Apple will reportedly be making a change to how it identifies future products. According to a new AppleCare email this week, the company will soon start using randomized alphanumeric serial numbers. This is a change from the current serial number system that identifies things like the date and location of manufacture for the product.

As first reported by MacRumors, this change will only apply to future products. Any product that is currently shipping will “continue to use the current serial number format.” Future products will be the ones to shift to the new format, and Apple says this transition will happen in “early 2021.”

The new randomized serial numbers will not allow Apple service providers or customers to glean any information about the associated product. They are 10 completely random alphanumeric characters, but the length could eventually increase.

Currently, Apple serial numbers are broken down into several parts, as the report explains.

  • The first three characters identify the manufacturing location
  • The next two characters represent the year and week of production
  • The last four are a “configuration code” for identifying the model, color, and storage capacity of the product

There’s no specific reasoning given for why Apple plans to switch randomized serial numbers, but such a change could help reduce fraud. The switchover was initially scheduled for late 2020, but was delayed until early 2021.

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