Apple's Sales Have Grown So Much That It's Running Out of 10-Digit Invoice Numbers

by

apple store appCurrently, when Apple sends an invoice to its customers and business partners, the recipient gets an invoice number that is entirely numeric and spans 10 digits.

According to a post on Reddit citing a letter from Apple called "Change in Invoice number format," the company has drafted so many invoices that it's close to going through all possible permutations for these 10-digit numeric codes, necessitating a switch to an alphanumeric system.

This means that instead of a basic 10-digit number, Apple's system will now include two alphabet characters followed by eight numbers, for example: "AB12345678." These changes will begin applying to all invoices issued "approximately after the third week of February 2019."

reddit invoice image 4


As explained in the Reddit thread on the topic, there are a total of 10 billion possible invoice numbers available to Apple through its current 10-digit all-numeric system, suggesting Apple is nearing 10 billion invoices sent worldwide for as long as it's used this system. Apple sends an invoice every time an order is made on the Apple Store app, website, or in-store, with each order receiving a unique invoice code.

When adding in two letters to the beginning, Apple's invoice code possibilities increase to around 67.6 billion. Redditor nalexander50 explained the math in greater detail:

Wow, that's a lot of orders! If I am remembering my college combinatorics course properly, a 10 digit numeric only code would cover 10 Billion orders. Each position in the number has 10 possible values (0-9) and there are 10 values total. Multiplying it out, 1010 = 10 Billion.

Changing the first two positions to letters vastly increases the possibilities. For the first two positions, there are 26 possible choices (a-z), and the remaining 8 positions have the same 10 (0-9) choices. Multiplying it out, 262 * 108 = 67.6 Billion invoices. Since it has taken this long to creep up on 10 Billion, I figure that an additional 67 Billion will last a while.

With yesterday's update to the Apple Store iOS app, the company also made it possible to get to your order invoices from within the app. To do so follow these instructions: open the app, tap the circular profile symbol at the top right of the Discover tab, scroll down to My Orders, tap on one, tap Print Invoice, then sign in to your Apple ID. On the invoice, the invoice number is located in the Additional Information section at the very bottom of the page.

Top Rated Comments

jsmith189 Avatar
35 months ago
Y2K APPLE'S OVER.

Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iPhysicist Avatar
35 months ago
Just make it Hex. Problem solved for a long time. Maybe even think of adding a digit - insane thought I know.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
eagle33199 Avatar
35 months ago

I don’t think this is the first problem the world has ever had. For one thing it’s not really a problem because they seem to have avoided any issues. Secondly, if it was an issue, most people would not have been involved. Third, disease and famine are problems that impact most of the world, and they seem to have existed prior to this.

/s

I don't think you understand what the phrase "first world problem" actually means...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
belvdr Avatar
35 months ago

I don't think you understand what the phrase "first world problem" actually means...

I don't think you understand what "/s" means. ;) (Hint: it is sarcasm)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
manu chao Avatar
35 months ago


When adding in two letters to the beginning, Apple's invoice code possibilities increase to around 67.6 billion. Redditor nalexander50 ('https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/86bzem/apple_has_sold_so_much_theyve_run_out_of_10digit/dw3yumq/') explained the math in greater detail:


Changing the first two positions to letters vastly increases the possibilities. For the first two positions, there are 26 possible choices (a-z), and the remaining 8 positions have the same 10 (0-9) choices. Multiplying it out, 262 * 108 = 67.6 Billion invoices. Since it has taken this long to creep up on 10 Billion, I figure that an additional 67 Billion will last a while.

Not quite, its 26 * 26 * 10 billion = 6.76 trillion.

EDIT: I misread the original statement as 10 digits + two letters. In fact it says two letters + 8 digits.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Yaharonson Avatar
35 months ago
Wait, what?!

"Wow, that's a lot of orders! If I am remembering my college combinatorics course properly, a 10 digit numeric only code would cover 10 Billion orders. Each position in the number has 10 possible values (0-9) and there are 10 values total. Multiplying it out, 1010 = 10 Billion."

That's NOT combinatorics!

10 digits - simply means there are 9,999,999,999 numbers + the number 0,000,000,000.
That is 10,000,000,000 numbers.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple top apps games 2020

Apple Shares Top 20 Most Downloaded Games and Apps of 2020

Tuesday December 1, 2020 9:38 pm PST by
Alongside picks for the top iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps and games of the year, Apple today shared charts featuring the Top Games of 2020 and the Top Apps of 2020, revealing the most popular free and paid apps and games during the year. Among Us! was the top free game of 2020, followed by Call of Duty: Mobile, Roblox, and Subway Surfers. Ink Inc. Tattoo Drawing was the number four free app,...
m1 chip macbook air pro

Developer Delves Into Reasons Why Apple's M1 Chip is So Fast

Monday November 30, 2020 1:57 pm PST by
Apple's M1 chip is the fastest chip that Apple has ever released in a Mac based on single-core CPU benchmark scores, and it beats out many high-end Intel Macs when it comes to multi-core performance. Developer Erik Engheim recently shared a deep dive into the M1 chip, exploring the reasons why Apple's new processor is so much faster than the Intel chips that it replaces. First and foremost,...
iphone8guide b

iOS 14.2 Quietly Added FaceTime 1080p Support to iPhone 8 and Later Models

Wednesday December 2, 2020 3:21 am PST by
Back in early November, Apple released iOS 14.2 and announced with it a slew of new features for iPhones, but one thing it didn't mention was the apparent addition of support for 1080p FaceTime calls on iPhone 8 and later devices. The little-known fact was discovered by MacMagazine, which found that Apple quietly updated the specs pages for devices like iPhone XR shortly after the release of ...
apple briefcase

AppleCare Memo Hints at Potential Hardware Announcement Next Tuesday

Thursday December 3, 2020 9:12 am PST by
Following a busy fall season in which Apple hosted three events in as many months, the company may have one more product announcement in store this year. In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source, Apple informed service providers that it has AppleCare-related changes planned for Tuesday, December 8 at approximately 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Specifically, Apple ...
best apps of 2020

Wakeout! Named Apple's Best App of 2020, While Zoom Earns the Title for Best iPad App

Tuesday December 1, 2020 9:26 pm PST by
Apple today shared its App Store Best of 2020 winners, highlighting its picks for the top iOS, iPadOS, and macOS apps and games released over the course of the year. Apple's iPhone App of the Year award went to Wakeout!, which is a family friendly exercise and movement app that encourages people to complete easy exercises while at home. Apple's iPad App of the Year was Zoom, which soared in...
16 inch MBP Mini Led

Kuo: Two Redesigned MacBook Pros in 2021 and New MacBook Air in 2022, All With Apple Silicon and Mini-LED Displays

Wednesday December 2, 2020 5:46 am PST by
Apple plans to release two redesigned MacBook Pros in 2021 and a new MacBook Air in 2022, all with mini-LED displays and Apple Silicon chips, according to TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a research note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an all-new form factor design are expected to launch in 2021, and a new "affordable"...
iOS 14

Apple Releases Third Betas of iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday December 2, 2020 10:04 am PST by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3 updates to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after releasing the second betas and a month after the launch of iOS and iPadOS 14.2. iOS and iPadOS 14.3 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper developer profile has been installed. The iOS 14.3 update brings the...
homepod mini amazon echo size

$99 Speaker Showdown: HomePod Mini vs. Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio

Wednesday December 2, 2020 3:12 pm PST by
Apple recently released the HomePod mini, a new $99 version of the original HomePod that's smaller, cuter, and, most importantly, competitively priced. At $99, the HomePod mini can better compete with affordable smart speakers from companies like Google and Amazon. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The HomePod mini has been praised for its high-quality sound at its...
Mac Mini 2018

Apple Developers Now Able to Natively Run macOS Within AWS With Amazon EC2 Mac Instances

Monday November 30, 2020 9:01 pm PST by
As AWS re:Invent kicks off, Amazon Web Services today announced new Mac instances for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, allowing AWS customers to run on-demand macOS workloads in the AWS cloud for the first time. Amazon says that the new feature extends the flexibility, scalability, and cost benefits of AWS to all Apple developers as those creating apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple...
magsafe duo charger

MagSafe Duo Charger for iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Now Available for Purchase

Tuesday December 1, 2020 4:15 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the MagSafe Duo Charger that was announced alongside the new iPhone 12 models back in October. Priced at $129, the MagSafe Duo offers a MagSafe charging puck for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini, along with an Apple Watch charger. Though the accessory was announced in October and was listed as coming soon, it was not clear when it would launch. Orders...