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.

macos catalina serial number
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.

Top Rated Comments

BB8 Avatar
8 months ago
Probably got sick of people returning their iPhones for having the wrong panel manufacturer or something.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macintoshmac Avatar
8 months ago
Looks like Apple redefined privacy for their products.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Neepman Avatar
8 months ago
No doubt brainstormed from the "lets screw over right to repair even more" committee.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
inigou Avatar
8 months ago

What conspiracies are you referring to?
People thinking their phones are defective because of week of production.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
8 months ago
Thank god, I’m tired of people being like “my phone has x issue because it was manufactured in y week”
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
inigou Avatar
8 months ago
This is the end for manufacturing week conspiracies ?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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