Apple readies rollout of randomized serial numbers ahead of April event

Macos Catalina Serial Number
Macos Catalina Serial Number (Image credit: MacRumors)

What you need to know

  • Apple is alerting its resellers and dealers about serial number changes for its upcoming products.
  • The company will begin to randomize its serial numbers in a new format.

Apple is getting ready to roll out its new randomized serial numbers for its products.

As reported by MacRumors, the company has reached out to its authorized resellers and dealers, alerting them to get ready for new products with 10 and 12 digit serial numbers.

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."

Today's report follows up on the original story back in March which indicated the change would occur in "early 2021." According to the report, Apple is changing the format of its serial numbers in order to make it more private.

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.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.

The products that the company is alerting its resellers about are most likely those that will be announced at the company's upcoming event on April 20th. An updated iPad Pro and the long-rumored AirTags are expected at the event.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.