Apple Serial Number Decoding spreadsheet

Apple has been using the same serial number format since 2010 on virtually all (if not all?) their devices. The serial number encodes a bunch of things such as the manufacturing location, the production week in a given year, the model number as well as a unique ID. There are many use cases for being able to decode the serial number and there are a few web sites out there that let you enter a serial number and get the result. But, who knows what those sites do with the information you give them? I thought it would be much better to do it on a spreadsheet where you can decode your own serial numbers.

My source for much of this information is here: https://www.macrumors.com/2010/04/16/apple-tweaks-serial-number-format-with-new-macbook-pro/

Click on the link below to go to the spreadsheet:

Decoding Spreadsheet   <==========

Just click on the link, see how it works and copy it to your computer. Or if you just want to quickly decode a serial number you can do it live in the spreadsheet.

Image of Spreadsheet

One thing that I was curious about was what would happen in 2020. Their numbering system has a single character to denote the Year and Half starting with C and going to Z. The 2nd half of 2019 was Z and I was curious if they were going to go from Z to 1, if they were going to create a new numbering schema or circle back to A.

We now know the answer at least for now... I just bought a machine built in Week 1 of 2020 and it looks like they have circled back to C (which used to be 2010, First Half).

What this means is that any machine built after December 31, 2019 will need to use a different formula in the spreadsheet. I've called this the "New Epoch" section in the spreadsheet.

So long as Apple don't reuse Model IDs (the last 4 digits) there is no risk of creating colliding serial numbers, so it's really not a huge problem.

Also, there are rumors that Apple will be moving to completely random serial numbers in which case none of this will work anymore. Read about it here: https://www.macrumors.com/2020/01/06/apple-randomized-serial-numbers-late-2020/


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