Apple is planning to move to randomized serial numbers for its Mac computers in the near future. The company is reportedly making the change to make it difficult to figure out details of the machine from just the serial number. It’s unclear what kind of advantage the move will bring to the company, users, or even service providers.

MacBook Air (2021) representational image

At present, the serial number of all Apple products help identify the device, the model, the storage, the date of manufacturing, and the manufacturing location of the product. The current serial number format is broken down as – the first three characters represent the manufacturing location, the following two characters specify the year and week of the product being manufactured, and the last four characters are known as the “configuration code” which represents the product’s model, color, and storage capacity.

MacRumours was able to obtain an internal email pertaining to AppleCare which threw light on Apple’s plan to move away from the current style of serial numbers for the Mac to randomized serial numbers. The new randomized serial number system will reportedly consist of a 8-14 characters alphanumeric string.

The email also reportedly highlighted that the first batch of Mac products with the randomized serial number will have a 10 characters alphanumeric string for the serial number. The company plans to transition to the new suggested randomized serial number in “early 2021”. The report from MacRumours also notes that the change will not affect the IMEI numbers.

Apple was reportedly initially planning to roll out the new planned randomized serial numbers on its products last year – early 2020. However, due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the company postponed the plans. The current generation Macs will reportedly continue to have the same serial number style, however the future products will have the new randomized serial number.


Abhay Ram is a News Editor at iLounge. He has been writing about the Apple ecosystem and accessories since 2010. Abhay's work has been featured in various publications. When he's not writing about all things Apple, you can find him playing video games or enjoying a good cup of coffee.