Apple Planning Switch to Randomized Serial Numbers for Future Products Starting in 'Early 2021'
Apple will soon be making a significant change to its serial number format for future products that will see some key information stripped out.
In an internal AppleCare email this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple said the new serial number format will consist of a randomized alphanumeric string of 8-14 characters that will no longer include manufacturing information or a configuration code. Apple said the serial number format transition is scheduled for "early 2021," and confirmed that IMEI numbers will not be affected by this change.
Any currently shipping Apple products will continue to use the current serial number format, while future products will use the new format, according to Apple. The new serial numbers will initially be 10 characters, the company indicated.
Apple's current serial number format has long allowed both customers and service providers to determine the date and location that a product was manufactured, with the first three characters representing the manufacturing location and the following two indicating the year and week of manufacture. The last four characters currently serve as a "configuration code," revealing a device's model, color, and storage capacity.
Apple initially planned to transition to the new serial number format in late 2020, but delayed.