Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!
  • Did you order new AirTags? We've opened a dedicated AirTags forum.

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
52,420
14,127


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.jpg

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.

Article Link: Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event
 
Last edited:

gnasher729

Suspended
Nov 25, 2005
17,945
5,494
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.
 
Comment

garevans

macrumors newbie
Aug 26, 2008
23
10
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.
 
Comment

bytethese

macrumors 68030
Jun 20, 2007
2,695
104
Comment

ddtmm

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2010
104
229
I wonder if it will affect everymac.com. I rely on that site in a big way to look up specs in Macs. Invaluable.
 
Comment

JM

macrumors 68000
Nov 23, 2014
1,647
2,180
Actually. This is all so that no one can complain that their iPhone came from the "bad" batch. It's all user antagonistic decisions Apple makes. They hate us.

:)
 
Comment

icwhatudidthere

macrumors member
Nov 3, 2019
75
103
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.
Yep, I read an article recently about iMessage scams where they register fake devices with generated serial numbers and use them to generate iMessage spam.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ohio.emt
Comment

rumplestiltskin

macrumors 6502
Apr 12, 2006
277
91
Well that sucks for IT Support and Infosec. I often need details about a Mac and providing the Serial Number at EveryMac helps:
Shouldn't really matter that much any more; Macs are built like iPhones and can't/shouldn't be repaired, just discarded and replaced every three years. Anyway, it's the Model ID that is the key to the Mac's identity and that's easy to find.
 
Comment

foodandart

macrumors newbie
Jul 9, 2018
10
21
Portsmouth, N.H.
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.
The issue with randomized serials and iMessage and FaceTime on hackintoshes, is that once the switch to the M1 chips are rolled out across all the products and Apple drops Intel code and it's universal binaries installs for MacPros, Hackintoshes will be limited to the intel-native macOSes, rendering that aspect of it moot. Outside of the classic mac clones, was there any way to build a hackintosh and use the PPC OSes? I never saw one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CJ Dorschel
Comment

Theo Belk

macrumors newbie
Oct 7, 2016
8
7
Shouldn't really matter that much any more; Macs are built like iPhones and can't/shouldn't be repaired, just discarded and replaced every three years. Anyway, it's the Model ID that is the key to the Mac's identity and that's easy to find.
...said the guy who has nothing to do with support and his mom bought him his mac.
 
Comment

HudsonSteele

macrumors member
Aug 23, 2016
53
64
That alphanumeric format, while on the surface may look random, actually holds key production information such as production date and time.
I knew this would happen. Someone kept trying to tell me "Oh no, they will be completely random. Apparently you don't understand how random works." I keep saying all along, it won't be true random. It will have to have some sort of cipher to interpret but it will still have the information. All it will take is someone figuring out the algorithm used to create the "random" numbers and then there will be a key to tell people exactly what they want to know.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CJ Dorschel
Comment

ctdonath

macrumors 68000
Mar 11, 2009
1,521
506
it won't be true random. It will have to have some sort of cipher to interpret but it will still have the information.
What you’re referring to is the existing serial number: looks kinda random but isn’t.

The new serial number will be a random number, and only Apple will have the master database translating that to an actual device description.
 
  • Like
Reactions: reknoz
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.