The serial number is a unique combination of numbers and letters that characterizes any Apple device, be it Mac, iPhone, iPod, iPad, as well as all Apple-made accessories: cables, cases, adapters, etc. Although the serial number looks like a random combination of arbitrary characters, it is not. The serial number encoded information about the place of manufacture of the device, the year and week of its release, as well as the model of the gadget.
Previously, using the serial number, the easiest way was to find out the release date of the device. it was enough to look at the third, fourth and fifth characters, which were always numbers. The third one showed the last digit of the year of release (for example, 8 = 2008, 9 = 2009th), and the fourth and fifth together gave the week number on which the device was released (from 01 to 52). But such a system operated only during the first decade of the 21st century. Since 2010, Apple began to switch to a new format for serial numbers, instead of 11-digit serial numbers now 12-digit ones are used.
An example of such a new serial number is shown above. The usual numbers in it are no more. But does this mean that the year and week number can no longer be found out? Not at all. True, with a 12-digit serial number, this is an order of magnitude more difficult.
The structure of the 12-digit Apple serial is as follows:
- the first three characters are the code of the factory where the device is manufactured. Unfortunately, no one except Apple employees knows the full list of these codes.
- fourth sign. half year code, in which the device is released
- fifth sign. release week code inside this half year
- sixth, seventh and eighth characters. a unique code for each device
- the last four characters are the model code showing the generation, memory size, color, characteristics, etc.
We are interested in the year and week of release. but without additional decryption, they won’t be able to find out. You need to look at the fourth and fifth characters of the serial number. As we already said, the fourth character encodes a half-year, and according to a very strange system. the half-year count starts from 2010, and the numbering is alphabetic starting with the letter C. The letters E, I, O and U are excluded from the numbering. A total of 20 letters, i.e. Apple will use 12-digit serial numbers for exactly ten years, and in 2020 it will switch to a new format (possibly 13-digit numbers). The correspondence between letters and years is as follows:
The fifth character of the serial encodes the number of the week of release within half a year, both with numbers and with letters. First come the numbers 1 to 9, then the letters of the Latin alphabet (with the exception of A, B, E, I, O, S, U, Z). a total of 27 possible values. The fifth character cannot be decrypted without the fourth: first you need to find out if the device was released in the first or second half of the year.
Difficult? Let’s look at a practical example from the beginning of the article:
The fourth sign is J, which means this is the second half of 2012. The fifth sign is L, taking into account the second half of the year, this is the 43rd week of 2012.