According to MacRumors, Apple has officially started randomizing serial numbers for its products. This has been an expectation for Apple for quite some time already, with the first rumors cropping up in January of 2020. However, that didn’t pan out.
In March of this year, it was reported again that Apple was finally ready to make the transition. That report came out while there were rumors Apple would host an event in the same month, introducing a range of new products. But, with Apple waiting until April to do the deed, the company had a bit more time to wait to implement the change.
And it turns out that it will happen with the purple iPhone 12. According to the report, worked up with YouTuber Aaron Zollo of ZolloTech, the new iPhone 12 in purple features a 10-character serial number format. That’s a change from the previously standard 12-character serial number. It hasn’t been confirmed if the iPhone 12 mini features the new serial number, though:
The change likely extends to the purple iPhone 12 mini, but we’ve yet to confirm this. On the contrary, the randomized serial number format does not appear to apply to the AirTag at this time, with multiple MacRumors editors and others we’ve spoken to still seeing 12-character serial numbers for the item tracking accessory.
It remains to be seen if the new iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV have randomized serial numbers when they launch in the second half of May.
As noted, this is the start of the transition. So while it’s likely that the iPhone 12 mini also shares the same randomized serial number, it’s possible it does not. And we’ll have to wait and see if the switch is in place for Apple’s other new products.
As far as how this works, with the new randomized string, it’s a bit of a change. Previously the 12-character serial number would reveal not only the device, but also where it was manufactured. But Apple has been preparing employees at physical Apple stores and authorized service providers since before March. So hopefully the transition is a smooth one.