't want my friend to give me my money back. He only wanted 20 dollars and I'd rather not insult his generosity. I just want to get one of these iPhones working.

1 Answer 1


You can use the battery from the phone that is not from your provider, but not switch radios. Batteries between models, e.g., iPhone 5, are the same even when the radios are not. Even when radio types are the same, e.g., GSM vs GSM, the operating frequencies, etc., often aren't.

Other pieces, such as screen glass, case, screen layers and the like are also interchangeable. Basically, it's the radio-oriented stuff that you can't swap.

  • Did you mean to say "radio" instead of "battery" in your first sentence? :) Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 21:12
  • @JonnyHenly: Nope, I meant exactly what I wrote: The batteries are interchangeable between iPhones from different providers even though the radios are not (due to the different chipsets, e.g., CDMA vs GSM and/or different frequencies). Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 21:18
  • What do you mean by "but not the other way around" in your first sentence? Are you referring to the radios, because you also said the batteries are interchangeable? Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 21:24
  • 1
    Sorry for my imprecise language. I have revised the answer to clarify. "The other way around" was pointing to your 'If not, can I take the CDMA+GSM Verizon chip and switch it with the GSM only AT&T chip?' question. I am amazed that you didn't read my mind. ;-) (Sorry about that!) Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 21:30

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