How to Switch Your Nexus 5 or 6 From CDMA to GSM Without a Factory Reset

Posted: February 14, 2015

Nexus 5

Recently I switched my Nexus 5 from Ting’s CDMA service to their new GSM service. Unfortunately it is not quite as easy as plugging in the GSM SIM card - a few settings need to be changed for everything to work properly. Most cell phone providers and even the forums I have read suggest doing a factory reset and wiping the entire device just to switch between CDMA and GSM. Although I am sure that works, it is really overkill and not required.

There are two main ways to switch back and forth. This first method is best for those who may want to switch from CDMA to GSM but want their current CDMA settings to remain intact. If you use this option, going from GSM back to CDMA is as simple as inserting the CDMA SIM card - the Nexus 5 or 6 will recognize it is back on CDMA and switch immediately. This assumes that you have two active numbers: a CDMA line and GSM line. If you want to switch from CDMA to GSM permanently, the second options is best as it resets all the carrier settings.

Follow these direction to switch from a CDMA number to a GSM number and SIM card.

  1. Go to Settings → More → Cellular networks → and change Preferred network type to “Global."
  2. Take out your CDMA SIM card and replace it with an active GSM SIM.
  3. A new menu should appear called Access Point Names within the Cellular networks menu.
  4. Select Access Point Names and select or enter the appropriate APN information.
  5. Now select the Network Operators menu and tap "Choose Automatically" which will register you on the GSM network.