Every Mac device has a serial number that tells its unique story. Mac serial numbers can show information such as purchase, manufacturing, or configuration details. However, they can also be a security risk when left unprotected.
Depending on if you can access the device, are logged into your Apple account, or still have the original packaging, there are several ways to check your Mac's serial number.
Here are nine ways.
1. Check the Underside of Your Mac
Serial numbers are printed or engraved on the underside of your iMac, MacBook, or Mac Mini. This method is the fastest method to check your serial number without having to open or log into your device. Your Mac serial number is engraved or printed near the regulatory markings that include the FCC numbers and assembly details.
2. Open "About This Mac"
If you can start up your Mac, click the Apple icon > About This Mac to quickly open your Mac overview. Your Mac serial number will appear on the last line below Graphics.
3. Launch a System Report
Alternatively, you may check your serial number alongside information such as your processor, number of cores, and hardware UUID. Hold down the Option key while clicking the Apple icon > System Information.
4. Use a Mac Terminal Command
For those familiar with the Terminal, this is also a quick way to access your Mac serial number. To find your serial number using this method, open Terminal from the Applications folder or typing Terminal in Spotlight.
Next, input the following command “system_profiler SPHardwareDataType | grep Serial” and press the Enter key. Your serial number should appear on the succeeding line.
5. Verify With Your Apple ID
Should you not have access to your physical device, the serial number is also visible through the Apple ID website. Log in to your Apple ID account, then scroll to the Devices section.
Then, you can click on the Mac device you would like to know the details of. A pop-up will appear with the model, version, and serial number.
6. Use Your iPhone or iPad Settings
For Macs logged into your Apple account, the serial number can also be found in the settings menu of your other devices such as iPhones or iPads.
To view your serial number from your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings and tap your name. Then, scroll down and select your iMac, MacBook, or Mac Mini to see your serial number.
7. Review Old Repair Documents
If you don't have access to your physical device or Apple account, you can review your repair history documentation to find the Mac serial number.
Mac devices with a history of repair by authorized service centers should have serial numbers included with the documentation. The Genius Bar automatically sends these details to the email associated with your Apple account.
8. Find the Original Packaging
Every Mac comes with Apple’s signature white box, which has a sticker containing its serial numbers at the back.
9. Pull Up the Receipt
The serial number for every Mac product should be visible on the printed invoice or digital receipt that came with your purchase.
What You Can Learn From Mac Serial Numbers
Serial numbers are important because they contain details that are relevant for warranty, repair, and replacement. With multiple Mac models available in the market, a serial number helps repair centers find the relevant parts necessary to fix your Mac.
Through the years, Apple has released several product lines with similar-looking appearances but with vastly different configurations. So, while the MacBook Pro may have kept its appearance for several generations, its insides will determine how it should be repaired.
Mac models may also have specific defects relevant to the year and place of manufacturing. For example, 15-inch MacBook Pro models manufactured from September 2015 to February 2017 are known to have a high risk of battery overheating and a tendency to catch fire.
For owners of these MacBook models, Apple has an ongoing battery replacement program regardless of warranty status. These recalled repairs are free of charge at the nearest authorized repair center. You can check the complete list of defective products eligible for repair through recall on Apple Service Programs.
Additionally, serial numbers help verify your Apple warranty coverage. Serial numbers are required for assessment and payment purposes when scheduling a repair on the Apple website. Warranty coverage is also essential if you plan to buy or sell a second-hand Mac.
Keep Your Serial Number Safe
In 2021, Apple moved towards randomized serial numbers. Serial numbers for all new Mac devices are now random strings of 8-14 alphanumeric characters. While the official reason for doing so remains undisclosed, it is suspected Apple has done that to help resolve issues with registration and security.
Instead of a series, the shift to randomized numbers lessens the possibility of accidental registration, which happens to several businesses that keep track of product inventory.
At first glance, serial numbers do not appear to be all that important. However, they can be used with malicious intent if not protected. Serial numbers contain information that is used to gain access to your Apple ID account, so it is best to keep it under wraps if you can.
Avoid giving anyone your serial number unless necessary. Do not post serial numbers online or share them with unauthorized personnel. When used for official verification with Genius Bar or authorized repair staff, send only through official emails or in person.
Know Your Mac Serial Number
While we don’t use serial numbers too often, they’re definitely something that many Mac users will need at some point in their product lifecycle. No matter how well you take care of your Mac, there will always be routine servicing needs after several years of use.
Issues such as battery bloating, brightness issues, or loose keys can also happen due to product manufacturing defects beyond your control. Knowing your serial number helps with identifying if your Mac is included as one of the affected models by product recalls.