Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products.

macos catalina serial number
MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling authorized resellers and dealers in a memo obtained by MacRumors to ensure that their "systems, warehouses, and processes are in place and able to receive and ship the two serial number formats."

Apple currently utilizes a 12 digit serial number format for its products. That alphanumeric format, while on the surface may look random, actually holds key production information such as production date and time. With the new randomized serial number format, which Apple says will initially begin at 10 digits, such information will be harder to decipher.

The reminder from Apple to its authorized partners comes less than a week from when the company will hold its "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20. That event is expected to headline the launch of new iPad Pros with mini-LED displays and possibly the company's AirTags tracker's long-awaited release.

Top Rated Comments

gnasher729 Avatar
10 months ago
I'd think there is probably some scam going on where people somehow scam Apple by providing serial numbers for devices that they don't own. With this change, it should be impossible to figure out the serial number of an existing device unless you have that device in your hands. So a repair shop cannot charge Apple for replacing a motherboard under warranty for a device that was never in the repair shop.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Arctic Moose Avatar
10 months ago
First Rolex, now Apple.

They cannot really call it a "serial" number now, though.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
catean Avatar
10 months ago
This means we will see new Mac's at the event on Tuesday. Please Apple, iMac 32 inch with rounded corners screen and Apple Silicon.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
garevans Avatar
10 months ago

I'd think there is probably some scam going on where people somehow scam Apple by providing serial numbers for devices that they don't own. With this change, it should be impossible to figure out the serial number of an existing device unless you have that device in your hands. So a repair shop cannot charge Apple for replacing a motherboard under warranty for a device that was never in the repair shop.
I can see two immediate benefits (to Apple at least)

1) counterfeit products being sold with genuine serial numbers - when the end user looks up the serial number everything checks out. Think Facebook marketplace “AirPods”.

2) iMessage and FaceTime are tied to serial numbers. It’s quite common in the hackintosh scene to generate a serial number that will allow it to work.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bytethese Avatar
10 months ago
Well that sucks for IT Support and Infosec. I often need details about a Mac and providing the Serial Number at EveryMac helps:
https://everymac.com/ultimate-mac-lookup/
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Flight Plan Avatar
10 months ago

First Rolex, now Apple.

They cannot really call it a "serial" number now, though.
It's a DIN; Device Identification Number. You know, like a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on a car.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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