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When was your Mac born?

mac serial numberI learned this tip a while ago, but was recently reminded of it in one of Small Dog's Tech Tails newsletters. I thought I'd share it with those of you who may be curious about what secrets are hidden in your Mac's serial number.

You might think those numbers and letters are random, but each one actually contains vital info about your computer. Deciphering the code reasonably simple. The alphabetic prefix consists of one or two letters designating a factory code, such as:

  • F: Fremont, California, USA
  • CK: Cork, Ireland
  • SG or E: Singapore
  • UV: Taiwan
  • QT: Taiwan (Quanta Factory)
  • W8: Shanghai China
  • PT: Korea
  • there are others, but I don't have a complete list. Perhaps I will when the comments pour in!
One of my Cubes, for example, has a serial number of SG0331FSK59, so I know it was manufactured in Singapore.
The first numerical character indicates the last digit of the year of production. Common sense should tell you which decade your Mac was made in. Using the above serial number, it's safe to assume my Cube was made in the year 2000, not 1990 or 1980

The next two digits indicate the week of the year it was produced. So my Cube was made the 33rd week of the year 2000.

According to Macfaq.org, the next three characters are a three-digit base-34 unique identifier. (The letters 'O' and 'I' are not used, apparently to avoid confusion with the numbers zero and one.)  My Cube appears to have been number 1692 within production week 33 of the year 2000.

The remainder of the serial number tells the model number, which in my example is, of course, a Power Mac G4 Cube.

To find out more about your own computer, you can save yourself the trouble of having to decode the serial number yourself by using Chipmunk's online Mac Serial Decoder.

Be sure to share your results with us and maybe we'll send your Mac a birthday card!

I learned this tip a while ago, but was recently reminded of it in one of Small Dog's Tech Tails newsletters. I thought I'd share it with...